Information on School Direct and How to Apply

If you are looking at getting into teaching you may have heard of School Direct before but do you know exactly what it is?

School Direct is a teacher training programme that is taught “on the job” which is where this method of teacher training differs from the traditional PGCE route. School Direct training is completed within a school and is an immersive programme that helps trainees gain plenty of workplace experience and build relationships with colleagues; often resulting in getting a job in one of their placement schools at the end of the course.

School Direct placements can sometimes be intense but trainees are normally introduced gradually to teaching full timetables and teaching time is often staggered until the trainee teacher is comfortable leading lessons independently. The course is often run with support of a local university so trainee teachers may receive training days alongside PGCE students. The programme normally lasts for 1 year and results in the individual obtaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) at the end of it.

There are 2 types of School Direct programmes available, Salaried and Non-Salaried:


If you undertake a Non-Salaried School Direct placement then you may be eligible to receive a bursary or scholarship depending on the subject you wish to teach and the degree grade you hold.

Bursaries are available for Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Languages, Computing, Geography, Biology, Classics, English, D&T, History, Music, RE and Primary Maths. Bursaries can be as much as £26,000 for shortage subjects. A full list of bursaries available can be found here.  

Scholarships are also available to gifted individuals that are passionate about their subject and about becoming an inspirational teacher. Scholarships are available in physics, maths, chemistry, computing, languages or geography. To be eligible for a scholarship a trainee will need to hold a 2:1 or above, graduates with a 2:2 could still be eligible though but they would need to demonstrate significant relevant experience. 

Unsalaried placements last from September until June; once the programme has ended, School Direct graduates would be able to start work as qualified teachers before the summer holidays begin. 


In order for aspiring teachers to be eligible for the salaried programme, they will need to have 3 years work experience in addition to holding a degree. The work experience does not need to be in education but ideally be in a role that would support your subject choice. 

School Direct trainees who opt for the salaried route will be paid on the unqualified teacher scale; this scale starts at £16,626 in England and Wales and goes up to £26,295 but there may be some room to negotiate a starting salary with the school depending on your experience and chosen subject.


If you wish to apply for a place on either a salaried or an unsalaried School Direct training course, you will need to do so via UCAS.  You can search and apply for School Direct opportunities here. Vacancies will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so make sure you apply as soon as possible to avoid missing out on opportunities. 

Once you have applied for a programme, schools will conduct interviews and will assess your suitability themselves; this is beneficial to the school as they can make sure that you fit the school culture and it also means you can check that the school is right for you. You will also need to pass a numeracy and literacy skills test prior to starting the course to ensure your core skills are of a good standard. 

For more information about training to become a teacher via School Direct and for some handy application tips check out this article

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