Insight Into Teaching | The Careers Service Insight Into Teaching – Oxford University Careers Service
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About the programme

Insight Into Teaching provides students with the opportunity to spend a few days in a local school with a full programme of lesson observation, perhaps a chance to try out some teaching and join in with activities, and a session of reflection and feedback. If you are thinking about a career in teaching then spending time in school is extremely important, not only to help you to decide whether teaching is for you, but also to enhance your teacher training application – whether you are considering a PGCE, School Direct, Teach First or another route into teaching.

Feedback from past participants

‘Was placed with a brilliant teacher who was really inspiring. Really enjoyed the opportunity to talk to an NQT about what teaching is like.’

– Maths, St Gregory’s the Great School

‘I found it really interesting observing lessons and useful to watch different teaching styles and feel like I gained a lot from it.’

– Geography, Wood Green School

‘The teachers were very willing to talk to me about what they did and gave me more insights than I can list. I was surprised at how many did other things before teaching.’

– Maths, Magdalen College School

‘It was a fantastic experience and I feel like I can now make much more informed decisions about what I want to do after university.’

– Music, Matthew Arnold School

How to apply

Insight into Teaching runs in Hilary and Trinity terms each year. Applications open in 1st week of the relevant term and close on Monday of 6th week prior to placements taking place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of 9th week of term.

To apply (when applications are open) login to CareerConnect, and go to “Internship Office & Skills Programmes”, click “Search and Apply” and select “Insight into Teaching” for the relevant term from the list of programmes.

Successful applicants are allocated to schools on a first-come, first-served basis, until the closing date of Monday of 6th week. You are advised to apply early (particularly for popular subjects such as History and English) to avoid disappointment.

Any current matriculated student of Oxford University is welcome to apply.

If you are a research staff member please contact us ask about availability.

After applying
  • Your application will be reviewed by the Careers Service. If we have any questions about your application we’ll get in touch with you.
  • We’ll let you know as soon as we can whether we can offer you a place on the programme, and let you know which school.
  • Once you have confirmed that you would like to take up the place we’ll let the school have a copy of your application form. They will then contact you directly to finalise the arrangements for your placement.
  • All participants attend a pre-placement seminar at the Careers Service.
  • Please contact us if you have questions about Insight into Teaching.

Child protection policy

Please note that participating schools are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.  In accordance with their Child Protection Policy we are unable to process applications without a fully completed application form. Schools may obtain List 99 clearance (a police check) on successful applicants.


Who is eligible to apply?

Any current, matriculated University of Oxford student (undergraduate or postgraduate) may apply.

If you are a research staff member please contact us ask about availability.

How will applications be assessed?

Applications will be considered in the order in which they were received (i.e. first-come, first-served) on a rolling-basis until the closing date on Wednesday of 6th week. We will review the statement included in your application form, so we encourage you to explain your reasons for wanting to participate in the programme, as well as any intentions you have for pursuing a teaching career. We encourage you to apply even if you are unsure whether or not teaching is for you – experience in schools is one of the best ways to help you decide!

Is accommodation provided?

We are unable to provide accommodation during your placement. As many colleges require students to vacate their rooms at the end of 8th week, we suggest that you approach your college for a vacation extension as soon as you apply to Insight Into Teaching. Do not wait until your placement has been confirmed. You may also specify alternative locations outside of Oxfordshire, if you would prefer a placement close to your home address. We will do our best to find you a placement within a reasonable travelling time from your location.

Will my travel or food expenses be reimbursed?

We are currently unable to reimburse any expenses you incur as part of the placement, although we are reviewing this for future repeats of the Insight Into Teaching programme.

On what days will the placement take place?

Your placement will be from Tuesday until Thursday (inclusive) in 9th week of term. You must ensure you are available on all three of these days.

Will there be an opportunity to gain teaching experience?

Insight Into Teaching is primarily a work shadowing programme (see here for different types of work experience). Some schools may offer the opportunity to teach a lesson, but this is not guaranteed and will ultimately be up to the department and the teachers you observe. Full details of the programme will be outlined at the compulsory pre-placement seminar. If you are specifically interested in pursuing teaching and education related positions, make an appointment to see Abby Evans or Rachel Bray, our Careers Advisers specialising in the education sector, to discuss your options.

I have applied to the programme previously. Can I re-apply?

You may re-apply to Insight Into Teaching whether or not you were previously accepted on to the programme. However, if you have previously participated in Insight Into Teaching, there may be other teaching experience that would be more beneficial in order to give you a wide range of teaching experience. Make an appointment to see a Careers Adviser or see our career briefing on Teaching in Schools.

I am unable to attend the compulsory pre-placement seminar.

We have an arrangement with our partner schools to meet all the students we place with them. Therefore it is important that if you will be unable to attend the pre-placement seminar, you contact us to make alternative arrangements.

My question is not answered here!

If you cannot find the answer to your question, please email us.

Other ways to get teaching experience

If you want to build up your teaching experience or simply need to organise some lesson observation please read the ‘How do I get experience’ section of our Teaching in Schools webpage. In addition, you may like to read more about the Oxford City Learning partnership as they work with the majority of Oxford city state schools. You can contact them to find out more here:

There are a number of partnerships, similar to Oxford City Learning, in regions across the UK that provide School Direct places and who may offer you the opportunity to build experience. It is worth doing your research to find school partnerships for both the state and independent sector, to avoid emailing a high volume of schools individually. Other examples include United Teaching who work with 39 schools and academies nationwide and the Gloucestershire Initial Teacher Education Partnership.

This information was last updated on 09 January 2018.
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Recent blogs about Insight Into Teaching

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Blogged by Rachel Ruscombe-King on March 20, 2018.

The momentum of the Summer Internship Programme continues apace, with more than 70 internships currently being advertised exclusively to Oxford students in our first ‘late batch’ of internship applications. Students may apply to an unlimited number of ‘late’ internships with a deadline of April 9 2018.

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Arts and Heritage



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Pondering Periodicals: Print Publishing Beyond the Book

Posted on behalf of Society of Young Publishers (SYP). Blogged by Julia Hilton on March 19, 2018.

In the world of publishing, the book is king—or is it? Join us on Tuesday 20 March at The Old Firestation, 6:30pm, to find out more about the broader field of print publishing, from academic journals to popular magazines: our exciting panel of speakers includes Sarah Williams, Editor of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine, Grace Ranola, Associate Publisher of Law, Humanities, and Social Sciences journals at Oxford University Press, and Laura Silverman, Editor of illustrated literary magazine, Popshot. With a Q&A format encouraging questions on how print publishing works beyond Oxford’s academic book scene, and how to get into and succeed in the industry, it’s set to be a fun and informative evening, as well as a chance to meet and network with fellow publishing students and professionals.

Free for SYP members; £2 for non-members

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Sarah got into magazine publishing after ranting about apostrophes in a pub with a sub-editor from Official Playstation Magazine in her early 20s. Her passion for grammar got her her first job in magazines working on InternetWorks at Future Publishing. She moved on to Windows XP Magazine when it launched and then Origin Publishing as part of the launch team for Living History Magazine. When Origin was acquired by BBC Magazines she became deputy editor of BBC History before launching Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine in 2007.

Grace Ranola, Associate Publisher of Law, Humanities, and Social Sciences journals at Oxford University Press

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We hope to see you there!

If you have any access-related queries or issues, please do contact us on Twitter (@SYP_Oxford) or email at


Easter Closure and Careers Advice during the vacation

Blogged by Karan Karasinska on March 15, 2018.

The Careers Service will be closed for Easter from Thursday 29 March until Monday 2 April, reopening on Tuesday 3 April. Apart from these days, you can come in to have a 1:1 discussion with a Careers Adviser as normal; our advice appointments are available to book on CareerConnect. However, if you are not in Oxford during the vacation, you can still get careers advice!

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Your career is not predestined by your degree choice

Posted on behalf of Lazard. Blogged by Julia Hilton on March 14, 2018.

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Jimena Nowack, BA History of Art, Christ Church College 2016

A little about me…

I was born in Spain, and I have lived in Buenos Aires, Madrid and the US. Lazard has been my first full-time job and I couldn’t recommend it more: both for Humanities and Sciences students. My background in the Arts is certainly not the most conventional route to a career in investment banking, however, I have never felt any impediment during the selection process, in my day-to-day job or with my future career progression.

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During my second year at University, I started to consider what I wanted to pursue after university and potential jobs and careers. In my mind, I was destined for a career in the art world, because it made the most sense with my choice of degree. I applied for a summer internship at an auction house and although it was a valuable experience, I realised I wanted a far more challenging day-to-day role with a steeper learning curve and one that was in steady pace with what was happening around the world. During my final year of university, I applied to investment banking graduate roles. I decided not to apply to bulge-bracket firms as I realised from my experience at university that I preferred a smaller, more collegiate environment. One where I could exercise a bit more creativity and is more personalised where everyone is known by their name and their ideas.

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What advice would you give to students considering a career in Financial Advisory?

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