Teaching in a school


This page covers:

  • Why teach in a school?
  • GCSEs and A levels
  • 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?

Teaching in a school can be very rewarding as you can help shape the future of your learners. 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. There are some weblinks at the end of this page which you might find useful. You might also like to contact the school you are thinking of applying to, to find out what the role will involve, along with the pay and conditions.

Many people begin teaching and/or assessing in the further education (FE) and training 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. 

The pay and conditions will be different in a school to that in FE, and there will be policies and procedures which you will need to find out about and adhere to. These will probably be different in every school, for example, some schools have a uniform policy and others do not. You will need to be aware of safeguarding, this is about ways to protect the health, well-being and human rights of children, young people and vulnerable adults. 

Teaching in a primary school may involve delivering many different subjects to one group of children, whereas teaching in a secondary school might involve teaching one or two specialist subjects to lots of different groups of pupils. Class sizes in schools will probably be larger than those in FE.

You might also have to teach and/or embed topics such as:
  • attitude and behaviour
  • British Values
  • citizenship, enterprise and sustainability 
  • employability and employment skills
  • functional skills (maths, English and digital skills)
  • personal development, behavoiur and welfare (PDBW)
  • personal learning and thinking skills (PLTS)
  • personal, social, health and economic knowledge (PSHE)
  • professional behaviours. 

GCSEs and A levels

You will probably be teaching GCSE subjects, of which the grading structure recently changed (in England). You can see a comparison of the grades in this image, and you can find out more at this link:

If you will be teaching A levels, you can find out more at this link:

Scroll down this page for information regarding T levels.


Support for school teachers

  • Reading lists for teachers in schools can be found by clicking here.
  • You could search Facebook and LinkedIn for relevant groups regarding teaching your specialist subject.
  • Resources to support teachers and learners of relevant qualifications can be found by clicking here.
  • Videos can be seen by clicking here. 

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 training sector in England, 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) induction year. However, although QTLS status 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. 

If your school is unsure about the equivalence of QTLS to QTS, you can direct them here for more information.

Post 16 Skills Plan and T levels

In 2020, over 20,000 courses will be replaced with 15 routes into academic and technical options, known as T levels (stands for 'technical) as a result of the Post 16 Skills Plan (2016). They are an alternative to A levels, they are at level 3, last for two years, are for age 16 and above, and include a period of work experience. They will be equivalent to three A levels.

Lord Sainsbury’s Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education (2016) recommended 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.” 

Applied general is a new category of Level 3 vocational qualification. Like T Levels they are taken over two years and are available both to young people over the age of 16 and adults. 

Applied general qualifications cover broader subject areas than T Levels. Rather than focusing on a specific occupation, learners are supported to develop transferable skills in areas such as science, business or sport. 

Upon completion of a T Level or an applied general qualification, learners will be able to progress to higher education, complete a higher apprenticeship, or start work.


Prevent Duty

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. 

The Prevent Duty is part of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (2015). You should be required to attend a training session at your organisation to ensure you are up to date with the requirements. Following it will be part of your job role.

British Values

If you work in education in Great Britain, you will need to consider how you can promote fundamental British Values. If your organisation is inspected by Ofsted, they will be looking for evidence of this. However, perhaps it’s not just about British Values, it could be considered 'everyone’s values'.


British Values are taken from the Prevent Strategy (2011).

According to Ofsted, 'fundamental British values' are:

  • democracy
  • the rule of law
  • individual liberty
  • mutual respect
  • tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, and for those without faith.

Learners will need to know about these and understand how they affect their role in society. They will need to know what is right and wrong, and how they should respect the law. They should also know how to accept responsibility for their actions, respect others, and understand how they can contribute to society in a positive way. If you get the opportunity, you could hold a discussion, or carry out an activity with your learners based around the values. 

Ways to promote British Values can include:

  • discussing and researching how democracy and the law works in Britain, for example, comparing it to governments in other countries
  • encouraging learners to make independent choices and express their views, with the knowledge that they are in a safe, secure and supportive environment
  • exploring with learners what it means to be British, and what they think the values mean
  • holding discussions which give learners the opportunity to learn how to defend their points of view and respect others’ views
  • inviting guest speakers from different faiths and beliefs to talk to learners and answer any questions they have
  • preparing learners for life and employment in a modern civilised society
  • promoting democracy in action by encouraging learners to speak up, knowing they will be listened to
  • using learning materials which represent all aspects of society
  • enabling learners to vote for members to be on educational committees.
Here are a few relevant web links you might like to check out:

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 for new teachers 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 in 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 about two thirds down the page at this weblink and look 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 more than likely 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.  A free book about managing difficult behaviour in colleges can be downloaded here: https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2018/04/24890.pdf You should be able to apply the content to schools.

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

As a qualified school teacher you are already fully qualified to work in the FE and training sector. See this link for further information: https://www.feadvice.org.uk/i-am-school-teacher  You can find out more about the FE sector by downloading this guide from the Education and Training Foundation: https://et-foundation.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/FE-guide-July-19.pdf            

  • Reading lists for teachers in schools can be found by clicking here.
  • You could search Facebook and LinkedIn for relevant groups regarding teaching your specialist subject.
  • Resources to support teachers and learners of relevant qualifications can be found by clicking here.
  • Videos can be seen by clicking here.