School Direct is a school-led initial teacher training (ITT) scheme. It is run by a partnership between a lead school, other schools and an accredited teacher training provider.
Training places are allocated to the lead school on behalf of the partnership, usually for 1 year. The lead school has overall responsibility for requesting places from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and for ensuring that the criteria for School Direct are met.
Types of training places and funding
There are 2 types of School Direct training places available.
School Direct (tuition fee) places
These places are open to all graduates and are funded by tuition fees paid by the trainee. Trainees may be eligible for a training bursary or scholarship.
School Direct (salaried) places
These places are aimed mainly at graduates with 3 or more years’ work experience. However, schools can decide to accept applications from people with less work experience to attract high quality candidates in hard to fill subjects. Prospective candidates are expected to be career changers who can bring valuable skills and experience to the teaching profession. This experience does not have to be from an educational setting. For example, experience could have been gained in the financial, engineering or manufacturing sectors.
Accreditation for the Post Graduate Certificate of Education (with Qualified Teacher Status) is awarded by a named university partner. The intention of School Direct is to create a deeper partnership between schools and universities. A lead school works in partnership with a university and other schools, as a group which is referred to as a consortium. Although there are no guarantees, every effort is made to employ School Direct trainees within their consortium, upon successfully gaining QTS.
What does our programme look like?
Ponteland Middle School, as a teaching school is a registered appropriate body able to register NQTs and offer statutory training, and bespoke training. The Lead Practitioner for ITT/SD is Mrs Brett. The Ponteland Partnership Teaching Alliance [PPTA] is closely linked to Northumbria University regarding Schools Direct. Ponteland First School is the hub school for Ponteland Partnership arranging Primary SD; Ponteland Middle supports secondary SD. The PPTA is also closely linked to Newcastle University regarding Primary PGCE and has hosted Science PGCE students from Durham University and MFL PGCE students from Sheffield Hallam University and John Moore University Leeds. The strategic schools have additional arrangements with universities.
What support can I expect to get?
You will be assigned a subject mentor and they will support you throughout the year. You will also receive weekly practical training sessions with a professional mentor in your school. Alongside your work in school, Northumbria University provide support in the form of training days, which will enable you to understand the theory behind teaching. They will also set and mark assignments that you must complete as part of your PGCE.
What are our expectations of you inside the classroom?
You will start off by observing lessons and noting what makes a good teacher and strategies used and gradually you will begin to teach, as and when you are ready. The expectation is that by Christmas you will be doing 40% solo teaching, 50% to February and then 60% to July (supervised by the classroom teacher). This allows you to gain experience with a full range of classes. You will also be placed in a form and work alongside an experienced form tutor in order to gain pastoral experience.
What can I look to gain from School Direct?
If you complete the School Direct training programme successfully you will gain a PGCE with 60 Masters level credits, giving you an advantage should you decide to continue with your studies as an NQT, or later on.
What are the benefits of School Direct?
You can expect lots of support and focused feedback to help you to progress to being an outstanding teacher. The true benefit of School Direct, over the traditional PGCE university based programme, is that you are able to build strong relationships with students and staff over a full academic year, so you can really see the progression of your teaching and the positive impact you have on students at the school. Also, as far as possible, we do try to place you as an NQT within our consortium of schools, when you gain QTS. However, I must be clear and tell you that there is no guarantee of employment.