How to Become a PE Teacher in the UK
Teaching is an extremely rewarding profession that allows you to have a huge impact on many people. Teaching PE is fantastic as it means you get to help kids get active and healthy! When you’re in the UK, there are some specific qualifications and processes that you must undergo in order to become a PE teacher. Luckily, the process is absolutely achievable and, with a little hard work, you may be teaching PE in no time.
Getting Yourself Qualified
Achieve your GCSE math and English courses with a C or above.Try to aim for higher than a C as it will enhance your chances of getting into a good university. Make sure to also get your GCSE in science with a C or above if you plan on teaching in primary schools.
- This is the first and most basic qualification that you need to become a teacher. It’s imperative that you achieve this as it is non-negotiable, whereas some of the other qualifications can be worked around or substituted.
- Getting this qualification essentially indicates that you are proficient enough in math and English to work at university level or above. Even though you are getting qualified as a PE teacher, you must have this level of general education.
Apply to a university of your choosing.Spend plenty of time crafting your application and making sure it is as polished as it can be. Think about applying to a range of universities in locations that you think may be interesting or enjoyable to study in. Look for all the application information on the university’s website.
- Visiting universities is also a great way to get a feel for which one may be the right school for you. When you visit, try to talk to plenty of current students to get a good feel for what the school is really like.
- Great applications to university generally have good grades, evidence of plenty of extra-curricular activities, and well thought-out personal statements. Try to write about something unique to you, and that you really believe in.
- Getting into a prestigious university is fantastic, but the most important thing is that you get accepted somewhere so make sure you apply to a range of schools.
Choose a Bachelor of Education to teach primary aged children (5-11).Try to pick a degree subject that is related to PE in some way. Some of these subjects might include sports science, exercise science, or sports psychology.
- Bachelor of Education degrees focus more on the actual teaching aspect than other degrees.
- Often, you will do a placement at some point during your degree. If this is the case, you will be a student teacher and will have the opportunity to create lessons and conduct classes.
Select a Bachelor of Arts/Science to teach high school children (12-18).Try to pick a related field here as well. Anything in the realm of PE works well such as physical education, or sports psychology. Make sure to choose the option for your degree that takes you on the route towards qualified teacher status (QTS).
- Most degree subjects have an opt-in QTS program which allows you to develop your teaching skills throughout the degree rather than just focusing on the subject matter.
- The opt-in QTS portion of an arts/science degree focuses on getting you ready for teaching in the classroom like a Bachelor of Education would.
- It is possible to become a PE teacher without studying a related field but it requires getting qualified later on so this is a much more direct path.
Study your chosen path till graduation.Make sure to get passing grades in all your classes and fulfill all the course credits you need in order to graduate. The minimum grades will vary across universities but if you don’t achieve them in any given class, you will have to retake that class.
- Make use of your academic advisors that you have at your disposal. They may be able to give you sound advice on class schedules, courses you need to take, and other general university issues.
- Being successful at university can be a real challenge because there are so many distractions around you. Try to create a study schedule with your friends, and start assignments early to help you manage your stress levels.
- It can also help to spend some time exercising or meditating when studying, these things can help clear and refocus your brain.
Get your PGCE if you didn’t study a related field at university.This stands for the Post-Graduate Certificate in Education. Apply for this course online and be prepared for the 1 year of full-time (2 years part-time) study it takes to complete. This usually involves some subject enhancement courses to increase your knowledge of PE.
- If you’re working at the same time as doing this course, you can usually complete it by distance as a part-time student.
- You can pair this qualification with any undergraduate degree, but if it is in an unrelated field to PE, you may have to take subject enhancement courses at the same time. This ensures that your subject knowledge is enough to be able to teach.
- At this time in the UK, you cannot become a teacher without an undergraduate degree.
Get your QTS (qualified teaching status) to become eligible to teach.Apply online for this status once you have finished your undergraduate degree and, if necessary, your PGCE. If you have completed everything to the correct standard, you are guaranteed to qualify.
- This is the page where you can apply for QTS: . The application is free and does not need to be renewed at any point.
- This makes you fully eligible to be able to teach in both public and private schools across the UK.
- If you are coming from overseas to teach in the UK then this is something you need to apply for. The requirements vary from country to country in terms of what qualifications you must have to be eligible.
Finding a Job
Prepare a resume or CV to help with your applications.Make sure that your chosen document is polished and absolutely free from any grammatical or spelling errors. Enlist professional help or assistance from a friend if you aren’t confident on your own.
- A resume is essentially a one-page document that outlines your education history, employment history, and leadership achievements. A CV is similar but allows you to go into more detail about all of these things.
Have an enhanced background check done.You can organize this by going online to the government’s website and applying for one. This isn’t mandatory to do as it’s possible (although extremely unlikely) that your employer doesn’t ask for one. If you want to be prepared, however, it’s definitely worth getting one.
- These background checks basically just show any fines, convictions, and cautions that you have received from the police. The checks cost £70.
- Just because you have a criminal conviction doesn’t necessarily bar you from teaching in the UK but your employer does have to be aware of it, hence the background check.
- You can get your background check done here: and the time it takes varies depending on how many resources the government must use to conduct the check.
Use job-search websites to find open positions.Sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor allow you to create advanced filters which help narrow down the search. They are both great sites to use but there are many more you can find with a simple Internet search.
- Applying for jobs on these sites is often really quick and easy so feel free to apply to several different ones initially.
- Search on these sites using keywords such as ‘sports education’, ‘PE teacher’, ‘sports teacher’.
- It can take a long time to find a job as a teacher, so try to start your jobs search at least 6 months before the start of the school year in August.
Talk to contacts at a certain school if you plan on applying directly.Ask them whether they know of any positions that may be open for PE teaching. It can also help to ask them to put you in contact with people on the administration of schools as these people often have the ability to influence hiring decisions.
- Applying directly to schools is more difficult than some other routes so having contacts on the inside is a really big advantage.
Register with a teaching agency that specializes in PE to find more leads.Some agencies specialize in one specific subject so try looking for one that specializes in PE. Make sure to have all of your documents in order before you go and meet with them as they will probably require proof of all your qualifications.
- Agencies are fantastic at putting you in contact with plenty of potential jobs but make sure you keep looking around for jobs even when your agency is also searching.
- You can register with more than 1 agency. PE isn’t a shortage subject like maths or physics. This means finding a job teaching PE is a little bit more difficult so registering with more than 1 agency can greatly increase your odds of finding a position.
Work on your interviewing technique.Practice with a friend by having them do mock interviews with you. Be prepared to talk about your qualifications, prior experience, and things that make you a great candidate for the position.Some of these qualities might include:
- Your work-ethic.
- Your strong academic performance throughout your studies.
- An ability to connect with students and get them excited about learning.
Find a school that is a good fit for you.There are plenty of things to consider when looking at schools that you may want to teach at. Think about the school’s location, its size, if it is single-sex, if it is public or private, and any other things you consider important to you.
- Finding a school to teach at is the same as looking for any other job; you need to make sure that the environment you will be working in is one that you enjoy and feel comfortable in.
- If you’re coming from overseas, make sure you do a thorough check that you will be eligible to teach in the UK by looking at your government’s arrangement with the UK. This will provide you information regarding visas and qualifications you need.
Video: Career Advice on becoming a Trainee PE Teacher by Andrea C (Full Version)
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