The issue of employing unqualified teachers is one that has caused significant debate. Although the majority of teachers in state schools have obtained qualified teacher status (QTS), through legislation that was introduced in September 2012, schools do have the freedom to employ teachers who are not formally qualified.

Such people in teaching jobs are employed on the basis of them having the precise skills, attributes or experience that a school is looking for.

Unqualified teacher jobs.

Unqualified teacher jobs are usually available in practical subjects like:

  • music
  • sports
  • arts

These more ‘hands-on’ subjects often require a talented, experienced practitioner who can lead and inspire pupils, and owing to their specialist nature, a specialist or professional who isn’t a qualified teacher can sometimes be better suited.

Science employs the largest number of formally qualified teachers, whereas modern languages is the area that is most flexible with employing unqualified teachers, owing to language fluency, skills and experience taking precedence over actual teaching qualifications.

Graduate Teacher Programmes also enable unqualified teachers to teach pupils as part of their training programme. ‘Teach First’, for example, is a programme that allows trainee teachers to gain experience working in a classroom, learning on the job.

In 2017, there were 423,900 qualified teachers in schools, compared to 16,100 without QTS (source: DfE School Workforce Census). Although the number of unqualified teachers is significantly fewer, it does show that there are plenty of opportunities available for those who have a passion for teaching, but have not achieved the usual teaching qualifications. Teachers who have qualified in other countries or those who have experience of teaching abroad would also be considered to be unqualified teachers in this country.

Teaching assistant opportunities.

Teaching assistants also fall into this category, and schools similarly have the freedom to employ an individual based on their experience or abilities in these roles. In 2017, there were 219,800 TAs in schools. Although the majority of teaching assistant have undergone training, there are plenty of opportunities available for those who do not have it. Experience is important for teaching assistants, and if you can show that you have spent time in a classroom environment on a voluntary basis it is all taken into consideration as highly relevant work experience. Nurseries sometimes employ unqualified staff to work as nursery teaching assistants, since demonstrating a passion for working with young people can be considered to be as important as qualifications.

However, even without teaching qualifications, potential employees do need to demonstrate that they have relevant skills; some experience of working with children is preferable, and they will undergo background and reference checks to prove that they are capable of working safely in a nursery or teaching environment.

How to find a job.

Academy schools are the most flexible for employing unqualified teachers because the last government suggested that the most qualified person is not always the most capable. Pupils could potentially be missing out on learning from an inspirational and talented teacher primarily because they do not have a formal qualification.

Opportunities are also widely available to recent University graduates who are aspiring teachers. The completion of a degree evidences than an individual is academic, disciplined and hardworking: all attributes that schools are looking for in their staff members.

Well-paid positions are advertised for graduates of mathematics who have achieved a degree at 2:1 or above, enabling aspiring teachers to put their learning to use and offering them the experience of teaching pupils. It is good for graduates with excellent results to know that opportunities like these are available and that they do not have to go through rigorous training programmes before they can have the chance to teach and earn a salary.

The majority of unqualified teaching opportunities are based in academies and positions in subjects such as mathematics, geography, physical education, music, languages, design and technology offer a fantastic platform for aspiring teachers to gain practical experience on the job while earning. It’s an ideal opportunity to fast-track straight into employment if teaching is a career path you would like to pursue.

The internet is a great tool for searching for potential unqualified teacher jobs and since schools are always looking for enthusiastic staff with specialist skills and expertise, or a passion for helping students, you will find a range of job opportunities for unqualified teachers.