Postgraduate school-based routes into teaching

Have you ever wanted to do something that really will change lives? Are you bored of the usual commute and the dull 9-5 existence of an office job? Do you have good graduate qualifications? Can you show great intrapersonal skills, flexibility, creativity and resilience? Then teaching could be the profession for you!

To become a qualified teacher in state-maintained schools across the UK, you need to undertake Initial Teacher Education (ITE). Entry is generally competitive for our primary places. As a minimum qualification, completion of ITE leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), recognised in England and Wales. We also offer the opportunity to complete the academic study needed for a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate of Education) or the PGDE (Postgraduate Diploma of Education).

Training to be a teacher is challenging but there are a number of benefits to a teaching career. You'll use your knowledge and skills to inspire and educate the next generation and the variety of your job means that you'll gain plenty of transferrable skills in return.

You'll get to watch young people learn and develop, meaning that job satisfaction is guaranteed. What's more, you'll have ample opportunities to progress your career. On a practical note, teachers also enjoy great job security and other benefits such as a competitive salary, generous holiday allowance and a pension.

To help you decide if teaching is right for you, and to support your application, you should do as much work or volunteering in schools as you can. If you're not sure which age or subject would suit you best, contact schools in your area and ask to observe in a classroom. You should also speak to the teaching staff about the challenges and rewards of teaching.

The UK education system is broadly divided into primary and secondary schools.

Aquila is a trust of primary schools so the key stages are:

  • Early years foundation stage (EYFS): 0-5 year olds - nursery and reception
  • Key Stage 1: 5-7 year olds - school years 1-2
  • Key Stage 2: 7-11 year olds - school years 3-6

Try to gain experience with different age ranges to help you decide which group is right for you. Teacher training covers two key stages and, once qualified, teachers gain experience of teaching across key stages but tend to stay within the age range they trained to teach.

The way to apply for postgraduate teacher training in England has changed.

You can now use Apply for teacher training (a link to: a new GOV.UK service. 

Apply for teacher training is easy to use and gives clear guidance to help potential teachers make strong applications.

To learn more about the new service and to get help with your application, visit Get into Teaching (a link to:

Aquila Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Offer

Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust, is offering training places for trainees keen to become outstanding primary teachers who can inspire and motivate children with a joy of learning. We will offer bespoke training in a lead school which is  graded Good or Outstanding, supported by a mentor within the school and an experienced university tutor. You will build relationships with staff and pupils from day 1, gradually building your teaching commitment until you are ready to lead the class for the majority of the week, giving you excellent preparation for your nest step as an early career teacher.


The training is a mix of practical experience in school, including observations of and by key staff and supported academic study. You will be able to select the level of qualification which is accredited by Canterbury Christ Church University. Every successful trainee will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status but you might also opt to complete more academy study and achieve a Post Graduate Certificate in Education or Masters level credits.

We are working with CCCU to devise effective training because we recognise within our Trust, and in education in general, an issue with appointing sufficient high quality newly qualified teachers. As a MAT, we want to train excellent practitioners for all our schools and provide a clear understanding of what is distinctive and different about working in a church school in a multi-faith environment.  We want to retain the best trainees from each cohort and offer a clear pathway of training and support from the first steps into the classroom through to executive leadership.

Within the training, you will specialise in early years, key stage 1 or key stage 2 and pick a curriculum subject which particularly interests you to study in more depth. However, all trainees will have the opportunity to observe and teach in a contrasting key stage so you have a good understanding of the learning before and /or after your chosen year group. You will also teach every subject in the primary curriculum. Subject specialist training days are available at CCCU to develop your interests or to develop areas of weakness.

By clicking through the Aquila website you can see some information about each of our schools and the links to their websites will tell you more. However, there is no guarantee that a particular school will be offering training places, or if they are, that they are not already well advanced in the recruitment process. Should you wish to train in a particular school, please contact them directly before making your application.

If you stay within Aquila, as an early career teacher you will be well supported and have regular focussed meetings with a mentor in school. You will access the training for early career teachers and the additional Aquila training sessions developed from our very successful NQT training. Although you won't be expected to take on leadership of a subject the skills and interests you developed in training will be useful. As you progress in your career, you will take on subject leadership, supported by the Aquila subject leadership networks. There are training opportunities to enhance your leadership skills from middle leadership to senior leadership including nationally recognised qualifications.


Postgraduate school-based routes into teaching (tuition fee)

As the name suggests, the postgraduate school-based routes into teaching (tuition fee) route of study is unpaid; trainees are a CCCU student for the year. They will carry out the qualifications and safeguarding checks. This is a very popular training programme for those students who prefer to spend their postgraduate training year in a school, rather than in the university. Aquila recognises the commitment involved in this training route and always try to offer a full-time teaching position in one of our schools after the training year.

We work closely with Canterbury Christ Church University who certify successful trainees. We also offer bespoke additional training and well-being sessions so you will develop a supportive network of peers in other Aquila schools. You are able to opt for Qualified Teacher Status only through this route but can also add additional study to achieve a PGCE and Masters level credits.


  • Although your training is based in a school, they’re not your employers, and in many ways, your training will be similar to training programmes in universities and colleges.
  • You’ll pay fees but you might be eligible for funding through tuition fee loans, training bursaries, or scholarships. Details of finance and funding can be accessed through CCCU.


Fundamental English and Mathematics Skills

How should ITT providers assure fundamental English and mathematics skills?

Since September, we have continued to work with MillionPlus, UCET, NASBTT, Teaching Schools Council and ITT providers. We have mapped their current recruitment and course content against the required fundamental skills.

The vast majority of ITT providers are covering the fundamental skills already. Providers do not need to cover a topic at interview if candidates already demonstrate the required skills or will be able to develop this skill during the course. There is no expectation to introduce tests or assessments.

Some ITT providers have very innovative approaches to assessing and developing candidates and trainees. These ideas are being shared by providers and representative bodies.

If you have any feedback or ideas, please contact us at:

How will Ofsted inspect fundamental skills?

Ofsted will expect providers to comply with the requirements set out in the ITT criteria:

Ofsted will simply continue to inspect ITT providers’ recruitment and selection of trainees. Inspectors will continue to ask:

  • providers about the processes and procedures in place to recruit and select trainees who are ready to begin training to teach.
  • leaders how they are responding to the needs of individuals and groups of trainees. In particular, how they are adapting the training programme or pastoral arrangements for each new cohort of trainees.

Going forward, inspectors are likely to ask ITT providers how they:

  • identify any gaps in prospective trainees’ fundamental English and mathematics skills, which will not be covered in the course content.
  • support trainees admitted to the training programme(s) who have identified gaps.
  • ensure any identified gaps are filled before course completion.

Ofsted will not expect ITT providers to have any particular recruitment and selection process. Ofsted will not expect evidence about recruitment to be presented in any particular manner.

I would like to thank you for your continuing contribution to this work and the wider work of the Department.

Yours sincerely,
Rachel Hope
Deputy Director, Teacher Services

Information about GCSE Equivalency Tests

CCCU has been running GCSE equivalent tests for students who do not meet the requirements for English, maths and science. However, a decision has been made that they will not be offering these tests in the future. In line with most other universities, CCCU will be using a company called Equivalency Testing. It is hoped that they will be able to arrange test dates at the University and we are liaising with them regarding this.  The main difference is that it will be a more expensive option for students, but it will provide them with a transferrable, nationally recognised qualification. Students will also book the tests through Equivalency Testing (link below). They can do this at any time and do not need to wait until they have been made an offer.

Equivalency Testing

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