The UK school teaching profession at early years, primary & secondary level attracts people from all educational and age backgrounds that are over 21 years old.
Walk into schools around the UK you’ll see class teachers and heads of departments from 20s to late 60 years old. People change careers in they’re 20s, 30s & 40s moving from working in a private sector business to train and teach at one of the 1000s of UK state or private independent schools.
Mentally & physically capable people are not too old to become a UK school teacher at 60, 50s, 40s or 37 as there’s no official maximum teacher age limit. Early years, primary or secondary education trainees & qualified teachers aged 40s & 50s can, and do get hired by UK schools full time, but some schools will no recruit older teachers.
Older people becoming a school teacher at 40s, 50s & 60s
With no working or education profession age limit for school teachers in the UK at any age level you are free to teach.
School teacher training providers and employers in state and private independent schools allow people in the UK over 21 years old to teach as long as a persons physically & mentally capable.
You’re never too late to become a teacher at 40, 50-55s or lower 60s years old in the UK at school teaching subjects in including demand for geography teachers, maths, computing in Northern Ireland, England & Wales and Scotland.
Both male & female teachers are required from mothers who left a successful career in industry to stay at home with children to male teachers that want to change career including from construction, logistics, medical field or finance.
Nowteach has information and guidance for people that are looking to change career and make the move to teaching at school level.
Indeed, the UK English government encourages older people into the primary & secondary school teaching sectors to share they’re wealth of skills, knowledge & experience.
Teacher training program acceptance
Initial teacher training programs accept trainee teachers from 21 years old for university led training BA, PGDE, PGCE or school direct initial teacher training. Training providers alone decide if a person is suitable to become a school teacher, and age is only one of many considerations including:
- Relevant qualifications to teach and a specific subject degree.
- Subject knowledge you propose to teach and it’s up to date. You could be given a subject test as part of initial teacher training interview.
- Personal traits suitable for a primary school age teaching role or secondary subject teacher age level at 11-18 years old.
When I started a PGCE training course in my 30s people ranged from 21 to two people over 50 years old just starting the initial training year to teach.
At 35-40 years old you’ve 20+ years school teaching career ahead of you if teaching a classroom based subject as it’s not physically demanding.
When becoming a teacher in you’re 40s, 50s or 60s you bring a wealth of work and life experience to teaching in the classroom.
You’ll also be one of the oldest trainee teachers, although that’s not an issue so long as you’re competent and capable for the teaching role.
Funding for UK teacher training
Depending on the subject and age level you could receive a teaching bursary or scholarship as a teacher at an England secondary school. A non repayment teaching bursary is payable at different financial amounts to qualifying teacher trainees according to the secondary school subject you’ll teach.
Funding available also varies slightly for training options for teachers ranging from school direct to university led BA/BSC, PGDE & PGCE postgraduate courses.
England secondary bursary or scholarship subjects:
- Classics with ancient language.
- Design and technology.
- Modern foreign languages.
Teacher training in Scotland can be through university led courses for a PGDE at primary or secondary teaching. Tuition fees are paid by the Scottish Government and a possible teaching bursary is available for certain shortage subjects.
Older secondary & primary teachers getting a job
As the UK is experiencing a shortage of secondary and primary school teachers all prospective 21-60+ suitably trained or trainee teachers are offered interviews or jobs.
Older teachers bring real life experience into the classroom that can be integrated as part of lessons to explain or demonstrate parts of a subject topic.
Also, maybe you have past experience working with children, teacher assistant transferable skills or HLTA to use as an advantage with behaviour for learning strategies in secondary schools.
Teacher challenges when older getting hired
Teachers also face challenges securing a new school job if they have 15-20 years experience as head teachers could see you as out of touch and teaching & learning strategies out of date. Older teachers do get hired in UK, although jobs will be limited for most subjects, excluding shortage areas as you’re likely too expensive to recruit on UPS than a teacher on MPS.
Be mindful though age discrimination in teacher hiring by UK schools may happen although no person will say.
One reason is a head teacher chooses a cheaper option, teacher on M3-4 instead of UPS 2/3. Schools employ teachers they think capable of the job, have a good teaching record or a trainee teacher.
A school headteacher could think employing a younger teacher hoping they’ll stay many years teaching at the school rather than a teacher that’s 50+ with possibly only a few years before retirement.
At interviews older teachers can highlight they can teach more than one subject, are a highly experienced teacher and outstanding teaching record & references.
Physically & mentally capable of teaching
My experience as a secondary teacher full time permanently working 5 days a weeks and taking work home was at times mentally exhausting when I was younger and become older.
As a full-time teacher a teaching timetable means you’ve around 28 lessons per week with possible cover lessons. As long as a teacher is capable of delivering good effective lessons where pupils achieve then an older person can be a school teacher.
Remember, as a primary or secondary teacher you’re expected to be fully prepared for each class with a lesson plan. You’ll also complete marking & create worksheets and be assigned a school duty such as playground monitor.
Almost all UK school subject teachers don’t use a great amount of physical energy while teaching classroom based subjects such as sciences, maths, history or English.
Capable of teaching PE and drama
Limitations exist for UK school teachers of physically demanding & energetic subjects.
When become a secondary physical education teacher in you’re 40s for 11-18 years olds you’ll be teaching ruby, football, basketball and other sports & games which takes a lot of physical execration all day.
A teacher that’s 50-60+ years old you’re not an effective teacher of PE and some of you will not be quick or nimble enough to show how and teach gymnastics exercises.
Physical education school teachers require being supple enough and have enough energy to teach multiple classes each school days and a full timetable each week.
Similarly, drama & dance teachers require being nimble & energetic enough to teach the school curriculum to children aged 11-18 years old.