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Education and Teaching

The teaching and education sector is one of the largest employers in the UK. A significant number of Exeter graduates train to teach in UK schools and many choose to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL). There are also opportunities available to teach in higher education, in alternative settings and across a variety of non-teaching roles.

There are a number of ways to train to become a teacher. To learn more about training to teach in primary, secondary and special ‘maintained schools’ visit the Get Into Teaching website. The site also has information on training to teach in further education.

If you would like to learn more about teaching English abroad and TEFL qualifications visit the Prospects website. For information about teaching in alternative settings review the Education Alternatives guide.

Applying for teacher training

To apply for teacher training in a university or school you will need to apply via UCAS in the academic year before you wish to start your training. Applications tend to open in mid-October each year, however you should check the exact date on the UCAS website in advance. Popular programmes fill up very fast, so it is advisable to submit your application as early as possible. Learn more about the application process by browsing the links under ‘Information Resources’ below.

The University of Exeter offers the following accredited teaching experience programmes:

The Career Zone runs a range of employability schemes to help increase your work experience and networks in this area:

  • Aspiring Educators – explore a number of opportunities to gain teaching/education based experience on campus.
  • Career Zone Internship schemes – internships can be extremelyuseful, so try and get relevant vacation work or placements.  
  • Ask An Alum – a fuss-free way to connect with University of Exeter alumni to ask careers questions.  
  • Career Mentor Scheme – a popular employability scheme which matches a student or graduate with an experienced professional, for sector insight and one-to-one careers advice and guidance, over a 6-month period. 
  • Professional Pathways – a suite of sector specific training courses and paid week-long internships that take place in June.  

Videos: Watch the following videos to get a feel for some of the roles within the sector: 

  • Teaching Industry Insight – series of videos exploring the demands and benefits of working in teaching.
  • Education – real-life career videos, advice and information to inspire your career.

Webpages: If you would like to do further research into this sector, the following webpages may be useful. 

 TEFL

  • Teach English Abroad – explains the range of TEFL qualifications available and how to find teaching jobs abroad.
  • English as a foreign language teacher – covers key responsibilities, necessary qualifications and skills, how to find relevant work experience and career prospects. The page includes lots of useful links including to sites listing training courses and vacancies.

 To see if there are any Exeter alumni working in this sector that you can get in touch with, go to the LinkedIn Alumni tool.

There are relatively few advertised internships in the education sector, and most students obtain experience through volunteering or informal work experience. If you are interested in working within a university consider applying for a Student Campus Partnership and/or a Graduate Business Partnership which offer students and graduates the chance to work at the University.

Although there is no mandatory requirement to have teaching experience before you apply for teacher training, experience of being in the classroom is likely to increase your chances of getting a place on a course. It will also help you decide if teaching is the right career for you.

  • Aspiring Educators – explore a number of opportunities to gain teaching/education based experience on campus.
  • Learning for Teaching Module – gain experience and insight into teaching while studying for your undergraduate or Master’s degree.
  • Get school experience  – explains how to find school experience and the range of opportunities available.
  • Volunteering in schools – how to get teaching experience in schools and alternative ideas for work experience.
  • Do-It and vinspired – volunteering opportunities in your local area.

For general information about finding graduate opportunities, please visit our Graduate Jobs page, and for a list of general job search engines please visit our general job sources page. You could also have a look at Handshake, our vacancy database with employers who are targeting University of Exeter students.

The Prospects website has a very comprehensive page outlining How to get a teaching job. This page has a host of information and where to look for teaching positions and has information covering supply teaching and how to put together a strong teaching CV. 

Applications for posts in schools can begin as early as December in your training year, so make sure you don't miss the boat. Although there is a shortage of teachers in some subject areas this does not apply across the board and competition for some jobs, particularly in the southwest, can be intense. All Local Education Authorities must advertise their teaching jobs on their websites and you will find a link listing these below. Apart from this, the best sources for teaching vacancies are the Times Educational Supplement, The Independent and The Times, although for teaching in some areas such as the south east, an agency can be really useful.

For sector specific job listings, the following resources may be particularly helpful: 

  • Jobs.ac.uk – vacancy site for teaching and non-teaching roles in universities, research organisations, FE colleges and charities (it is advisable to sign up for job alerts from individual university vacancy sites too).
  • Teaching Vacancies – free job-listing service from the Department for Education
  • List of Local Authorities – a list of all councils in England and Wales
  • Times Educational Supplement (Tes) Jobs – the largest selection of academic, education and teaching job vacancies for primary schools, secondary schools and special needs schools in the UK.
  • Engage Education – Teaching jobs in London and the UK
  • Eteach – education recruitment service. Includes job board and career advice.
  • Catholic Education Service – lists vacancies in Catholic Schools throughout the UK

Teach English abroad / TEFL

 As jobs are not always advertised, it can be useful to develop your networking skills and also apply speculatively.

There are only a handful of graduate schemes in the teaching and education sector, and most graduates enter the profession through a paid job. Here are the two graduate schemes currently running within the sector:

  • Teach First – two-year graduate scheme which trains graduates as teachers to work in schools within low income communities.
  • Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme – scheme that brings graduates to Japan as Assistant Language Teachers and Sports Education Advisors.

Professional bodies, associations and societies are a great source of information and advice. They exist to promote and further a career and the people who practice in it. Being a member of a professional body is voluntary however, it can be valuable for developing networks, continuing your professional development, and generally keeping up to date with what's happening in the sector. Many offer student memberships for free or a very low rate.

To be employed as a teacher in a state maintained school you will need to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) through a period of initial teacher training (ITT), followed by a period of induction as a newly qualified teacher (NQT). Although QTS is not a requirement for teaching in academies or independent schools, it may be preferred. Use the sites below to learn more about the training options and routes available:

 Please visit the Postgraduate Study information page for more information about choosing further study.