Teaching in a school

This page covers:

  • Why teach in a school?
  • Support for school teachers
  • School leaving age
  • QTS status
  • Post 16 Skills Plan and T levels
  • Prevent Duty & British Values
  • Useful websites for new teachers
  • FAQs

Why teach in a school?

Many people begin teaching and/or assessing in the further education and skills sector, then decide to teach in a school. There are some benefits, e.g. longer holiday periods, however, the contact time with learners might be higher per week than teaching in a college or a university.

Some FE organisations collaborate with schools to offer vocational subjects and although you might be employed by an FE provider, you might go into a school environment to teach. 

For some teachers, the transition from FE to a school can be easy. However, for others it takes time to adjust to the different age ranges and the challenges they may bring.

Support for school teachers

School leaving age

Children can leave school on the last Friday in June if they will be 16 by the end of the summer holidays (in England). Click this link for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - https://www.gov.uk/know-when-you-can-leave-school

They must then do one of the following until they are aged 18:

  • stay in full-time education, for example at a school or college
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

QTS status

Teachers in schools in England must hold QTS status if they are teaching in a maintained school or a non-maintained special school. The requirements will differ elsewhere. Maintained schools are state funded.

If you are a teacher in the FE and skills sector in England and have QTLS status and are also a current member of the Society for Education and Training, you will be pleased to know that QTLS status is equivalent to QTS in schools and accepted by law

This should mean you are entitled to work in a school without undertaking the Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year. However, although QTLS is applicable by law, many schools now make their own decisions as to what qualifications and experience their teachers must have, particularly in free schools and academies.

Post 16 plan and T levels

Over 20,000 courses will be replaced with 15 routes into academic and technical options as a result of the Post 16 Skills Plan (2016). 

Lord Sainsbury’s Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education (2016) recommends each route has a common core which will include English, maths, and digital skills, as well as a “specialisation towards a skilled occupation or set of occupations.”

Here are some relevant articles you might like to read:

FE Week article: Making sense of the plans for T levels

BBC article: T levels, what are they?

DfE Action Plan: Post-16 skills plan and independent report on technical education
Telegraph article: Education system to be overhauled

TES article - T levels to be delayed

Prevent Duty & British Values

The Prevent Duty isn't about preventing people from having religious, political or other views.

It's about preventing them from being radicalised and drawn into terrorism. 

Useful websites for new teachers


1. I currently teach in a college, how can I make the transition to teach in a school? 

Contact a school where you would like to teach and ask them what their requirements are. Most schools can make their own decisions as to who they employ. See the weblinks above for guidance regarding becoming a teacher.

2. I have QTLS status and I have taught in the FE sector for many years. I have applied to a school but they won't accept my QTLS as being equivalent to QTS.

QTLS is recognised by law as being the equivalent to QTS, however, some schools won't accept it. See this link for guidance. The Gov.UK website states: "If you have QTLS status and membership with the Society for Education and Training, you will be eligible to work as a qualified teacher in schools in England." Scroll down the page at this weblink for QTLS to find out more: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/qualified-teacher-stat...

3. I am worried that if I teach in a school, the behaviour of the learners will be hard to deal with.

There will be behaviour issues which you will have to deal with. Your school should be able to give you guidance. There are also lots of useful text books to help with behaviour and motivation. However, it's not always easy and you will need to remain in control, whilst being firm and fair.  

4. I currently teach in a school and would like to make the move to further education.

You are not alone! As a qualified school teacher you are already fully qualified to work in the FE & Skills sector. See this link for further information: https://www.feadvice.org.uk/i-am-school-teacher             

  • Reading lists for teachers in schools can be found by clicking here.
  • Resources to support teachers and learners can be found by clicking here.
  • Videos can be seen by clicking here.