Training and progression

Teaching in Wales

20 Sept 2023, 14:40

Want to become a teacher in Wales? Find out about teacher training through the PGCE route, along with the qualifications you'll need and the Welsh language learning you'll undertake.

Teacher training in Wales

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To become a teacher in Wales, you will need to gain qualified teacher status (QTS) by completing a programme of initial teacher education (ITE). To achieve this - if you already hold an undergraduate degree - you can undertake a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) through a university, in either primary (ages 3-11) or secondary (specialising in a curriculum subject). Alternatively, you can apply for a school-based salaried PGCE or a part-time PGCE, aimed at those seeking to work whilst they study and these two options are delivered by the Open University in Wales.

The salaried PGCE is a two-year, employment-based route that combines full-time work as a teaching assistant (or in another non-teaching role linked to learning) with part-time study for the PGCE qualification with qualified teacher status (QTS). The Open University can help you find a school that is willing to sponsor you, if you’re not already working in a state school. The Welsh government covers the costs of your studies with a training grant.

The part-time PGCE (also lasting two years) is a self-funded route that allows flexibility around your current job or other commitments. It includes 120 days of school placements over the two years. For more information see The Open University .

If you do not hold an undergraduate degree, you can complete a full-time undergraduate teacher training course. For more information see Initial Teacher Education (ITE) | GOV.WALES .

What qualifications do you need to train as a teacher in Wales?

Candidates must hold a standard equivalent to GCSE grade C or above in mathematics and English language or Welsh language for all training routes. A standard equivalent GCSE C grade is required in a science subject, if wanting to teach in a primary school (learners aged 4-11). Applicants who don't have the required maths and English grades can sit equivalency tests. See individual course providers for further details and information on equivalent qualifications accepted.

Individual providers will have literacy and numeracy tests that you need to pass in order to be accepted on their 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 for secondary PGCEs. However, there may be some flexibility for certain subjects. For primary teaching, you should have some education relevant to one of the school curriculum subjects in Wales - such as an A level or degree.

All students are required to undertake an enhanced disclosure check by the Disclosure and Barring Service .

Do you need to speak Welsh to teach in Wales?

No, you don't need to speak Welsh to apply to teach in Wales; unless you wish to teach Welsh as a second language at secondary level or teach in Welsh-medium education.

However, all student teachers training in Wales will undertake some Welsh language learning as part of their course. As well as being a core curriculum subject, compulsory until the age of 16, incidental Welsh (such as greetings and commands) is used around the classroom in both primary and secondary schools across Wales.

The universities in Wales that offer teacher training courses

How and when do you apply for teacher training in Wales?

Applications for entry the following September are made through the UCAS Undergraduate scheme. For equal consideration, the deadline is January 2024. However, do check with individual ITE providers for information on how competitive their courses are and if places are available after this date or through clearing. See the UCAS Undergraduate scheme for details on how to apply.

To apply for the salaried or the part-time PGCE you need to apply directly to The The Open University in Wales .

Funding for 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 the subject you are training to teach, where and how you train, as well as where you normally live and your personal circumstances. To find out what you are eligible for, contact Student Finance Wales , or contact your home funding body if you reside elsewhere in the UK.

The Welsh government provides financial incentive grants for teacher training in priority subjects, such as secondary sciences and maths. Your eligibility for these will depend on a range of factors; including what subject you are training to teach and your degree classification, among others.

Those who are training to teach in Welsh-medium education or to teach Welsh as a second language at secondary level may also be eligible for the Welsh Government’s Iaith Athrawon Yfory incentive scheme . For details of the financial incentives available, see Educators Wales .

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. A new curriculum and assessment framework for pupils aged 3 to 16, Curriculum for Wales 2022, is being rolled out in schools across Wales. It is expected to be used throughout Wales by 2026. For the latest information on the rollout of the new curriculum see the Curriculum for Wales .

How and when do you apply for teaching jobs in Wales?

Positions in primary schools in Wales can be competitive and recent graduates may start on temporary contracts (or to do supply work) before obtaining their first permanent post.

Once you have completed your ITE you will need to register with the Education Workforce Council and you will complete a comprehensive induction as a newly qualified teacher (NQT). The induction period is three full school terms, or equivalent. If you are working part time or on short-term supply contracts, you will need to complete a minimum of 380 sessions. NQTs (including those on supply) are entitled to support from a trained induction mentor.

You will need to keep an eye out for vacancies from January in the year that you qualify with QTS. It is common for trainee teachers to apply directly to schools they are interested in. Some local education authorities recruit directly from their databases of newly qualified teachers (NQTs). Vacancies are also advertised through:

Teachers qualified in Wales should be able to apply for registration as a teacher in other parts of the UK. Contact the Teaching Regulation Agency (England) , The General Teaching Council for Scotland or the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland for further information.

Qualifying to teach in further education in Wales

To work as a further education (FE) lecturer you will usually need to hold at least a level 3 qualification in the subject you wish to teach - most lecturers also hold an undergraduate degree or relevant professional qualification in their subject area. Though not a statutory requirement, completion of a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) (or Professional Certificate of Education (PCE) if you hold a level 3 qualification, rather than a degree) in Post-Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) qualifies you to teach in FE, adult, community or work-based learning environments. For further information, see Educators Wales .

Qualifications to teach in the FE sector are offered by the following universities:

As an FE lecturer you are also required to register with the Education Workforce Council and are encouraged to follow the Professional Standards for further education teachers and work-based learning practitioners in Wales.

Digital awareness is an important skill for FE lecturers. For more information about the Welsh government’s digital priorities for the post-16 sector, see Digital 2030 .

You will also need to undergo an enhanced disclosure check by the Disclosure and Barring Service .

There are 13 FE colleges in Wales, and these are listed at Educators Wales .

Written by Chloe Evans, Cardiff University, July 2023


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Occasionally targetjobs will work with another organisation to provide impartial careers content. This is to provide you with the most relevant information to make the best decisions about your future. As such, ‘in partnership’ content has been written or sourced by the partner organisation and edited by targetjobs as part of a content partnership.

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