Applying for teacher training? Everything you need to know

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Date published 14 July 2023

As you research your options for getting into teaching you may find yourself wondering ‘what exactly do I need to consider and do if I want to train to teach?’.

From checking and documenting your eligibility, to completing your application and preparing for assessments, there’s a few things you’ll need to do.

Whether you’re a graduate leaving university, already working in a school, or looking for a new job (maybe even moving from a completely different career path), you’ll need to follow the same process to apply.

Here’s everything you need to know about the teacher training application process, and things you should consider before, during and after you apply – whether that’s with Ambition or another provider.


Checking your eligibility

First, you should check whether you meet the eligibility criteria to become a teacher.

The Department for Education requires people looking to teach to have:

  • The right to work in the UK – to train to teach in England you need to either be a British or Irish citizen, have the right to work in the UK, or a relevant visa. If you were to select Ambition as your provider, you will need to demonstrate your existing right to work in the UK – unfortunately we won’t be able to sponsor your visa. If you are awaiting your visa, you will be able to submit your application and it will be placed on hold.
  • Undergraduate degree or equivalent – you must have an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree or equivalent, generally at a 2:2 or above. You can teach any subject you have sufficient knowledge in – your undergraduate degree does not need to be in the subject you want to teach. If your training provider feels you may need extra support with your subject knowledge, you may be asked to complete a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course as a condition of your offer.
  • GCSEs – you must have at least a GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) at grade C/4 or equivalent in both English and Mathematics. If you are training to teach Primary, you also need to have a GCSE at grace C/4 or equivalent in a science subject.

If you attended school abroad, you can check how the qualifications you obtained compare to the English system via Get into Teaching or the UK European Network of Information Centres (UK ENIC).

If your GCSEs don’t meet the grade requirements, you can re-sit your GCSEs at any time through an exam centre. The cost of this will vary depending on exam centre, exam board, and the level of study support accessed. We recommend doing some research – for example with the National Careers Service – to explore what option will work best for you in terms of the level of study support you need and exam centres local to you.

  • Your suitability to work with children will also be assessed on your application and during the assessment and selection stages that follow.
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Deciding who to train with, and where to teach

Who you want to train with

If you’ve decided that a school-based teacher training route is for you, one of the first things you’ll need to decide is which teacher training provider you want to train with. This decision might be based on a variety of factors including location, subjects they offer, whether you are looking for specific requirements like the ability to study part-time, or an existing relationship you hold with a training provider or school. If you have a specific school in mind, ask them who they work with to deliver teacher training.

Where you want to train

Location can play a huge role in your decision to teach. For example, you may want to teach in the place you went to university, move to a new area altogether, or return to where you grew up to make an impact in your local community.

Some school-based teaching training providers work with a network of partners and schools across one or multiple locations.

When you apply with Ambition Institute as your provider, you’ll have the opportunity to select the partner you want to be placed with. A partner is simply a group of schools, such as a multi academy trust or a teaching school hub, who will deliver your teacher training course using Ambition’s programme and tailoring it to their own context. They will host you for your main placement and provide you with expert mentoring and support.

At Ambition, we’re proud to work with a large national network of teacher training partners, across the North of England, Midlands, East of England, South East and South West.

You will be based in one core school for most of your training. Following the Assessment Centre, your partner will match you to the most suitable placement school based on things like where you want to train, what subject or phase you want to teach, and if you want to train full or part time.

Submitting an application

There are two ways you can submit your application – you may be able to do this directly with your chosen teacher training provider, or you can apply through the Department for Education’s Apply service.

In October 2023, the Department for Education’s Apply service will open for applications to train from September 2024. You will need to check with your chosen teacher training provider when their recruitment window opens.

At Ambition, applications are now open via our website. You can start your application here.

Applying is straightforward. You’ll need to provide the following information so that we can consider your suitability and provide your chosen partner with the necessary information to assess your application:

  • Your details – both contact details and monitoring information, such as your ethnicity, sexuality, and religion, which we use to inform and shape our approach to fair and open recruitment. You can select that you prefer not to say if you do not wish to answer monitoring questions.
  • Your course selection – your preferred phase and subject (where applicable) and whether you’d like to be considered for part-time study or a salaried place.
  • Your qualifications – GCSE, A-Level, and degree results (or equivalents) to ensure you meet the necessary entry criteria.
  • Declarations – confirming your right to work status and any safeguarding or criminal declarations.
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Documenting your eligibility

To start training to teach, you’ll need to provide proof of your eligibility to teach.

The documents you will need to provide are:

  • A valid passport
  • UK work visa (if you are not a UK citizen)
  • Your GCSE certificates (Maths and English, and Science if applying for Primary)
  • Your degree certificate

You’ll need to upload copies of these documents for your provider to check and show the originals either at your Assessment Centre or at an agreed date if you’re waiting on any documentation.

With Ambition you can upload the evidence of your eligibility for teacher training straight to our applicant portal. All you need are the documents to upload and a smart phone or scanner.

You do not have to have the necessary documents to hand to apply. You’ll have chance to upload them once your application has been submitted, but can be invited to an Assessment Centre without having done so. You may therefore receive a conditional offer based on your completing this part of the process.

If you don’t have copies of your GCSE certificates, you can find out how to get a replacement on the government website. For replacement degree certificates, contact your university.

Preparing for and completing online tests

It’s common when applying for teacher training to sit a series of online tests or assessments prior to or after being invited to Assessment Centre.

With Ambition, all candidates complete a short online literacy and numeracy test. If you’re applying to teach a secondary subject, you will also sit a short online test in your chosen subject. These can be taken anytime after you submit your application and we recommend completing them as promptly as possible. These tests are to ensure you have the right support when you start training, not to assess your ability as a teacher.

If you do need support to get up to speed in the subject you want to teach, the most common way of doing this is through a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course. This is a common condition of taking up an offer of a place on a teacher training course and is there to help you brush up on your subject knowledge before starting to train.

Preparing for Assessment Centre

Once your application has been reviewed, you will be invited to an Assessment Centre run by your chosen provider or partner.

If applying with Ambition, Assessment Centres will either be run at the partner’s central base, or at a school in their network. Your Assessment Centre will consist of a structured interview, and possibly one or two other activities. For example, a partner may ask you to participate in a teaching role-play activity. You’ll get more details on the schedule for the Assessment Centre in advance.

Partners will share some material with you ahead of the Assessment Centre. This is to ensure you feel well prepared for the task(s) you will be doing, so make sure you read the information and follow any instructions given carefully.


What to expect next

Following the Assessment Centre with your provider or partner, you’ll receive feedback and (hopefully!) an offer to train to teach with them. The offer will most likely have conditions attached to it, including completing the necessary steps detailed above (such as uploading your proof of eligibility documentation or completing your online tests), and also completing a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and Occupational Health check. Your provider will send you instructions on how to complete these.

Some offers will also come with conditions to complete a Subject Knowledge Enhancement course or spending time in a school. You will be supported to meet these conditions by your provider or partner if you need it at the time.

Want to apply with Ambition Institute?

If you’d like to apply to train to teach with Ambition, you can apply directly on our website. The first stage is to pick your preferred partner from our partner map.

Through MyTeacherTraining, our applicant portal, you’ll be able to monitor the status of your application, submit your proof of eligibility documentation, and complete your online tests. Our partners will be holding Assessment Centres from September 2023.

You can find out more by visiting our FAQs page. If you have a question that is not covered on this page, please contact our Admissions team via our enquiry form.

Charlotte Haynes
Associate Director of Partnerships Operations, Ambition Institute

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