Here are a few additional considerations about starting your teaching career.
If you have a genuine passion for bringing the best out in students and helping them reach their potential, then the answer to the first question is “yes”. There can be something wonderful about sharing your knowledge and to do so successfully, interpersonal and communication skills are vital.
Further education (FE) involves simplifying sometimes complex concepts so you’ll need patience; while identifying the different needs of individual students will require flexibility. Teaching can be challenging at times but also hugely rewarding. Working in FE gives you an excellent opportunity to reconfigure your work-life balance.
There is a sizeable range of salaries available for teaching in further education (FE). An unqualified FE teacher will earn between £19,758 to £23,325, with this rising to between £24,702 and £37,258for a qualified teacher, dependant on location, subject and experience.
Salaries for leadership and management roles can rise to in excess of £90,000. There is definitely scope for career progression in the teaching profession.
Hard skills are ones that can be measured and soft skills are personal traits and habits. The full range of hard skills desired by further education institutions vary by subject but the key ones are:
Soft skills needed include:
Though not an exhaustive list, these are the main skills that a successful candidate will possess. A blending of the two sets of skills is essential.
While classroom experience is desirable, lack of it isn’t a barrier to working in further education (FE). Experience from a job in a relevant sector can present a viable opportunity to use much of the knowledge you have gained in your career so far as a teacher. Most colleges will let you train on the job. Those training while teaching will work towards completing a teaching qualification, such as a Diploma in Education and Teaching (DET) or a Certificate in Education (Cert Ed), or a level 5 FE teaching apprenticeship.
Yes. A foundation degree can be used as a work-based route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This route will just take more time as you’ll be “topping up” your degree to reach a full honours degree. There are lots of options for distance learning to help you make this step, allowing you to learn in your own time and at your own speed.
Certain “shortage subjects” have emerged in the UK in the past year, which are subjects that are tough for further education institutions to fill with qualified teachers. There are tax-free bursaries available to trainees who are training to teach high-priority shortage subjects in the FE sector. The trainee bursary with the highest value of £26,000 are maths, science, engineering and/or manufacturing and computing. Those training for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) get £15,000 to train, while English teachers get £12,000.
It can feel overly complicated so we’ll try and simplify things here. The full teaching qualification for FE is the level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (DET), however, if this qualification taken at a university or some FE colleges it may be called a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) or a Certificate in Education (Cert Ed).
Here is the current qualification framework as it stands:
In terms of the credits situation, your degree must total 360 credit points of which 60 must be at Level 6 for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) routes.
Other qualifications that have since been reformed but still have some weight in the FE sector include: Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS), Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (CTLLS), Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) and the 7407 Certificate in Further Education Teaching.
The move from teaching assistant to teacher is relatively straightforward and has become a popular career move. If you’ve got classroom experience, that is always a plus and you may be able to obtain qualified teacher status (QTS) via the 12-week Assessment Only programme. If you have a degree and ample experience of working in a school, early years, or FE setting, you can get QTS without undergoing a teacher training programme using the ‘assessment only’ scheme.
Teaching assistants (TAs) earn an average of £23,398 per year, according to talent.com. This equates to £12 per hour. Entry-level TA jobs bring home £21,104 a year rising to £36,739 per year for the most experienced TAs. For comparison, the UK’s median annual pay fell slightly in 2021, from £31,461 for the tax year ending April 2020 to £31,285 for full-time work in 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The average salary for a supply teacher in the UK is £35,100 per year or £18 per hour. Entry level positions start at £31,272 a year, although some of the most experienced workers bring home around £46,839 per year.
A standard supply teacher job will require Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) just as a teacher does in a permanent role. The majority of supply teachers are employed as agency workers through a supply agency or employment business so being with the right agency is a must. You will undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check as standard due to working with minors. Supply teachers work at a school or college temporarily in the absence of a permanent teacher. The beauty of being a supply teacher is that it’s a great way to address your work-life balance and the flexibility of the role is one of the most attractive things about becoming a supply teacher.
Yes it is. Although in an ideal world at least half of your university degree should be focused on the subject you wish to teach, shortage subjects, in particular, may look at your work experience and/or A-Levels instead. An example of the latter would be doing a degree in media studies but getting a A/B grade in maths and wanting to be a maths teacher. You’ll need a degree of any description to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS). If the degree you hold does not fully align with the subject you want to teach, you may wish or be asked to complete a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course before you undertake your teacher training.
STEM subjects (that is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are repeatedly mentioned as the shortage subjects in the UK. There has been a drive in recent years to address the shortage of STEM skills across the population, which has lead to an increasing focus on these areas by government. Aside from the STEM subjects, there are bursaries available to entice people into becoming English and special educational needs and disabilities teachers.
Your real-world industry experience will mean you very likely already have what it takes to teach in FE. The government is very clear that skills, experience and knowledge are valuable commodities in the teaching world. Some teacher training providers may have minimum degree classification requirements, while Assessment Only pathways tend to offer more flexibility regarding degree score and subject.
If you don’t have a degree, there is an effective way to get into FE teaching is to train through a university-led undergraduate course and graduate with qualified teacher status (QTS). A degree with QTS can be achieved in three to four years or else a part-time course can be taken over a longer period of time and far more to your own timetable.
There are two routes to becoming an Early Years teacher: a university course or else working towards the role. Either way, you’ll need to do ‘early years initial teacher training’ (EYITT) to achieve ‘early years teacher status’ (EYTS).
To start early years teacher training, you’ll need maths at grade 4 (C), English at grade 4 (C) and science at grade 4 (C). Alternatively, if you are wanting to do postgraduate early years teacher training, you’ll need a 2:2 bachelor’s degree with honours or higher. EYTS qualifies you to teach children up to the age of 5.
School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) programmes are teacher training courses that provide graduates with the opportunity to receive practical teacher. SCITT centres on the idea of learning through experience and course providers work in collaboration with a network of local schools to deliver training. SCITT programmes are a popular way to gain qualified teacher status (QTS). Most SCITT programmes enable trainees to gain a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).
Useful information from the Aoc tailored for each teaching subject
AoCJobs, part of the Association of Colleges, connects teachers and support staff with schools and colleges for online job opportunities.