Training to teach in Wales

Training to teach in Wales

Training to teach in Wales is broadly similar to training to teach in other parts of the UK, but you should be aware of some key differences. The university-based Postgraduate or Professional Certificate of Education (PGCE) route is the same. However, you can apply for the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) in Wales but not in England, where it has been replaced by the School Direct programme.

Do you need to speak Welsh?

No, you don't need to speak Welsh to apply to teach in Wales, unless you wish to teach Welsh-medium classes or teach in a Welsh language school.

However, all student teachers training in Wales will undertake some Welsh language learning as part of their course – it's a core curriculum subject, compulsory until the age of 16.

How do you qualify for teacher training in Wales?

You will need all the basic requirements, including:

  • GCSE maths and English grade B or higher for all training routes and GCSE science grade C or higher for primary PGCE or physical education secondary PGCE.
  • Enhanced disclosure check by the Disclosure and Barring Service.
  • You may be asked to complete a declaration of health questionnaire.

Unlike in England, you will not need to take the professional skills tests before applying for a PGCE in Wales, although individual providers will have literacy and numeracy tests that you need to pass in order to be accepted on the course.

Each teacher training provider will have different requirements, so it's worth checking your educational background with them before applying. Normally, you will need a 2.2 or above, but a 2.1 is essential for some PGCE courses. You don't necessarily need to have a degree in the subject you want to teach, but there should be some relevance. For primary teaching, you should have some education relevant to one of the national curriculum subjects, such as an A level or degree.

Which universities in Wales offer teacher training courses?

Use our TARGETpostgrad course search to explore your training options.

How and when do you apply for teacher training in Wales?

Applications usually open in late October for entry in the following September and are through the UCAS Teacher Training website. Early application is recommended, by mid-January. 

You can apply for three choices and the universities have 40 days to make their decisions. If you have not received an offer during the first round of applications, or if you decide you don't want to accept an offer and apply elsewhere, you can apply again in January for the second round of applications.

For the GTP, check the Welsh government website.

Funding teacher training in Wales

As a trainee teacher you may be able to access funding and support while you are training. This will vary depending on where and how you train, and which subject you are training to teach, as well as where you normally live and your personal circumstances. To find out what you are eligible for, contact your Student Finance Company.

The Welsh Government also provides financial incentive grants for priority subjects. For full details see Teacher Training & Education Wales.

The Welsh curriculum

Schools in Wales broadly follow the same national curriculum which can be delivered in English, Welsh, bilingually or in a faith setting. The system is split into:

  • Foundation Phase (age 3 to 7)
  • Key Stages 2, 3 and 4
  • Post-16 education

All subjects are taught from a Welsh perspective and have a Welsh dimension. Pupils do not take Key Stage 2 Standard Attainment Tests (SATs), as in England, but pupils from Year 2 to Year 9 have to take National Reading and Numeracy Tests as part of the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF). A new curriculum and assessment framework, “A curriculum for Wales – a curriculum for life”, is being developed for children and young people aged 3-16. It is expected to be available to schools from 2018 and its implementation completed by 2021.

The Learning Pathways 14-19 programme allows learners in Key Stage 4 and Post-16 the opportunity to design their own pathway around a core learning programme. One of the options available is the Welsh Baccalaureate (WBQ), which is a qualification learners can take alongside their GCSEs and A levels to develop key skills.

Written by Margaret Evans, Northumbria University