School Direct


Train to Teach: School Direct

School Direct is a school-led teacher training course that gives the trainee the chance to learn 'on the job' in a school. The trainee will work as part of the teaching team from day one learning from experienced colleagues and immediately putting their new skills into practice.

The School Direct teacher training course runs for an academic year and leads to qualified teacher status (QTS), a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) and 60 masters-level credits.

Shireland recruits the very best trainees for our schools and, working in partnership with both the University of Warwick and Newman University, provides them with training of the highest quality to equip them to become outstanding teachers.

The programme will prepare you fully for the practical demands of teaching, learning from experienced outstanding teachers and immediately putting your new skills into practice.

For more information Click Here to download a copy of our latest information booklet.

Entry Criteria

1. You have graduated, or are about to graduate from a British university or College of Higher Education with an honours degree of a 2:2 or above. This includes overseas students with a qualification recognised as equivalent to a British honours degree in the above mentioned classifications.

2. A significant proportion of your degree must be in your chosen subject.

3. On application you hold at least Grade C in GCSE English Language and Mathematics (and Science when applying for Primary Training). Other qualifications may be considered for equivalency.

Candidates should have some experience of mainstream UK schools/early years settings to become familiar with the atmosphere and demands of the age phase they are applying for. All applicants are required to have passed the Professional Skills Tests prior to commencement of training.

NB. In relation to any course, should you have left university within the last 5 years, one of your referees MUST be from your university.

Fees and Funding

You will earn a salary of between £16,000 to £21,000 whilst you train depending on the subject. You will be employed as an unqualified teacher by the school on a one year contract, tuition fees will be paid for by the Alliance. You will need to fund the PGCE fee.

University tuition fees are payable by you and you will be able to access the standard financial package of student support available to all students in England.

For high quality trainees, you may be eligible for a tax-free bursary of up to £30,000 whilst you train.

Our Placement Schools

Primary Placement Schools

Barford Primary School - Birmingham

Belle Vue Primary School - Dudley

Brindley Heath Primary School - Staffordshire

Cherry Orchard Primary School - Birmingham

Cradley CofE Primary School - Dudley

Glynne Primary School - Dudley

Hurst Green Primary School - Dudley

Meadows Special School - Sandwell

Pitmaston Primary School - Worcestershire

Shireland Hall Primary Academy - Sandwell

St Margaret’s at Hasbury Primary School - Dudley

Stanley Road Primary School - Worcestershire

Timbertree Primary School - Sandwell

Uplands Manor Primary School - Sandwell

Secondary Placement Schools

Shireland Collegiate Academy - Sandwell

Hillcrest High School - Birmingham

Rockwood Academy - Birmingham

John Henry Newman Catholic College - Birmingham


“I always knew that I would complete my teacher training but with many different routes available, I didn’t know which one would be the right one for me. In 2015 I was working as a Learning Support Assistant in a Worcester primary school when my head teacher approached me about the School Direct pathway into teaching and introduced me to Shireland. Immediately I knew this would be the perfect fit as I wanted to remain in a school environment as much as possible during my training.”

- Abi Taylor, Primary School Direct Graduate 2016

“I chose to become a teacher after working in the finance sector for 15 years; as I was changing career it was important to find the pathway that suited my circumstances and Shireland Collegiate Academy Teaching School provided this for me. The School Direct route could be compared to an apprenticeship with “on-the-job” training, focused school-led learning and the opportunity to study for a PGCE from a leading University. Throughout the training year I was made to feel like a member of the academy staff at all times and therefore I was extremely pleased to obtain a permanent position on the teaching staff. ”

-Adam Grant, Secondary Maths School Direct Graduate 2016

“From a student to a member of staff at Shireland Collegiate Academy. I don't think I will ever leave! After completing my maths degree at Aston university I was lucky enough to work at Shireland Collegiate Academy as a mentor. From this, I knew it was with SCA that I wanted to complete my school direct training year. I was right, the staff were all so supportive, and the students were great to work with. The cpd sessions at the academy alongside the knowledge from the staff at Warwick was exceptional. Three years on at Shireland Collegiate Academy... I have been involved in so much and my career as a maths teacher is growing! I am now in charge of Key Stage 5 and G&T students across the maths department. Shireland Collegiate Academy is a school that will offer you knowledge, support, opportunities and so much more... I would recommend Shireland Collegiate Academy to everyone who has a passion to teach. ”

- Amina Ahmed, Secondary Maths School Direct Graduate 2014

“I joined Shireland in 2014 as part of the Warwick Schools Direct programme with a subject specialism in Design Technology. The training and support from the staff within the academy was, and still is, exceptional; this training and experience, coupled with the support and guidance on a theoretical level from the Warwick University team, lead to me qualify with an outstanding judgment - despite not having previous experience of the education system or having stepped foot in a classroom! Despite being hard work and challenging at times, this was an exceptionally rewarding and enjoyable experience that I would recommend to anybody with an interest in secondary teaching.”

- Tom Bruce, Secondary Design Technology School Direct Graduate 2015

Frequently Asked Questions

What is School Direct?

School Direct is a school lead route into teaching in conjunction with Initial Teacher Training providers, Shireland Teaching School Alliance works closely with both the University of Warwick and Newman University. There are two School Direct routes:

School Direct Training Programme (fee paying)

Open to graduates and funded by tuition fees paid by the trainee, who may receive a bursary dependant on degree classification and/or subject. Trainees are able to access funding via the Student Loans system.

School Direct Training Programme (Salaried)

An employment based route into teaching for high quality graduates with three or more year’s career experience. The trainee is employed as an unqualified teacher by the school on a 1 year contract, tuition fees will be paid by the Alliance/school. The PGCE fee will be funded by the trainee.

In what subjects/phases are you offering training places?

Primary (Limited salaried routes also available)
Art and Design
Computing (salaried route also available)
Design and Technology
Media Studies
Modern Languages (German)
Physical Education
Physics (salaried route also available)
Religious Education

What is the aim of School Direct?

School Direct enables schools and groups of schools to take the lead role in the recruitment and training of trainees who best meet their needs, in the anticipation that those teachers will go on to work in the group of schools where they trained.

What will the training look like?

The training is a blend of theory and practice. You will attend university for regular days during the year giving you strong theoretical foundations and subject knowledge. Your school will give you lots of practical experience and expert support, giving you a solid foundation to build your career. You will be in the classroom from day one so once you have learned something new you can put it straight into practice. You will have an extensive support network with support from university tutors and mentors, mentors within your own school and the Teaching School Director. In addition you will have weekly training with other trainees across the Alliance. You will spend the majority of the year in your host school with a 4 – 6 week second placement in the spring term.

What will I receive at the end of the course?

If you successfully complete the course you will receive Qualified Teacher Status, PGCE and 60 Masters credits.

What will I learn in my weekly training sessions?

The weekly training sessions are designed to offer practical support/hints/tips and ideas on a range of topics which this year have included:

    - Safeguarding and Prevent Strategy

    - Lesson planning

    - Behaviour management

    - Assessment for learning

    - British Values / SMSC

    - Working with EAL students

    - Working with SEN students

    - Primary Learning Environments

    - Parents' Evening

    - Surviving Teaching

    - Resources and Differentiation

    - Primary Numeracy

    - Managing Other Adults

    - Technology in the Classroom

    - Job Applications and Interviews

    - Data and P8

    - Feedback and Marking

    - Dance and Movement

    - Report Writing

    - Dance and Movement

All sessions are delivered by outstanding practitioners, some sessions involve the whole cohort others will be primary or secondary specific.

I’m not a recent graduate. Can I still apply?

Yes, we are looking for both graduates and career changers. Our current trainees have had a variety of different careers and have bought these experiences to the classroom.

How do I apply?

All applications must be made via UCAS. Once your application has been successfully uploaded and your referees have completed the references, your form will be sent by UCAS to the Alliance. Please note that if you graduated within the last five years one of your references must be an academic reference from your university.

What happens if I am shortlisted?

You will be invited to attend a selection day, the structure of which will depend on the phase and subject you have applied for. The day will include a literacy and numeracy test for primary applicants and a literacy test for secondary applicants (this does not replace the Professional Skills Tests). All applicants will be observed working with students and undergo a formal interview. In some instances applicants may be invited to a further interview at their potential host school.

What happens if I am offered a place?

If we feel that you have the potential to make an outstanding teacher we will recommend to the University that you are offered a place. The University will confirm your offer and any conditions via UCAS.

Will I have to take the Professional Skills Tests?

All offers are conditional on passing both the Literacy and Numeracy Skills Tests. It is your responsibility to arrange your tests, the first attempt at each test is usually free whilst subsequent attempts are charged for. It is important to practice the tests online before taking them as you are only allowed 3 attempts in a two year period. No training can commence without passing both tests.

Am I eligible for the programme?

You need a 2:2 or above at degree level from a UK Higher Education Institution, or an equivalent qualification. In terms of GCSE’s you need at least a C in English and Mathematics, although if you wish to teach primary you will also require a C in Science.

When do applications close?

There is no set closing date, we will continue to recruit until all places are full or until we reach the end of the academic year. We advise that you apply as soon as possible.

If selected when would I start?

Depending on the university that you wish to train with the start date may differ:
The University of Warwick has several days of induction during the last two weeks of August.
Newman University has it's induction in July.

Can I defer for a year?

Unfortunately not, we can only take trainees who are ready to start in the September of the academic year for which they have applied.

Can I do part time?

No, all places are full time for 1 year.

If I am not successful first time round can I apply again?

Yes, if you are not successful it may be that gaining further experience will help you submit a successful application in the future.

What happens at the end of the year?

We support candidates who successfully complete the course to find posts as Newly Qualified Teachers both within and outside the Alliance, many candidates secure posts in their host or second placement school.