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Details of the different routes into a career in school teaching.

First published:
15 April 2016
Last updated:

Becoming a qualified school teacher

To become a school teacher and teach in a maintained school in Wales, you need to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), this means completing a programme of Initial Teacher Education (ITE). There are a variety of ways to start your teaching career and Educators Wales will help you explore what teaching is like and the routes available. Once you have gained your QTS you will need to complete a period of induction.

We have a dedicated area on the Education Wales YouTube channel for the Teaching Wales campaign which provides further information.

Undergraduate

If you do not already have a degree, you can take a full time undergraduate teacher training course.

These include:

  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)

You will need to apply through UCAS.

Educators Wales will help you explore the route best suited to your circumstances and qualifications.

You may be eligible for general student support whilst you are studying. Contact Student Finance Wales for information on what is available.

Postgraduate

If you already have a degree, you can study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The PGCE is a yearlong full-time programme of training. It will develop your skills as a teacher while you work towards the QTS Standards. PGCE courses are available through ITE partnerships across Wales.

You can apply directly to the ITE Partnerships or through the UCAS website.

Part Time PGCE

From September 2020 a new Part Time route into teaching is available. This new route is delivered by the Open University ITE partnership. 

The new route will take two years to complete and will allow student teachers to study while working or balancing other life commitments. You will work towards a PGCE qualification (including 60 Masters level credits) and meeting QTS standards.

Further information is available on The Open University website.

Salaried PGCE

From September 2020 a new employment based route into teaching is available. This new route is delivered by the Open University ITE partnership.

The new route will take two years to complete and will allow you to receive an unqualified teacher salary while you work towards a PGCE qualification (including 60 Masters level credits) and meeting QTS standards.

Further information on this programme is available on The Open University website.

Further detail on the delivery of the employment based route for Academic Year 2021 is available. 

Minimum entry requirements

Since September 2019 the selection of student teachers changed and both universities and schools must be involved in the process. The process determines a candidate’s personal aptitude for teaching, as well as their intellectual and academic studies.

Full entry requirement can be views at appendix 2 of the Welsh Government’s criteria for the accreditation of ITE programmes in Wales. All ITE programmes offered by partnerships are assessed, evaluated, and monitored against this criteria.

As a minimum candidates must hold:

  • a GCSE Grade B (or equivalent) in mathematics or Mathematics-Numeracy
  • a GCSE Grade B (or equivalent) in either English Language, English Literature, Welsh Language or Welsh Literature. Where an equivalent to a grade B in either English Literature or Welsh Literature is achieved, a minimum of a grade C (or equivalent) must be achieved in the corresponding GCSE examination in English or Welsh Language
  • a GCSE Grade C (or equivalent) in science if you want to teach in primary school
  • a degree with at least 50% relevance to the subject you want to teach to become a secondary school teacher (you can check this with ITE providers)

ITE providers can also add their own entry requirements.

If you are unsure if your qualifications meet the entry requirements or would like further information, please contact an ITE provider listed on this page.

Initial Teacher Education Partnerships

Initial Teacher Education (ITE) partnerships are a partnership between a university and schools who work together to provide the professional education and development of student teachers, preparing them for work in school.

From the academic year 2020/21 there are seven ITE partnerships for ITE programmes that have been accredited by the Education Workforce Council (EWC):

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

To become a teacher and teach in a maintained school in Wales, you need to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). All Initial Teacher Education (ITE) trainees must meet the professional standards for teaching and leadership. Since September 2019 Professional Standards apply. They set out what ITE students must know, understand and what they should be able to do at the end of their ITE programme enabling QTS to be gained.

The QTS Standards have statutory force and are set out in legislation.

Once you have gained QTS and are a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) you will need to complete a career entry profile (CEP) and undertake your induction.

You will also need to register with the Education Workforce Council (EWC) if you want to work in a maintained school in Wales. If you qualified as a school teacher outside of Wales you can either apply to register or apply for recognition with the EWC depending on where you qualified.

Initial Teacher Education Incentives

There are two incentive schemes available to students:

  • Initial Teacher Education priority subjects are grants available to eligible students with certain degrees who undertake an accredited postgraduate ITE programme with Qualified Teacher Status. 
  • Iaith Athrawon Yfory incentives is a grant available to students studying an accredited secondary postgraduate ITE programme with Qualified Teacher Status, that enables  them to teach through the medium of Welsh or Welsh as a subject. This grant supports the Cymraeg 2050 Welsh language strategy, the Welsh Government’s ambition to increase the number of Welsh teachers and the target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Students undertaking training programmes which enable them to teach in the Post Compulsory Education and Training Sector (PGCE PCET) (FE) should contact their provider or post-16workforcedevlopment@gov.wales

Further Information

For further information about becoming a teacher visit Educators Wales. If you’d like to speak to a member of the team for further support or information on a career in education contact information@educators.wales

For further information about undertaking an ITE programme please contact an ITE partnership.

For more information about our policy on initial teacher education, email us at teaching.enquiries@gov.wales