Applying to Teach


On the 20th of June, I completed an undergraduate degree, as Bachelor Arts Honours in History with Politics, a topic I had studied for 3 years to that point. Having scored a 2:1 overall, and deciding I want to do this, I have applied to join a Teaching course. I have wanted to learn to teach for a while, so this will be a great experience for me. Based on my own experience, this blog post will discuss the application process and give you some tips on how to succeed in applying.

UCAS and teaching course applications

When you apply for a teaching course, you use UCAS, much like you may have done if you had already applied for an undergraduate course. The difference between the applications is minimal, besides clicking on the Teacher Training Button rather than the Undergraduate Button. If you had already applied on UCAS before, the process is pretty much the same. You fill in your personal details, write a personal statement, obtain two referees, and send it off to the universities that you have applied for. I have only applied for one university; Edge Hill University, so I only filled in one-course code, though you can apply for up to five of them.

I’d advise you check UCAS regularly after your application is sent off. UCAS do send emails when someone has responded to your application, though knowing what mine are like; they could get lost in the shuffle.


Some universities may ask you in for an interview at this point, which is what mine did. Edge Hill University sent me an email about coming in for an interview. If you are called in for an interview, then do not worry. All the pre-interview information, including maps, timetables, and what to bring, will be sent to you. I was asked to bring a photo ID, as well as original and photocopies of my GCSE certificate, and also my University results; which were sent to me via mail. For my interview, I was asked to prepare a rough lesson plan for my chosen topic.

The Interview

Though I had never made a lesson plan in my entire life, I was fortunate to have friends who have done this, and they sent me over some templates, which I used to plan my lesson. I also made a Powerpoint and prepped for the next few days. I had 5 days to prepare, but your time may vary. My interview day had 3 main sections to it:

  1. A Powerpoint explaining what was about to happen, and some information about the course.
  2. The Presentation itself (each candidate was given 10 minutes)
  3. An Interview with one of the course leaders.

I did my presentation last. If you need to do this, I suggest that you practice your presentation. Don’t read off your slides, use it to project some of the information that you’re saying, rather than show it all. Following this, I was asked to go into an interview. The interview lasted about 10 minutes and was mainly about expanding on the presentation and answering questions about dealing with the classroom. Following this, I was allowed to leave. The university states that you will find out about whether you’re on the course within 10 days. I found out quicker than that, but its usually within a week.

After the Interview

Following your interview, there are a couple of things to do. Firstly, is your student finance. If you’re on the course, I’d suggest doing it sooner, rather than later. Your parents need to fill in some information as well. It should be ready by September, but it is worth doing it sooner.

The most important thing, however, is your Disclosure or Barring of Service Check (Or, DBS Check). If you are training to be a teacher, a doctor, a police officer, a nurse, or any other professional role which requires you to work with vulnerable people, then you will do a DBS check. You have to pay to have one; which costs £50. While this is not really an opinionated post, I will say this: I do think £50 is a lot. Once the money has been sent off, you will be asked to activate a DBS account with your university, and you will be asked to provide personal information.

The DBS check will require you to select three pieces of ID to bring with you to your university on a certain date or time, stuff like a passport, driving license, and a birth certificate. If you don’t have anything like that, there are plenty of other options for you to fill in. Perhaps more worryingly to some is the disclosure of criminal activity. Any unspent crimes you have committed will be on your DBS certificate for a maximum of 6 years.

Do crimes bar me from teaching?

If that has got you worrying that you’re in jeopardy of losing your course place for pirating a movie, then don’t worry. There is a list of crimes that will bar you from becoming a teacher. However, Crimes like Underage Drinking, Joyriding, Online Piracy, Shoplifting, ASBO’s, or a bit of graffiti will not likely affect your application. While it will appear on your DBS certificate for 6 years, it will not bar you from teaching, as those crimes will be filtered. Crimes such as Murder, Rape, Paedophilia, Neglect, and other things like that will almost certainly bar you from teaching. There’s a full list of crimes you can be barred from teaching with, which can easily be found on the GOV.UK website.

So, that’s my experience so far. If you have any more questions, please comment them below.


About the author


Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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