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What is the difference between QTS and PGCE?

  • yahoo

Finding routes into teaching is challenging and daunting, not to mention the state of the education industry as schools are (at the time of writing) closed for a second time in the UK. The rising coronavirus infections have forced the government to close schools, except for nurseries.

That doesn’t change the fact that getting into teaching has always felt like navigating a proverbial minefield. However, education recruitment agencies are always on the lookout for qualified candidates. When looking at teacher training options, two of the acronyms you may come across would be QTS and PGCE. 

These acronyms refer to two different types of qualifications which will help your chances of securing teaching jobs. But what separates them? What do they mean? Always Flourishing has compiled this short guide to help you.

(H2) Differences between PGCE and QTS

QTS stands for Qualified Teacher Status. This essentially means you are authorised to teach in any school in England. Some teaching courses offer applicants the opportunity to achieve QTS; however, a PGCE (which stands for Postgraduate Certificate in Education) is designed to improve your chances of landing teaching positions.

You can have QTS without having a PGCE, which will give you the freedom and flexibility to teach in any school. Whether this is in a primary school job, secondary school position or nursery teaching vacancy, having QTS will give you that minimum qualification. However, a PGCE in education will provide you with a Master’s level-equivalent qualification. Therefore, you may have the option to teach in England and possibly beyond. 

Below you’ll find a closer look at both these teaching training qualifications.

(H2) What is QTS?

  • Why should you get QTS?

    QTS is required to work as a teacher in special or maintained schools across England. In some cases, you can get into teaching without QTS (such as for academy or independent school jobs), but you may not end up with the higher-paying teaching positions.
  • How do you get QTS?

    To achieve QTS, you need to meet the Teachers’ Standards (as determined by the government). You’ll be assessed through written evidence and observations of you in the classroom. QTS training is carried out for most training providers over 9-12 months.
  • Eligibility requirements

    You need to have an undergraduate degree and GCSEs of C and above in English, Maths, and a C in science if you want to become a primary school teacher. To enrol, you’ll also need to pass the Professional Skills Test in both Literacy and Numeracy.
  • How does it differ from PGCE?

    Obtaining QTS means you’re qualified to teach but doesn’t necessarily confirm you’ve studied the art of teaching itself. Nor does it ensure you understand the theory of teaching. A PGCE, contrastingly, involves a series of written assessments and practical assignments, at a Master’s level.

(H2) What is PGCE?


  • Why should you get PGCE?

    PGCEs aren’t mandatory to teach in schools in England, but the additional study and assessments may help give you a more thorough understanding of educational best practices. Also, PGCEs are internationally-recognised, which is beneficial for exploring international teaching job opportunities.
  • How do you get PGCE?

    There are several routes into studying for a PGCE. Graduates who train directly through a university can obtain a PGCE (alongside QTS) after nine months. There are school-led courses to explore, which are preferable for those who prefer learning through practical experience.
  • Eligibility requirements

    Generally speaking, you will need a 2:2 degree or above. If you want to teach in a secondary school, your degree should ideally be in your chosen subject. Alongside this degree, you’ll need GCSEs of grade C or higher in English and Maths, as well as a minimum of C in science if teaching in primary schools. Some universities and training providers have their criteria, so it’s best to confirm them directly.
  • How does it differ from QTS?

    The PGCE itself doesn’t qualify you to fill any teaching position in England, hence why many aspiring teachers complete their PGCE alongside QTS. The PGCE is almost an added qualification to QTS, which drives home teaching theories and best practices. It does require more work than QTS-only courses, which is worth bearing in mind for time-conscious candidates.

Applications, for example, through UCAS Teacher Training, can be made throughout the academic year. It’s widely-recommended that you apply as early as possible.

Once you have completed your training, you’ll likely be wondering when you can start applying for teaching positions.

(H2) Sign Up to Education Recruitment Agencies

One of the simplest and most effective ways to secure education jobs is registering with Always Flourishing. We work with numerous schools in the Thames Valley to fill vacancies directly while supporting a plethora of aspiring candidates, trained in various subjects.

We also provide continued support through numerous CPD training courses. Get in touch with us to find out more.

Author: Vicky SneeEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.