Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications do I need to apply for teacher training in the UK? 

The basic requirements for GCSE grades if you want to train to teach are: 

  • a GCSE grade C or 4 (or equivalent) in maths and English to teach at secondary level
  • a GCSE grade C or 4  (or equivalent) in maths, English and science to teach at primary level

If you do not have GCSEs then you can sit an equivalency test  You’ll need to cover the cost of any such course yourself. 

You need a degree of 2:2 or above before you start training. 

Your degree classification may help to determine the level of funding you could receive during your training – find out about funding for teacher training. 

If you have overseas equivalent qualifications, you should will need to contact NARIC to check its equivalency 

Apart from qualifications, what is the Portsmouth Teaching School looking for? 

Ideally you should have some recent experience in a classroom working in the age range you wish to teach so you know which age range is for you. Your school experience may be as a volunteer with youth groups or many of our successful candidates already work in schools as either Teaching or Classroom Assistants.

Do I need to visit schools before I apply? 

The amount of experience you have in schools will vary depending on your circumstances. The more experience you have working/volunteering in schools the better understanding you have of a teacher's role. However, we recognise that this isn’t always possible, especially if you are considering a career change into teaching. We recommend you gain at least a few days experience in schools before interview. Without going into schools how would you know it is really for you? 

What’s the difference between the School Direct salaried and non-salaried routes? 

The School Direct salaried route means that you are employed for the academic year by one of our partnership schools. You are paid on point 1 of the unqualified teacher pay spine (approximately £16,000) There is the expectation that trainees will be more 'work ready' and therefore undertake a teaching commitment within the first few weeks of the programme. You do not have to pay any fees for your training as this will automatically be paid by a government grant. On successful completion you will gain either a level 6 or level 7 PGCE with 60 Masters Credits and QTS status. 

You will need at least three years’ experience in the workplace, ideally with some experience related to working with young people. Places are usually limited due to the high costs to a school.

The School Direct non-salaried route means that you pay your course fees which are currently £9250.The programme is similar to the salaried route but the expectation to teach early, is not so high. On successful completion you will gain either a level 6 or level 7 PGCE with 60 Masters credits and QTS status. 

I have qualifications from overseas – how do I find out if they are equivalent to UK qualifications? 

You can contact NARIC via their website For a fee they will provide you with documentation to confirm your qualifications are equivalent to ones in the UK. You need to do this in order to apply for teacher training. 

I have a teaching qualification from abroad. Do I need to do a teaching course to be able to teach in the UK? 

Oversea-trained teachers (OTTs) who have qualified outside of the EEA and Switzerland may apply for Initial Teacher Training in the UK. You will need to research UK Visa and immigration requirements. If you are a trained teacher from Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the USA you may apply for QTS without further training or assessment. 

What’s the difference between QTS and a PGCE? 

QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) means that you have met the statutory requirements (The Teachers’ Standards 2012) for teaching in the UK. You need QTS to be able to teach in maintained schools in the UK. 

A PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) is an additional academic qualification which includes QTS. All our courses include both.

Which is the best route into teaching? 

There is no ‘best route’ into teaching but our trainees said they applied to us because they wanted to learn on the job and knew we had a great reputation (Ofsted 'Outstanding' in all areas November 2018). Our School Direct offer means you are in school for the majority of your training, typically 4 days a week, whilst receiving training from the Teaching School and HEI. 

How much does it cost to train to be a teacher? 

It does not cost anything to train on the School Direct (salaried) course. Instead, you are employed by the school. 

The cost of the School Direct (non-salaried) is £9250. There are bursaries available for many Secondary subjects. The amount will depend on the subject you wish to train in and your class of degree

Primary mathematics trainees can access a bursary of £6,000 and whilst there are no bursaries for Primary General, we do pay a small bursary for our Portsmouth route.

Please note the bursaries have not been confirmed for 2021-20.

What will my teacher training course be like? 

The Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance School Direct route offers training that is predominately delivered in schools by school. This is complimented by training through our alliance and HEI academic studies. Typically you will be in school learning on the job 4 days a week and in training on day 5.  

Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers you will have. It's hard work and you need to be prepared to work long hours whilst training. Those who choose teaching say it's the most rewarding way to spend their working life and well worth the effort. 

How to Apply

All applicants should apply through UCAS.  Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance 1 DR. If you have an initial query then please do contact us at