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Applying for teacher training

Gill Golder, Director of Teacher Education at Marjon, offers advice on teaching training applications

Applications for teacher training programs strating in September 2021 are now open. If you don't yet have a degree you can apply to an undergraduate course and you can search for places on the UCAS website. If you already have a degree you can take a postgraduate route into teaching and these are to be found on the Department for Education website

Plymouth Marjon University has 180 years in the field, making us the most experienced teacher-training institution in the South West. We've put together this guide to help you prepare your teacher training application, and you'll find our range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses listed on this page.

What are the entry requirements?

The entry requirements for teacher training are:

  • For all routes into teaching GCSE (or equivalent) in English and Maths at grade 4 or above; also Science at grade 4 or above if you want to teach in the primary phase (or an equivalent qualification).
  • For undergraduate routes UCAS points - these vary according to the University you apply to.

  • Relevant experience in a school either through work experience, volunteering or paid employment is not essential but it will help you get a flavour of teaching today and whether a career in teaching is for you.
  • For postgraduate course a 2:2 or above is generally accepted, but do check other providers.

When do I apply for teacher training?

Applications are now open for teacher training courses. It is advisable to apply early to secure your place.

In the last cycle we saw increased postgraduate applications and closed applications for some courses because all places were taken.

What makes a strong personal statement?

Use your personal statement to sell yourself and your passion for teaching as a career. You could refer to a teacher that made a difference to you in school or your love of working with children and helping them learn. You could consider how other careers have developed transferrable skills that could serve you well in the classroom or how previous study has developed a passion for a particular subject area.

Talk about your strengths both academically and personally. Have you achieved something amazing e.g. Duke of Edinburgh gold or school awards, music qualifications, sporting success? Talk about your interests so we can see a little bit of your character coming through.

What can I do to prepare for a teaching interview?

Most interviews involve a range of activities, e.g. you leading an activity, taking part in group discussion, carrying out a literacy and numeracy activity and having a formal interview. If you are asked to lead an activity practice it on friends or family. Talk to a teacher and find out what they really enjoy about their job and also what big initiatives are impacting on it, e.g. changes to curriculum.  Revisit your numeracy and literacy knowledge perhaps visit the BBC website GCSE bitesize to brush up on subject knowledge and get an understanding of curriculum content.

Go to the DFE website and look at the national curriculum for the age or subjects you are applying to, you are bound to be asked a question on this. Ask a careers adviser/ teacher or work colleague for a mock interview – dress up in smart clothes for this and think about what you say and what your body language says about you.

How do I make the most out of my referee statements?

Let your referees read your personal statement so they can write something that supports what you say about yourself and make sure they know you are applying for a programme that could lead you to become a teacher.

Ask your referees to comment on your academic capability including your predicted grades. Also ask them to talk about your character and how they think it will help you become a great teacher.

What else can I do to prepare myself?

You should make sure to get some experience in a classroom so that when you talk at interview you can give examples from this e.g. what did you see teachers doing, why did they do it that way, how did the pupils respond.

Using the Get into teaching website you can search for schools offering school experience days. If possible, visit a number of different schools so that you have wider experience to draw upon at your teaching interview.

Can I get financial support while training to be a teacher?

In some cases funding is available towards teacher training courses and here is a link to funding opportunities for the academic year 2021 to 2022.

For those aspiring to Early Years Teacher Status the Postgraduate diploma in Early Years with Initial Teacher Training has historically been fully funded, and we await publication of the government's early years ITT funding guidance for academic year 2021 to 2022.

What next?

Find out more about training to teach with Marjon at our virtual open days.

Undergraduate teacher training courses

If you do not yet have a degree you will need to do an undergraduate degree (i.e. a first degree) and in this case you have two options.

1. The best option for you is BEd or BA with qualified teacher status (QTS). These are three or four year degrees. The three year Bachelor of Education (BEd) programmes are your fastest way to train to become a teacher, and every step of the course is designed to prepare you for the career as a teacher in schools.

Plymouth Marjon offers three BEd degrees, all with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS):

2. You can complete an undergraduate degree or foundation degree plus top up year in a subject area e.g. Education, Social Sciences, English, Physical Education (PE), Science, Maths, and then go on to complete a one year postgraduate teaching course.

Postgraduate teacher training courses

If you already have a degree then you will need to complete a postgraduate route into teaching, there are a number of options which essentially fall into three categories:

  • A University based PGCE
  • A school-led postgraduate route (e.g SCITT or School Direct)
  • Or a specialist route ( e.g researchers in school, teacher apprentice, teach first); these different options are explained on the Get Into Teaching website.

We offer a number of PGCE and School Direct courses:

PGCE or School Direct?

A PGCE enables you to divide your time between university and two schools, allowing you to mix practical and theoretical knowledge. The PGCE is based in school two-thirds of the year providing you with opportunities to put your learning into practice. School Direct is a school based, school-led training programme that lasts one year. Most of your time is based in a lead school and you benefit from on the job training. You can achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) with either route.

Whatever route you choose, there are many reasons to train to teach at Marjon:

  • Our trainees scored us 92% student satisfaction for postgraduate teacher training, putting us in the top 25% quartile of all providers in England (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, 2020).
  • We have relationships with over 300 primary, secondary and special schools to give you a wide choice of learning experiences.
  • Marjon education and teaching graduates are 3rd in all University providers for graduate earnings five years after leaving the university (Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2018).
  • We are the UK’s first teacher training institution, established in 1838. We understand education.