How to fund your teacher training

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If you’re thinking about training to become a teacher, the question of funding is probably on your mind. And with so many financing options available — from student finance loans and paid programmes to subject-specific bursaries and scholarships — things can get a little confusing. Which should you go for?

Teaching can be an incredibly rewarding career, but you’ll want to make sure you’ll have the means to cover your fees and expenses before you start earning a salary. Before you decide on your training path, course, or programme, make sure you research the funding benefits of each.

In this article, we’ll cover how you can fund your teacher training, the funding available for PGCE, whether you’ll qualify for student finance, and whether you’ll get paid as a PGCE student.

How do I fund my teacher training?

If you’re studying to become a teacher, you’ll have less time to work. Understandably, you’ll want to access any loans, bursaries, or scholarships available to you.

To help you train to teach, you can apply for two loans:

  • A tuition fee loan of up to £9,250. This will cover your training costs, meaning you won’t need to back any course fees upfront or out of your own pocket. 
  • A maintenance loan of up to £12,382. This will help with your living costs, like your rent and groceries.

Even if you already took out a student loan for your first degree or qualify for a teaching bursary or scholarship, you can still apply for these loans.

As they’re loans (not grants), you’ll need to pay them back. However, you’ll only need to make repayments once you’re earning. For instance, you’ll only start paying back your tuition fee loan once you’re earning more than £25,000. Your repayments won’t increase if you already have a student loan and take an additional loan for teaching training.

If you’ll be training to teach certain subjects, like Science, Maths, Computing, Languages, and Geography, you might qualify for a tax-free teaching bursary or scholarship. You’ll need a 2:1, 2:2, Master’s degree, or PhD to be eligible for a bursary or scholarships. For more information, see the government’s Get into Teaching page.

There are also specific bursaries available to non-graduates and former military personnel.

What funding is available for PGCE?

If you already have a degree and want to train to be a teacher, you can go back to university to pursue a Postgraduate Certificate In Education (PGCE). After a one year course, you can achieve your PGCE qualification. This isn’t the only way to obtain a PGCE, however. You could also train with a school or group of schools, which costs the same (£9,250) and takes the same amount of time (one year).

Those pursuing the PGCE through a non-salaried course can apply for loans, bursaries and grants (depending on their eligibility) as previously mentioned. The subject you’ll be teaching, residence in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, your academic credentials, and whether you’re disabled, a parent, or a carer will all affect your eligibility.

Individual universities might also offer bursaries and scholarships to applicants of certain teaching courses. Before you apply to an institution take a thorough look at the options available. There are also some charities that offer PGCE funding support and small bursaries like the Postgrad Solutions Study Bursary.

Do PGCE students get paid?

Another popular option is to earn a salary whilst training. This is possible with some postgraduate teaching apprenticeships and salaried school direct training programmes.

These tend to be ‘learn as you teach’ in-school programmes. You’ll gain hands-on experience and earn a salary at the same time.

A popular programme is Teach First. Although you won’t receive a PGCE from your training, you will earn a Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Leadership (PGDE) — which is worth twice as many credits as the PGCE. Teach first allows you to earn a salary as an unqualified teacher before gaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) — the standard requirement for teaching in most English schools. As you’ll be paid a salary, you won’t be able to apply for the bursaries and scholarships that those pursuing their PGCE at university will be able to access. 

Note that if you’re being paid to train, you’ll be paid and taxed as an unqualified teacher. Plus, salaries can differ between schools and areas. 

It’s also useful to note that different programme providers will allow you to earn different teaching qualifications or Master’s-level credits. You might find that some programmes offer benefits that could help your professional development — like mentoring and leadership training. Keep this in mind when choosing a ‘paid’ teacher training option.

Though there are still funding options for taught PGCE options, some people prefer earning a salary and working in a school instead. 

Can I get student finance for teacher training if I already have a degree?

Yes. Postgraduates can access student finance for teacher training. Whether you’re hoping to pursue Initial Teacher Training (ITT) (not including early years), School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT), or a PGCE you may be eligible for student finance.

If you want to complete an Early Years ITT, the DfE will pay your fees. Plus, you might be eligible for an early years ITT bursary.

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