Applying for School Direct

School Direct is an exciting new training route for top graduates. Your school will have a job in mind just for you when you finish your training.


The School Direct model is a school-led teacher training route, where participating schools recruit and select their own trainees with the expectation that they will then go on to work within the school or cluster/federation of schools in which they were trained, although there is no absolute guarantee of employment.

School Direct places are offered by a school or group of schools in partnership with an accredited teacher training provider.  An applicant can expect to gain placements and training in schools with experience of initial teacher training, including some of the new teaching schools judged as outstanding by Ofsted and which excel at training and developing their staff.

School Direct places are available in some of the best primary and secondary schools across England and programmes generally last for one year. Financial support is available throughout your training. Successful completion of the programme will lead to the award of qualified teacher status (QTS). School Direct programmes may also include a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE)


There are two separate School Direct training options:

The School Direct Salaried is a salaried route to QTS (qualified teacher status). This route is for high calibre graduates with at least 3 years’ work experience.  Trainees are employed as unqualified teachers and receive a salary from their training school(s).

The School Direct Tuition Fee Funded option is for high calibre graduates who wish to gain the PGCE qualification through the IOE while based in school. Trainees pay a tuition fee to the IOE and are eligible for bursaries of up to £20,000.

How to apply

Application for entry in 2014 is through UCAS, which will provide a single admission system for all the main postgraduate routes into teaching.  Applicants will be able to apply from 21st November 2013, with a maximum of 3 choices, covering both PGCE and School Direct via a new, improved system, administered by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

School Direct offers a unique training route to achieving qualified teacher status (QTS) and aims to attract the highest quality candidates

In order to apply for a place on School Direct, you must have:

  • A UK undergraduate degree or a recognised equivalent qualification.
  • A standard equivalent to a grade C in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics.
  • A standard equivalent to a grade C in the GCSE examination in a science subject if you intend to train to teach pupils aged 3–11. A GCSE grade C or above in a science if you are applying to teach at primary level or key stage 2/3 (ages 7–14).

The School Direct Training Programme focuses on developing teaching skills. You should have a strong understanding of the subject you wish to teach before you start training. If your degree subject does not link closely to your chosen teaching subject, it is recommended that you undertake a subject knowledge enhancement course before you begin training.

In addition, all candidates applying for initial teacher training (ITT) courses beginning after 1 July 2013 are required to have passed the literacy and numeracy professional skills tests  before starting teacher training.

School Direct Training Programme (salaried)

If you wish to apply for a place on the School Direct Training Programme (salaried), you are required to have at least three years’ work experience in addition to the eligibility requirements detailed above.

Some schools may accept applications from high-quality graduates with less than three years’ work experience, especially in maths, physics, chemistry, languages and computing. It will be for schools to decide whether they wish to accept applications from candidates with less than three years’ work experience.

Schools will specify which skills and experience are important to them in theirUCAS entry profile and marketing material. This experience may be in any career and does not have to be from an educational setting, but should generally apply to the years following graduation. You should contact your chosen school with any questions regarding your experience.

If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for School Direct, there are alternative teacher training options  available to you.

The funding available to you will depend on which School Direct training route you choose.

School Direct Training Programme (salaried)
You will be paid a salary by the school in which you train. This salary will be in line with the unqualified teacher pay ranges if you are employed by a local authority maintained school, or at the advertised rate at an academy. You will not need to pay fees to cover the cost of your qualified teacher status (QTS) award. You will not be eligible for a training bursary.

School Direct Training Programme
You could be eligible for a tax-free bursary of up to £20,000, depending on the subject you want to teach and the degree class that you hold.

In order to encourage the best people to enter the profession, if you are applying for initial teacher training (ITT) courses beginning in 2013 you will need at least a 2:2 degree to be eligible for a training bursary.

In addition, there is a 25 per cent premium paid on the bursaries of School Direct trainees whose training is based in a school where more than 35 per cent of pupils are eligible for free school meals.

You will need to pay tuition fees to cover the cost of your course. Tuition fees will vary according to the training provider with which your chosen school partners to deliver the programme, but the maximum that can be charged is £9000.

Student finance (School Direct Training Programme only)
All candidates from the EU are eligible for a tuition fee loan. In addition, candidates from the UK can also apply for a means-tested maintenance grant of up to £3,250 and a maintenance loan of up to £5,500 (more if you live away from home and you study in London