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School Experience

It is important to have a realistic awareness of the demands of the profession you are seeking to join, otherwise you might start the training and pull out when you realise that the role of a teacher is not at all what you expected. 

We therefore require candidates to demonstrate a realistic understanding of the role of a teacher and an awareness of current issues facing the profession. Please note that spending a couple of days observing relevant lessons in a state primary school can very much strengthen your application and may be extremely helpful to support your interview answers but we understand this can be hard to arrange and we would not reject a candidate on their lack of observational school experience if their application was otherwise good. 

For those applying for salaried primary programmes, be aware that many teaching assistants apply with substantial experience.

For anyone applying for a programme at a special needs school, experience of children with special needs would be a significant advantage.


You need to be aware that schools are inundated with requests for observational experience and providing such experience takes up staff time.  It doesn't matter if you get experience in a school you are applying to or elsewhere, however:

You are more likely to get a response if you target schools who have vacancies for teacher training in the subject that you are interested in.  You should read the details about the vacancy that they have and then email the school.  Your email should make clear that you are aware that they are trying to fill a teacher training vacancy and that you have read the course details.  You should ask for your email to be forwarded to whomever at the school is dealing with this vacancy.  Then you could ask if it would be OK to come in for a day to observe lessons.  Your email could make very brief reference to your degree (and the grade you achieved) and whether you already meet the GCSE requirements or if you are taking equivalency tests.  This would show you to be a serious potential applicant.

The DfE School Experience Programme (SEP)

You should also be aware of the DfE’s School Experience Programme. This is a portal where some schools upload available dates for giving candidates school experience. So long as you have registered on the DfE’s Get Into Teaching website, you can book experience days through the SEP for many subjects. See more information through the following link: