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Learning to teach: making sense of learning to teach
Learning to teach: making sense of learning to teach

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3 Qualifications

Underpinning all ITE courses is the requirement for teachers to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This status signifies that the person has met the standards necessary to become a teacher and it is a prerequisite for the vast majority of teaching positions in the UK.

There are opportunities to complete a QTS only route into teaching although many providers offer an academic qualification, which indicates a student teacher’s high level engagement with theory and practice. The nature of these qualifications is diversifying at a quick rate to adapt to recent government policy decisions and therefore care needs to be taken to check the actual qualification on offer.

Table 3: ITE qualifications
Qualified Teacher Status onlyUndergraduate qualifications+QTSPostgraduate qualifications+QTS
You have met the required standards for you to work as a teacher in your nation. You have met the required standards for you to work as a teacher in your nation and have demonstrated ability to engage with educational issues and debate at an undergraduate level, which is likely to have involved small-scale research. You have met the required standards for you to work as a teacher in your nation, have demonstrated ability to engage with educational issues, educational theory and practice at a postgraduate level. You will have read and analysed a range of educational literature and undertaken small-scale research. You may have accrued some masters level credits which can be used to work towards a masters in education qualification.

Traditionally, HEI’s have offered two different levels of academic ITE qualifications: undergraduate and postgraduate. Undergraduate courses involve completing a degree as well as ITE over a three or four year period (e.g. BEd courses), or completing a degree in a subject followed by a one year ITE course at professional level (level 6), (e.g. Professional Graduate Certificate in Education or PGCE) in addition to an existing degree.

Postgraduate qualifications are taken by people who already have a first degree and want to complete ITE at a postgraduate level. This is usually in the form of a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), and often involves opportunity to gain masters level credits.

The qualifications on offer from a particular provider often indicate the types of professional skills and understanding they feel teachers need to be effective and their view of the student teacher’s role as a learner. Accessing key educational ideas from researchers, and learning within school placements will be evident in both routes, although the nature of the qualification will indicate the relative importance and emphasis given to each.

Activity 4: Researching ITE courses

Timing: Time: 30 minutes

Spend 30 minutes on the internet looking at two contrasting ITE course. This may involve downloading prospectuses. Think about:

  • What information can you find out about how the course is designed and delivered and the qualifications they offer?
  • Is there any evidence of the underpinning paradigms or approaches to their ITE provision?