How Long After PGCE To Do NQT (And Why)?

Exact Answer: No Real Time Limit

PGCE is an abbreviation used to refer to the Post Graduate Certificate in Education. This degree certificate can be obtained by enrolling for a post-graduation course that makes the individual in question eligible for teaching in the various state schools in the UK. A QTS or Qualified Teacher Status is attributed to any such individual who is able to secure the PGCE.



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NQT on the other hand stands for a Newly Qualified Teacher. Again it’s a teaching distinction and category that is applicable in the UK. The NQT status can be achieved when an individual with QTS has enrolled himself or herself into an induction program.

How Long After PGCE To Do NQT

How Long After PGCE To Do NQT?

According to the norms of the UK educational establishments, after an individual has successfully cleared the PGCE, he or she is fit for teaching. There is no real-time limit on enrolling in the NQT program after the candidate has secured QTS.

Under the current teaching curriculum in the UK, after securing a PGCE, one can enroll in the NQT program right afterward or may delay enrollment. The law actually does not mention the induction course as a prerequisite to a teaching position in the country.

However, this is the standard norm for only the UK. The rules for Wales are quite different. According to the educational curriculum followed in Wales, candidates are given a total of 5 years before their QTS status lapses. They have to complete the NQT course within this stipulated time frame.

Similarly, in the case of Scotland and Northern Ireland, the NQT position requirement does not exist. Legally you are not required to enroll for an NQT program after securing a QTS after your PGCE. One can simply register with the teacher’s council in these countries without investing a year in the NQT program. This implies that to work as a teacher in Northern Ireland and Scotland one does not need to pass the NQT course.

Nonetheless, it is usually recommended that an individual completes his or her NQT course as soon as they attain their QTS certification. This helps keep them up-to-date as well as keeping them prepared for any possible policy changes in the future. Such an approach will help them remain insulated from changes in the educational landscape.
In Summary:

Jurisdiction SectionTime Frame for NQT After PGCE
UKNo real time frame
WalesWithin 5 years of acquiring QTS
Scotland and Northern IrelandNQT not needed

Why Does It Take So Long To Do NQT After PGCE?

PGCE is a course that is deemed absolutely essential for those wishing to get into the teaching profession in the UK. Moreover, it is important for those who want to take up teaching jobs abroad. However, this is not the case with NQT. After securing QTS, one does not always need an induction course to apply for teaching jobs abroad.

The requirement only arises when applying for states- like Wales- that have an upper limit on the NQT program enrollment and qualification. Once you have completed PGCE and acquired a QTS, you are eligible for a lucrative teaching job. This means that most students go on to join the workforce soon after their QTS letter arrives. They usually want to work for a few years before they take the NQT induction course.

The NQT course, as stated, is simply an induction program. It is a training process for new teachers. They learn and gain hands-on experience in the program. This course can be one to two years long. Thus, many candidates who have secured a QTS refrain from joining the course. Moreover, in the UK they are given the leeway of taking the course whenever they want to after completing the PGCE.

Moreover, candidates are also allowed to take refresher classes instead of the NQT to help them bridge the gap. In the case of states like Wales, the education board is strict about the maximum 5-year gap between the two because they emphasize the need to gain on-the-ground training for teachers before they can join institutions and educational establishments as permanent members of the teaching staff.


PGCE is an essential step in the career trajectories of aspiring teachers in the United Kingdom. It is also essential for those seeking teaching opportunities outside the country. Usually, candidates are encouraged to take the NQT induction program soon after they have achieved their QTS after completing the PGCE course. However, there exists a grey area about the requirements as well as time frames for this program.

In the UK, NQT is not absolutely essential for a teacher with QTS. They are encouraged to take the program, however, there is no upper limit to the time duration between clearing PGCE and applying for the NQT program. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, the norms specify no NQT requirements. And finally, in the case of Wales, an upper limit of 5 years is allowed between the two.


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