Teach First's Training Programme versus a Postgraduate Certificate in Education

From earning a salary to taking charge of your own classes from day one, our Training Programme offers a different way into teaching.

At Teach First we get our trainees stuck into teaching straightaway, which is different from a PGCE. That might not be right for everyone but it’s a great way to develop quickly.


A traditional PGCE is a one-year postgraduate training course, delivered together by a university and its partner schools. It involves at least 120 days in schools observing classes and teaching some lessons.

A PGCE student isn’t employed in a full-time teaching post until after their training year is complete and they have gained their PGCE, which also includes qualified teacher status (QTS). As part of their course they teach in a number of schools but don’t have sole responsibility for the pupils they teach. 

Our Training Programme

Lasting two years and free to all trainees, our programme puts you in charge in the classroom as soon as the school year starts. What’s more, you’ll be paid a full-time salary and work as a teacher for the entire programme.

The summer before you start you’ll go to our five-week Summer Institute. For four weeks you’ll be based at your assigned university in the area you’ll be teaching. You’ll learn about the theory of teaching, get to know your school and spend time in the classroom. In week five you’ll meet up with all our new trainees for more learning. 

In September, Teach First trainees begin in school teaching a 60% full timetable, rising to 80% in the second year. You’ll spend almost the entire programme in the same school, with some time in contrasting schools to widen your teaching experience. You’ll also work towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) worth 120 credits, double the number of a PGCE, which means you can turn it into a master’s with a third year of part-time study if you want. 

For schools it means the support of their new teacher is shared between them, us and a university tutor. 

It’s worth noting you cannot accept an offer to our Training Programme if you hold an offer for a PGCE course. You would need to decline your PGCE offer before accepting your Teach First offer.

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