For those who love their subject and would like to work with young people there is no better career than Classics teaching. Not only does it give you the opportunity to draw on and develop your subject knowledge and communication skills, it also gives you significant responsibility and the freedom to use your imagination and creativity from the moment you enter the classroom. In the words of a trainee who moved into teaching after working for a number of years as an accountant:
"The thing that really made me leave was the fact that it didn’t use all of me, and I wanted something that made me use my creativity, made me think on my feet."
But a successful career in Classics teaching depends on having the thoroughness and professionalism of the training you receive when you start out on teaching. The aim of this part of the site is to provide information on the different routes through training that are available for future Classics teachers.
Initial teacher training: the basics
Every year about around 70 people in England train to become classics teachers.
QTS is Qualified Teacher Status, without which you will be unable to be employed in a state school – except on an unqualified teacher’s salary. Most state schools (and independent schools) prefer a teacher to have QTS. Technically (in England only) state-maintained academies and free schools do not have to employ qualified teachers, although in practice most of them do.
A PGCE is an academic qualification, assessed by a written portfolio of evidence based around theories of education and practice. On a PGCE course, the university which offers the course offers the qualification. On a SCITT which offers the PGCE (not all of them do) an authorised university validates the PGCE on behalf of the training provider. if you wish to teach outside England, you will need a PGCE qualification. The PGCE qualification also allows you credit for a Masters in Education.
SCITTs are School-Centred Initial Teacher Training providers. People interested in gaining Qualified Teacher Status through routes other than the PGCE need to check availability of School Direct (SD) training routes, which are available for a very limited number of places, as advertised on the Department for Education (DfE) website. For more details of what SD and a SCITT is, please see the appropriate page here.
HMC training. For teachers employed in particular HMC independent (private) schools, training can also be arranged through Buckingham University. The Buckingham route very occasionally takes trainees from state schools.
All courses should integrate taught sessions and practical experience in schools. A trainee who completes the course gains Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) which only allows them to teach in Maintained Schools in England. A trainee who completes a PGCE course gains QTS and also a PGCE, which is recognized as a teaching qualification abroad and in Scotland. Some SD courses also offer the PGCE qualification, but you should check the particular course if that is what you want.
In the case of the Cambridge, Kings, Sussex, KEC, Liverpool College, Harris Academies and Pimlico ITT PGCE courses, the providing organisations arrange general lectures and subject specific seminars for trainees, assess written academic assignments, organize school placements, provide mentor training, and observe trainees during their placement.
The traditional PGCE is a full time course lasting 9 months. Part of the course is based in a University Faculty of Education or central training venue, with the rest being based in two complementary school placements. Applicants for the Cambridge and KCL PGCE in Latin with Classics are expected to have recognized qualifications in Latin Language and Literature gained through A-Levels (or equivalent), and / or through units taken in their undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Qualifications in Ancient Greek or Classical Civilization are welcomed, but are not required. If you want to become a teacher of Classical Civilization or Ancient History, you should note that most positions advertised expect a “Classics” teacher to be first and foremost a “Latin” teacher. On the other hand, many teachers of Classical Civilization and Ancient History start out as Modern History teachers. Accordingly, you might like to consider taking a PGCE in Modern History, checking with the ITE provider that there is an element of Ancient History taught in the course and available at one of the school placements.
In the case of the SD and Buckingham PGCE routes the ITE providers arrange core lectures and meetings for trainees, assess written assignments, and observe trainees during their placement. Some SD routes are salaried / employment-based. There are strict qualifications for entry on this sort of course. SD also offers a non-salaried route.
Student loans and grants are available to pay the fees and living costs associated with training to be a teacher in the State sector. Please see the DfE website for further details.
Teachers and potential teachers might also sign up to The Journal of Classics Teaching (JCT) on Facebook, for useful information as well as INSET and training alerts.
PGCE teacher training
All teacher training routes should offer Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) which allows teachers to work in state schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. However, to work in state schools outside England (including abroad), you may need to show you have a PGCE in addition. In Scotland the teaching qualification is called the PGDE. At present (2021) there is no course offered to gain the PGDE in Scotland in Classics / Latin. Schools may accept the PGCE in lieu.
The two main Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) courses are based at The University of Cambridge and King’s College London.
The University of Sussex also offers a PGCE in Latin or Classics.
Buckingham University also operates a PGCE in Classics for teachers in the independent (private) sector, who are already employed in school.
Some School-Centred training courses also offer the PGCE qualification. Please check their course details carefully for details, see below).
The PGCE at Cambridge University
Around 18 places.
The Cambridge PGCE in Latin with Classics prepares all students to teach Latin and Classical Civilization in all types of secondary schools in the UK. It also provides opportunities for students to learn how to teach Ancient Greek and Ancient History. As well as Subject Studies and Faculty-based lectures in Cambridge, trainees are placed in a wide variety of schools in and around Cambridge, East Anglia, Hertfordshire, Essex, the West Midlands and North London.
For more information click here
The PGCE at King's College, London
Around 18 places.
King’s College London offers a PGCE in Latin with Classics covering the teaching of Latin and Classical Civilization, along with Classical Greek and Ancient History.
For more information click here
The PGCE at Sussex University
Around 10 places.
The Sussex University PGCE offers two courses for a limited number of students training in schools in and around the Brighton and Hove area.
The PGCE at Buckingham University
Places are allocated as needed. The (private) University of Buckingham offers a PGCE in Classics which appears only to be open to those already employed in the Private Sector.
SCITTs and School Direct
These are forms of employment-based training. Training is provided in the school and you will be expected to take on a daily timetable from the start. Time each week will be allocated for training and gaining QTS. Some courses provide PGCEs.
SCITTs are School-Centred Initial Teacher Training providers. For Classis / Latin, there are a few providers each year, but they are dependent on local need.
Three SCITTs which regularly provide training for Classics / Latin are King Edward’s Consortium (KEC) (based in Birmingham), Liverpool College ITT, Harris Academies ITT and Pimlico SCITT (both based in London). Note that KEC provides QTS and a PGDipEd (not a PGCE). and offers placements for 2-4 trainees per year. Harris and Pimlico provide QTS and a PGCE validated by a London University.
School Direct is a form of training where an individual school works in partnership with a validating university. You may be the only Classics teacher on the course and share training with teachers of other subjects. Details change from year to year, so keep up to date with positions advertised through the UCAS teacher Training website.