Obtaining school experience is not an entry requirement for teacher training courses like the PGCE but having some experience in a school can help you decide if teaching is the right career for you and could help to strengthen your application regardless of which route you choose.

How Much Experience Do I Need?

Check with the providers themselves. Most are keen on “recent experience” –which usually means experience gained in the last 2/3 years. As a general rule, the more experience you’ve got in a variety of UK state schools, the stronger candidate you will be.

Does Experience in Other Settings Count?


The best experience is most closely-related to what you want to teach. For example if you’re looking to teach secondary History it would be great to have observed some secondary History lessons in a school.

Other experience, e.g. being a scout leader, teaching English abroad, doing some private tutoring, would all count as great additional experience and would definitely be worth referring to on your personal statement.

Do I Need a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check?

Some schools may allow you to come and observe lessons without a DBS check if you aren’t going to be left alone with pupils at any stage. However, many require a DBS from all visitors as a matter of policy – so try not to leave things until the last minute as these can take four weeks or more to complete: GOV | Disclosure and Barring Service

How Can I Arrange School Experience?


Contact the government’s Teaching Line to register your interest in teaching and ask for help with finding work experience: GOV | Get Into Teaching, have an on-line chat or call 0800 389 2500.

The Teaching Line staff will tell you about the Get School Experience Service. They help arrange school observation days.
Find out more on: GOV | Get Into Teaching.


Many paid schemes are springing up, often through education recruitment agencies to give graduates a chance to try teaching. Some examples: i-teachers step into teaching programme, also Teaching Personnel who have a graduate teaching assistant scheme.

Check our vacancy site: https://mycareerhub.mmu.ac.uk for more.

Exploit Any Connections You Have!

To find work experience most quickly use your connections – approach schools where you have previously studied, or speak to teachers you already know or friends of friends who work in education.

Contact Schools Directly to Arrange Your Own Experience:

Have a look at the government site to get more tips:


https://get-information-schools.service.gov.uk/ is a database of schools in England and Wales you can use to find schools.

You will need to approach this search in an organised and professional way, and may find that you need to contact a number of different schools before you have any success. Don't just send enquiries off to generic contact email addresses - telephone or visit the school and ask who would be best to contact as this varies from one school to another. Going in in person is often a good way to speed up the process! Schools are very busy places and tend to be inundated with work experience requests, so they may not always reply immediately, or at all if you just email.

Schools involved in the School Direct scheme should be more open to offering work experience – search the teacher training database for lead schools: https://www.gov.uk/find-postgraduate-teacher-training-courses. Locally, have a look at teachnorthwest.com, which lists some local School Direct partnerships and can also be used by applicants to try and source work experience. If you’re applying for University-led PGCE courses it may be worth contacting the teaching course leaders to see if they can offer any help.

Gain Experience Through Volunteering:

If you are not on a tight deadline, this can be a very good way of gaining experience in schools. 



Gain Experience Through Paid Employment Opportunities:

Third Term Project: Aspiring Teachers Programme at MMU

If you’re interested in applying for teacher training MMU’s Aspiring Teachers Programme provides work experience. This has limited places but aims to give MMU students assistance with applying to our programmes and experience in a school. 


Careers and Employability Support

The Careers and Employability Service offers a range of support to Manchester Met students and graduates:

Detailed Careers Guides
: Our full range of careers guides, including information on finding and applying for work and further study opportunities are available on our website.

Ask a Careers Question Online: Get online advice through My Career Hub, ask your question at any time and receive support via email.

Careers Consultant Appointments: Book a 30 minute appointment to discuss working or studying abroad with a Careers and Employability Consultant.

Careers Events: Meet employers and enhance your employability by attending our workshops, employer events and careers fairs.


Careers and Employability Support

We offer range of support services to Manchester Met students and graduates:

For more information visit mmu.ac.uk/careers