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International Teaching in the UK

How to Become a Teacher in the United Kingdom

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) oversees teacher certification in the United Kingdom. Teachers in the United Kingdom must hold both at least a bachelors degree, and must have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). In order to achieve QTS, prospective teachers must complete Initial Teacher Training (ITT) specific to the age group they wish to teach. Prospective secondary school teachers must complete ITT specific to the subject they wish to teach. TDA offers a variety of ways to become a teacher, including bachelor’s degrees in education, postgraduate certificates in education, postgraduate degrees in education, school-centered initial teacher training, overseas teaching programs, registered teacher programs, and assessment-based training for prospective teachers with in-depth knowledge or experience in a particular subject.

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Education in the United Kingdom is governed primarily by the National Curriculum, which was introduced in 1992, and is followed in all public schools for students ages 5-16. Over 90% of school-aged children attend public schools. The National Curriculum is divided into four Key Stages; the first two correspond with primary education, and second two control the curriculum for secondary education. The National Curriculum includes instruction in English, mathematics, science, design and technology, information and communication technology, history, geography, modern foreign languages, music, art and design, physical education, religious education, and citizenship.

Preschool in the UK

The government of the United Kingdom provides 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks each year for all 3- and 4-year-olds. Early education is organized locally by accredited early education providers. Early education may be provided by public or private preschools, nurseries, or child care centers, and must follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) requirements, which emphasizing learning through play.

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Primary Education in the UK

Primary school is compulsory in the United Kingdom, and is divided into key stages 1 (ages 5-7, grades 1-2) and 2 (ages 7-11, grades 3-6). The National Curriculum requires that students in primary school be taught art and design, design and technology, English, geography, history, information and communication technology, mathematics, music, physical education, religious education, and science. For each subject, an official Programme of Study dictates the curriculum. The United Kingdom’s new approach to assessing students, Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP), provides assessment guidelines for different subjects and age levels.

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Secondary Education in the UK

Secondary school is compulsory in the United Kingdom, and is divided into key stages 3 (ages 11-14, grades 7-9) and 4 (ages 14-16, grades 10-11). In addition to the subjects covered in primary school National Curriculum requires that secondary schools provide instruction in citizenship, modern foreign languages, and information and communication technologies. For each subject, an official Programme of Study dictates the curriculum. The United Kingdom’s new approach to assessing students, Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP), provides assessment guidelines for different subjects and age levels. During key stage 4, students take General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations. GSCE’s are in single subjects, and so students generally take up to 10 of the tests. Students may also take A Level examinations, which denote advanced standing and mastery of material beyond what is required for the GSCE’s.

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Higher Education in the UK

Roughly ⅓ of the students who complete secondary education in the United Kingdom immediately go on to higher education. Universities in England generally offer 3-year bachelor degree programs, year-long masters degree programs, and 3-year doctoral programs, while vocational schools offer 2-year foundation degree programs. The government of the United Kingdom provides substantial funding for institutions of higher education, which generally charge much lower tuition rates than their American counterparts do.

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Our partner RossierOnline offers an International Master of Arts in Teaching program delivered by the University of Southern California and is available online, to students around the globe. Learn more about teaching in the UK with RossierOnline.

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