Liz George is one of the UK’s most experienced educational professionals. With a career spanning over 35 years, her roles have included Primary Advisory Teacher, lecturing on teaching training at Goldsmiths, consulting for Channel 4’s educational TV shows and working on various activities for the Centre of Literacy in Primary Education. Liz is now Course Director for ldbsSCITT, a dedicated, school-centred teacher training institution located in the heart of London with 100% graduate employment rate. In this article she shares five tips for any parent who wants to retrain as a teacher.
1 – Check you have the right qualifications
To become a teacher, the following qualifications are required:
- A degree, usually class 2:2 or higher, awarded by a UK university or recognised equivalent qualification.
- GCSE English and Maths (or equivalent) at grade C or above
- GCSE Science (or equivalent) at grade C or above if you are applying to teach Primary
- You must have passed the Professional Skills tests in numeracy and literacy. More info at: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/careers/traininganddevelopment/professional
Many career changers are now retraining as teachers via School Direct, a one year, school-led route into teaching. Providing entirely ‘on-the-job’ training, the programme allows you to gain the qualifications and skills required to becoming a teacher whilst working in the school.
There is a Salaried option whereby you are employed by the school as an unqualified teacher. To apply for this, you need to have a minimum of 3 years’ work experience (it need not be from an educational setting) as well as the above qualifications. Unsalaried trainees can apply for a student loan whilst training.
2 – Get some Classroom Experience
Teaching is a demanding yet highly rewarding profession so it’s a good idea to get some classroom experience to ensure this is the right career choice for you. Contact several schools in your area to find out where you can volunteer as there may be a waiting list. You’ll be able to find out which age group and which subjects you’d like to teach as well as meet other teachers. Plus, you may discover long-forgotten skills or interests such as playing an instrument, doing drama or playing hockey, all of which will increase your employability.
3 – Choose the right training route for you
There are essentially two paths to becoming a teacher, both of which take one year to complete
– PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) from a university or SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training)
– School Direct – school-led teacher training route with ‘on the job’ training, Successful School Direct trainees will gain Qualified Teacher Status with the option to achieve a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) worth 60 M level credits
4 – Research your training provider
UCAS provides basic information on how to become a teacher and it is worth spending time researching where exactly you want to train, bearing in mind what will work best with your family commitments. For example, as a SCITT, we focus on school-centered teaching and our network of over 70 schools across London means you may be able to find one close to your home, childcare facilities or your child’s school. Hours required for lectures can also vary so its best get in touch directly with providers for more in-depth course details.
5 – Take care writing your Personal Statement
When completing your application, this is the most important section to spend time on as it’s your opportunity to stand out and shine above other applicants. The best statements are usually those that honestly express why teaching is the preferred career choice, supported by classroom experiences that show what you’ve learned.