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Career Options in Teaching & Education: Student

Undergraduate opportunities in teaching and education

- Teaching work experience

- University schemes

- Peer tutoring

- Volunteering with children and young people

Your university careers service will be able to support you in arranging some work experience at a local school during term time. Time in the school environment and evidence of your interests and abilities in working with children and young people will be very important for your applications for PGCE courses or alternative routes into the profession like Teach First.

But that’s not the only thing you can do. It’s likely that your university will run a number of outreach schemes you could get involved with. For example, if you’re a languages student there may be opportunities to represent your university, going into primary schools to teach your language (s) once or twice a week, or you could give organised tours of the university to groups of school children. Within your department there may also be things like peer mentoring and tutoring, where you’ll help your peers and students in years below you with any problems they are having with their studies, subjects or life at university in general.

If you’re looking for experience in the holidays, you could try applying for work at a summer school in the UK or abroad, or even a summer camp.

Top Tips

If you’re sure you want to apply for a PGCE or a scheme like Teach First, it’s a good idea to get as much experience as you can working in a school and with young people, particularly the target age group you’d like to teach. This will help you to decide if you’re making the right decisions for you. The more experience you can get, the better; so you need to give yourself plenty of time to gather it as possible. A more extensive period of work experience will demonstrate your dedication to the profession in your applications.

In order to be allowed to work with children, you’ll first have to go through a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB check). This can take a number of weeks to be cleared, so try not to leave organising your school work experience until the last minute. Remember, when you’re on university holidays the schools will be closed, so you’ll only be able to get school experience during term time alongside your studies and university timetable.

Deadlines to consider

Try to organise your school work experience early on in the year so that you can fit in as much time as possible working there.

You’ll be able to apply for a PGCE course or Teach First in your final year of university to begin in the autumn straight after you graduate. Be wary that places for primary school PGCEs are very popular and can fill up extremely quickly, so your application through the UCAS application system really needs to be submitted before January. This goes for some popular courses as well and for subjects like English.