United Teaching Blog

teacher training salaried or non salaried-1

Teacher training: salaried or non-salaried?


Updated 12/10/2021

If there’s one thing you should know about postgraduate teacher training, it’s that there’s no shortage of choice when it comes to the type of course you want to do. For example, you can choose whether you want to study for your PGCE in a more academic context (university-led route), or whether you’d prefer to train on the job (school-led route). If you’re applying for a school-led course, you also have the choice between salaried and non-salaried programmes.

Salaried teacher training comes in the form of the School Direct (Salaried) route. On this route, you’ll be officially employed by the school you’re training at on an unqualified teacher’s salary (minimum £18,169, more if you’re teaching in London). This is usually in cases where you’ve got some relevant work experience (preferably at least three years’), and they’re ideal if you’ve already built up a relationship with the school you want to train at.

However, competition for salaried places can be tough depending on which subject you’re applying for. If you want to teach a relatively popular subject such as English or Primary, you may be hard-pressed to gain a salaried place. According to UCAS, over 13,000 applications were made to the School Direct (Salaried) route in 2018-19, but less than 3,000 were placed.

(There are other ways of earning a salary while you train too.)

If you’re looking to teach a subject such as Physics or Maths, you might have better luck getting on the salaried route, as there is greater demand for these teachers. On the other hand, if you want to teach one of these shortage subjects, you might find yourself in a better position on the non-salaried teacher training route.

On the non-salaried (bursary) teacher training route, also known as School Direct (tuition fee) or SCITT, you’re entitled to apply for a student loan to cover your costs, and there are tax-free bursaries available ranging between £10,000 and £24,000 for some secondary subjects. However, if you wanted to teach Primary or English, for example, there are no government bursaries available (although you’ll still be entitled to a student loan).

The other thing to consider is that on the non-salaried route, you’ll be eligible to apply for scholarships awarded by national institutions. If you want to teach Maths, Physics, Computing or Chemistry, you can apply for scholarships worth between £26,000 instead of a bursary.

You can see a full table of scholarships and bursaries here.


At United Teaching, we offer the following:

School Direct (Salaried) route

  • Earn an unqualified teacher’s salary
  • Need at least three years’ work experience
  • Greater competition in popular subjects or subjects without bursaries available
  • Start on up to 80% of a qualified teacher’s timetable

SCITT route (non-salaried)

  • Bursaries available for some subjects
  • Pay tuition fees
  • Eligible for student loans
  • Start on around 30% of a qualified teacher’s timetable


(Paying for childcare? Use this calculator to find out what support you’ll be entitled to)


We appreciate it can be confusing, so if you’re still not sure what to do, just get in touch with us and we’ll happily advise you.

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