The difference between PGCE, SCITT and GTP training


To become a newly qualified teacher, it’s necessary to undertake a form of teacher training in the UK with several different options available.

Ultimately, whichever option you pick will act as the first step towards achieving qualified teacher status and hopefully a long career in the education sector.

Once you’re an ECT, you can then complete the induction for newly qualified teachers over a 12-month period, which is designed to bridge the gap between initial teacher training and a career in the classroom.

Here we look at several of the teacher training options available, including the PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education), SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) and GTP (Graduate Teacher Programme).


Also known as a PGDE (postgraduate diploma in education) in Scotland, the PGCE offers a teacher training programme for aspiring primary and secondary school teachers.

As a university-led training option that is typically completed over one-year (or two years if completing part-time), it includes university study time alongside school placements.

You’ll be expected to complete an array of written assignments and to spend time being trained in at least two different school settings.

Usually, you’ll need to complete at least 120 days in a school, combined with group work and university lecture time.

Having completed your PGCE, you’ll gain qualified teacher status in England or Wales, or be provisionally registered with the relevant General Teaching Council in Scotland or Northern Ireland.


An alternative option for those looking to become a newly qualified teacher is to undertake School Centred Initial Teacher Training – a school-led option.

In England, these courses are run by networks of schools that offer teacher training for graduates with the ultimate goal of achieving a recommendation for qualified teacher status.

Lasting a year, the courses provide an abundance of hands-on classroom experience as the majority of the training is delivered by highly experienced teachers.

Numerous SCITT programmes have close ties to universities, meaning it can be possible for you to gain a PGCE/GGDE while also working towards qualified teacher status.

Note that you won’t be paid though if you go for this option – instead you’ll need to apply for funding and grants in a similar way to university trainees.


The Graduate Teacher Programme is a Welsh employment-based scheme that offers a route into teaching whereby graduates learn while working in the classroom.

However, it’s important to note that this year-long course is being replaced by a new scheme from October 2020 – the Salaried PGCE.

Set to be available at both primary and secondary school level, prospective teachers will spend two years working towards a PGCE qualification and qualified teacher standards.

On this teacher training route, you’ll receive a salary to teach as an unqualified teacher for that period.

The scheme is currently administered by Initial Teacher Education and Training (ITET) centres in Wales, with the training programme managed jointly between the school and the ITET provider.

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