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Training to teach in Wales is broadly similar to training to teach in other parts of the UK, but you should be aware of some key differences. The university-based Postgraduate or Professional Certificate of Education (PGCE) route is the same. However, you can apply for the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) in Wales but not in England, where it has been replaced by the School Direct programme.
Do you need to speak Welsh?
No, you don't need to speak Welsh to apply to teach in Wales, unless you wish to teach Welsh-medium classes or teach in a Welsh-medium school.
However, all student teachers training in Wales will undertake some Welsh language learning as part of their course – it's a core curriculum subject, compulsory until the age of 16.
How do you qualify for teacher training in Wales?
You will need all the basic requirements, including:
- GCSE maths and English grade B or higher for all training routes and GCSE science grade C or higher for primary PGCE or physical education secondary PGCE. Applicants who don't have the required maths and English grades can sit equivalency tests. See individual course providers for further details.
- Enhanced disclosure check by the Disclosure and Barring Service.
Individual providers will have literacy and numeracy tests that you need to pass in order to be accepted on the course. These are usually administered during the interview process. You may also be asked to take a digital competency test by some providers.
Each teacher training provider will have different requirements, so it's worth checking your educational background with them before applying. Normally, you will need a 2.2 or above, but a 2.1 is essential for some PGCE courses. It is expected that a significant proportion of your degree will be in the subject you wish to teach. However, there may be some flexibility for certain subjects. For primary teaching, you should have some education relevant to one of the national curriculum subjects, such as an A level or degree.
Which universities in Wales offer teacher training courses?
- CaBan (Bangor University and the University of Chester)
- Cardiff Partnership (Cardiff Metropolitan University working in collaboration with its associated schools, Cardiff University, the University of Oxford and other partners)
- Yr Athrofa: Professional Learning Partnership (University of Wales Trinity St David, Camarthen and Swansea)
- Aberystwyth ITE Partnership
How and when do you apply for teacher training in Wales?
Applications usually open in October for entry in the following September and are through the UCAS Teacher Training website. Early application is recommended for the most popular courses, such as PGCE Primary and PGCE Secondary PE.
You can apply for three choices and the universities have 40 days to make their decisions. If you have not received an offer during the first round of applications, or if you decide you don't want to accept an offer and apply elsewhere, you can apply again in January for the second round of applications.
To apply for the GTP, check the Discover Teaching website.
Funding teacher training in Wales
As a trainee teacher you may be able to access funding and support while you are training. This will vary depending on where and how you train, and which subject you are training to teach, as well as where you normally live and your personal circumstances. To find out what you are eligible for, contact your Student Finance Company.
The Welsh Government also provides financial incentive grants for priority subjects and for those training to teach secondary subjects through the medium of Welsh. For full details see Discover Teaching.
The Welsh curriculum
Schools in Wales broadly follow the same national curriculum which can be delivered in English, Welsh, bilingually or in a faith setting.
All subjects are taught from a Welsh perspective and have a Welsh dimension. Pupils do not take Key Stage 2 Standard Attainment Tests (SATs), as in England, but pupils from Year 2 to Year 9 online personalised assessments in reading and numeracy as part of the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF).
A new curriculum and assessment framework, “Curriculum for Wales 2022” for pupils aged 3 to 16, is being rolled out in schools across Wales. It is expected to be used throughout Wales by 2026.
The previous Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 will disappear, whilst Foundation Phase (ages 3 to 7) will still remain in principle, but will become part of one seamless curriculum for pupils aged 3 to 16 years old.
For the latest information on the roll out of the new curriculum see Curriculum for Wales.