Advice for EU applicants

Teaching physics in England can lead to a very rewarding career and provide excellent benefits for qualified teachers.

Our schools need more specialist physics teachers than ever before, so Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in England is a very attractive option for prospective teachers across the EU. What’s more, you could be eligible for a training bursary of up to £26,000 or an IOP Scholarship of £28,000.

We strongly advise all prospective teachers to apply for ITE 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 your ITE commences.

Read on for tips and advice to help you increase your chances of securing an ITE place. If you have any questions or concerns about training to teach physics in England, email us at and we’ll do our best to help.

Equivalent qualifications

Anyone applying for ITE 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 Education (ITE) 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 available. As an EU citizen you may be eligible to apply for a loan to help cover the cost of your tuition fees. You might also be entitled to a tax-free government bursary of up to £26,000 or a £28,000 IOP Scholarship. Information and advice about funding can be found on the Get into Teaching website.

School experience

You might have gained lots of school experience in another country, but teaching physics 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 ITE. 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 ITE place.

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 webpage.

Research the English school system

Any prospective ITE provider will expect you 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 ITE. Grasping a good understanding of how the school year is structured and how students are assessed will show prospective ITE 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 ITE 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 ITE 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 ITE 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 ITE 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 Department for Education website.

Professional skills test

All applicants applying for ITE 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 fulfil 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  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 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.’

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