Advice for EU applicants
Teaching physics in England can lead to a very rewarding career and excellent benefits for qualified teachers.
Our schools need more specialist physics teachers than ever before, so Initial Teacher Training (ITT) in England is a very attractive option for prospective teachers across the EU. What’s more, anyone starting ITT in England in September 2014 will receive a bursary of around £9000 to £20 000 or an IOP Teacher Training Scholarship of £25,000.
We strongly advise all prospective teachers to apply for Initial Teacher Training and the IOP Teacher Training Scholarship scheme as early as possible. If you are a non-UK EU applicant you particularly need to allow enough time to secure a training place, organise your finances and find accommodation in the UK before Initial Teacher Training commences.
Read on for tips and advice tailored to help non-UK EU applicants increase their chances of securing an ITT place and an IOP Teacher Training Scholarship.
Anyone applying for ITT in England is expected to have a UK first degree and a minimum of grade C in GCSE English and maths. To find out if your qualifications are equivalent to these minimum standards, visit the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) website. If you need further clarification speak to your prospective training provider.
Fees and funding
As a trainee teacher in England, you will usually have to pay tuition fees for your course and fund your living expenses, such as rent, food, books, transport and entertainment. Tuition fees for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses are approximately £9 000, but always check with your provider before you apply.
Don’t be put off by the cost of teacher training in England because financial assistance is in place to help trainees during their training year. As an EU citizen you may be eligible to apply for a loan to help cover the cost of your tuition fees. What’s more, you will also receive a teacher training bursary of approximately £9000 - £20 000 or an IOP Teacher Training Scholarship to help towards your living costs. Information and advice about funding can be found on the National College for Teaching & Leadership website.
You might have gained lots of school experience in another country, but teaching a physics lesson in England could be very different to what you are used to or what you expect. We strongly advise applicants to gain some classroom experience in an English school before applying for ITT. This will not only help confirm that teaching physics is the right career path for you, it will also greatly increase your chances of securing an ITT place and an IOP Teacher Training Scholarship.
The IOP School Experience Programme can put you in touch with schools that are willing to take on students looking for observational classroom experience. To find out more, visit the School Experience Programme website.
Research the English school system
Any prospective ITT provider will expect applicants to have a solid understanding of the English school system. The curriculum, timetabling and the academic year may be very different in England compared to other countries, so it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the English school system before you apply for ITT. Grasping a good understanding of how the school year is structured and how students are assessed will show prospective ITT providers that you are committed to, and enthusiastic about, teaching physics in England. Visit the National College for Teaching & Leadership website for a wealth of information about the school curriculum, qualifications, teachers’ pay and assessments.
Subject Knowledge Enhancement
When you apply for an ITT place your chosen provider might ask you to complete a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course before you commence your training. An SKE course lasts for anything up to a full academic year and ensures that you have sufficient physics knowledge to become a good teacher. Your chosen ITT provider will give you a conditional offer to study with them on the basis that you complete an SKE. If you are not currently living in England and plan to move here just before the start of your ITT course, an SKE course will affect your current work/study and living arrangements because you will be required to complete the course in England prior to the start of your training. Bear this in mind when applying for an ITT course and be aware that you might need to move to England earlier than anticipated if you are asked to complete an SKE. For further information about Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses, visit the National College for Teaching & Leadership website.
Professional skills test
All applicants applying for ITT are now required to pass professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before they start their training. Professional skills tests are designed to check that you are sufficiently proficient in using Standard English to fulfill your professional role as a teacher. If English is not your first language and you need support, you are able to request 25 per cent extra time to complete the tests.
There are test centres in Madrid, Frankfurt and Paris, as well as test centres across the UK. For more information visit the National College for Teaching & Leadership professional skills test advice pages or contact the skills test helpline (Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm):
Telephone: (+44) (0)845 450 8867
Tips from a trainee teacher
Lorenz moved from Germany in September 2013 to start his physics teacher training in England. He was fortunate enough to be awarded an IOP Teacher Training Scholarship. Here we find out why like so many others he’s chosen to teach in England:
‘Before I started my PGCE I was working full time at a research institute and a university in Germany. I decided to apply for physics teacher training in England not only because I want to pass on my passion for physics to the next generation, but because I’m keen to see how a different school system works in another country. Over the next year I’m looking forward to gaining experience in schools and then reflecting on this experience in an academic context.
I’ve been settling well into life in England. I’ve found the people I’ve met very nice and supportive; however, there are unfamiliar abbreviations in the English language which I’m still trying to get used to!
My advice to anyone applying from outside the UK is to start the process as early as you can. Prepare yourself for additional expenses during the application process such as postage costs, literacy and numeracy tests and flights for interviews. Finally, double check with your provider when your tuition fees are due and when you should expect to receive your get loan, bursary or scholarship so you can plan your finances well in advance.’
If you have any further questions or concerns about teacher training in England or the IOP Teacher Training Scholarship scheme, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to help.