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Teach Citizenship: open up countless career possibilities inside and outside of schools.

Which pathway into teaching Citizenship is right for me?

In recent years the government has pushed for greater diversification of training routes and this has led to a wide range of training choices and providers, which can be a bit confusing.  The government breaks these down into so-called ‘University-led’ and ‘School-led’ routes (in practice the amount of time spent in schools is very similar across almost all routes, especially those offering Citizenship initial teacher training):

University-led routes

Most of the places available to learn to teach Citizenship education are available through University-led routes.  In 2020-21 and 2021-22 places are being offered by UCL Institute of Education, Bradford College, Bishops Grosseteste Univesity, Kingston University, Sheffield Hallam University and Bradford College.

Applications are made through UCAS Teacher Training to a university PGCE course in a specific subject and the university select successful applicants after interview.  The university partners with a range of secondary schools in the local area to provide two school placements lasting approximately 60 days each for each trainee.  Approximately one third of the year is spent at University and at the end of the year successful trainees are awarded Qualilfied Teacher Status (QTS).  This route usually involves trainees paying tuition fees to the university.

Advantages of this route include benefiting from the subject expertise of the university, working and studying collegiality with a peer group of fellow PGCE trainee teachers, securing a PGCE from reputable, established university sources, by the support of an independent university tutor, and universities using their expertise and extensive partnership networks with schools to place trainees at the very best schools in which to conduct their two placements.  In addition, routes such as this that include the award of a PGCE will feature academic study and reflection on your teaching practice (note that PGCE courses can be either at Masters or Higher level, so its worth checking with providers which type of course they offer).

All initial teacher education providers such as these are, just like schools themselves, inspected by OFSTED for their quality of provision – so when looking for a university course it’s worth checking to ensure a provider has a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ grading for their teacher education courses.


School-led routes

An increasing number of school-led opportunities to train to teach Citizenship education are now available.  One of the most popular routes is called ‘School Direct’ and importantly this is broken down into ‘School Direct Tuition Fee’ and ‘School Direct’ Salaried routes:

  • School Direct Tuition Fee routes, as the name suggests, incur tuition fees and see applications first go to a school, after which they will go to the university that the initial school is partnering with.  From a trainee perspective the major benefit of this route is that you usually know from the outset, if successful at interview in securing a place, which school will host you for first placement and which staff will mentor and supervise you.  The time spent in schools on this route remains at approximately 120 days, and this will be split between your main placement school and a second placement school which your main school will organise (as such, the names of providers offering these routes often feature the world ‘alliance’ or ‘partnership’ as they comprise two or more schools working together).  The other 60 days are, like the University-led courses, usually spent with a partner University or other accredited PGCE provider.  Similarly, most successful trainees on this route finish the year with both a PGCE and QTS.  Again, as with University-led routes, there is no salary paid by either school to trainees
  • Some School Direct (tuition fee) routes are now organised through what is called a SCITT (School-Centred Initial Teacher Training provier).  This is usually an alliance of schools who have been acreddited with the ability to provide the vast majority of a student teacher’s practical and academic initial teacher education – so through SCITT providers up to 95% of the 180 total training days takes place in a school context.
  • There are a number of providers offering School Direct Tuition Fee places for 2020-21 and 2021-22 entry – a combination of School Direct partnerships and SCITTs.  Unlike University-led courses which offer multiple places, each school provider usually offers a smaller number of training places (though it’s worth confirming this with any individual providers you are interested in).  Providers that are associated to this website are the the Harris Federation, Gorse SCITT, Norfolk Teacher Training Center and Kent and Medway Training.
  • School Direct Salaried (SDS) routes are for experienced trainees being paid an unqualified teacher salary during the year.  As such, an SDS student teacher’s timetable is much heavier – often 80 to 90% of that of a qualified teacher.  These routes often partner with a university for accreditation, but the number of ‘input’ days from such institutions is much lower than the 60 days offered via either a school direct or university-led PGCE.
  • Sometimes SDS routes are available in Citizenship.


Other important considerations

  • Funding.  Many subjects currently attract a bursary to support those in training cover maintenance or tuition fee costs, but please note that for 2020-21 there are no bursaries available for students training in Citizenship.  This is because the Department for Education have not determined Citizenship to be a ‘shortage’ subject (i.e. a subject which is not attracting enough applicants each year).  Citizenship is a competitive subject due to strong outcomes in obtaining employment and career progression.  As such, most students who successfully secure a Citizenship teacher training place will either need to be self-funding or cover their tuition fees and maintenance costs through government-backed student loans.  Some universities also provide limited grants to help towards maintenance costs so it’s worth checking the availability of any such schemes with providers you are interested in.
  • Other routes.  Further the routes detailed above, there are a few additional pathways which teachers of some subjects can train through – these include ‘Teach First’ and ‘Assessment-only’.  However, for 2020-21 there are no courses or places available in Citizenship for these routes.
  • Part time / distance learning options.  Please note that almost all Citizenship university-led or school-led courses are full time and run from early- to mid-September to June/July.  Such courses cannot be completed on a part-time basis or through distance learning.  However, it is worth checking with individual providers about their particular course structures before applying.

About us

Teach Citizenship is led by PGCE Citizenship at UCL Institute of Education in collaboration with colleagues at Kingston University, Sheffield Hallam University, Bishops Grosseteste University, the Harris Federation, Bradford College, Gorse SCITT, Norfolk Teacher Training Center and Kent and Medway Training and the Association for Citizenship Teaching.

It is designed as a straightforward online guide for graduates & career changers interested in training to teach Citizenship education.

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