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Considering teaching?

Employability Service

Category: Student support services

17 November 2021

Teacher training applications are always a hot topic at this time of year. Employability & Careers Adviser Issy Flexer gives some useful tips for preparing to train in the primary and secondary sectors.

During our recent Futures Festival, we ran our annual Teacher Training Fair, as well as a selection of teaching relevant webinars, to help students explore different routes into teaching, and get top tips on making their applications, undertaking interviews and gaining the relevant experience needed to pursue this career.

Whether you are looking to apply now to start training as a teacher in September 2022, or are earlier on in your degree, it is important to think about the different options and routes that will best suit you and the types of experiences and skills you can gain to increase your chances of success at the time of application. Networking plays a part in this and don’t worry if you missed out on our recent events as you can catch up on recordings the ARU Career Centre website.

Routes into teaching

There are several different postgraduate routes you can take to train as a primary or secondary teacher, more details of which can be found at Get Into Teaching. No one route is better than another, it is just about finding the one that best suits you and your situation. Check your training will award you the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) as this is the golden ticket not only to your first job, but others to come in the future.

Preparing for a career in teaching

Teenagers in a classroom with a teacher instructing them

All our schools and providers agree that work experience in a school or with young children is absolutely essential, to give you a chance to 'try before you buy' and make sure it is the right career for you. It will also help you evidence why you are a suitable candidate during the application process and will prepare you for teacher training by helping you understand what to expect.

John-Mark Winstanley from the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education (which offers PGCE routes) says: “the more diverse setting you can gain experience in the better, be that village versus city school, education vs play setting. What are you going to bring to the teaching profession that will inspire the children you go on to work with?”

There are a variety of ways you can gain volunteer or paid experience during your degree study including local after school or holiday clubs, private tutor work, community support roles with young people, Teaching Assistant in the classroom, or undertaking programmes such as the Colchester Teacher Training Consortiums Teacher Talent Pipeline, the Teaching Personnel Future Teachers Programme, or the Teach First Taster Programmes.

A man coaching seven small boys in football

How to apply

Applications typically open in early October for programmes starting the following September, although Teach First tend to open earlier in September and often close their application process before Christmas when their places have been filled.

Other providers offer interviews on a rolling basis and will close their applications when all places are taken up, so our advice is to apply early to avoid disappointment with your preferred choices! However, if you are unable to do that, there are usually training options available throughout the year.

Remember that your application is often the first impression you give to training providers, so it is important you take the time to complete it as best as you can. For more information on the different routes, where to apply and writing your application, check out some of our recorded webinars on the Career Centre and review the Get Into Teaching advice.

Top tips from our recent guests

“Try to make your personal statement stand out. You’re not writing an essay, you’re telling us why teaching can’t do without you.”
Kate Burns
  • Do get someone to proofread your application – good written communication is a key part of a teacher’s role.
  • Do your research on the route you are applying for and what is current in the wider sector of teaching and education.
  • Don’t forget to talk about the skills you have gained from your degree.
  • Don’t be afraid to show your passion for and commitment to education in application and interview.
  • Do use the support available to you.
“Your training year is the most exciting and demanding journey you will ever complete. You will look back with pride at your achievements. Enjoy!”
Ann Wilkinson

Further support

Whether you are considering teaching in primary or secondary schools, or other sectors including Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Special Educational Needs, Further Education or Higher Education we are here to support you.

Isabelle Flexer, Employability & Careers Adviser

With thanks to additional contributors including Strategy Education, Essex and Thames SCITT and Essex Primary SCITT.

Our Employability Service works with students throughout their time at ARU and after they graduate. The Service offers careers advice, online resources, and help with job searches, applications and interview preparation. Our Employability & Careers Advisers may mention some of these resources and services in their blogs, to give you an idea of the careers support that's on offer at ARU. Some of these resources sit behind a log in and can only be accessed by current students.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.