School Direct

What is School Direct?

School Direct programmes are popular with students who are hoping to gain a position in their placement school following their training.

You’ll learn as you teach while you work towards qualified teacher status (QTS).

You’ll be based in a school, but you will not be employed by them.

You’ll also be taught by the University of Reading. The University is the awarding body for most of our School Direct PGCE (incl. QTS) programmes.  The University’s website contains comprehensive information and hosts regular meetings to explain School Direct and other routes into initial teacher training.


Subjects for entry in 2022 - 2023 

Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics with Mathematics, Computing, Design and Technology (Product Design), Art and Design, Drama, English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Modern languages (French, German, Spanish), Music,  Physical Education

About us 

Schools in our Institute include selective and non-selective schools.  We are proud of our shared ability to offer high-impact learning experiences to pupils of all abilities and backgrounds.  Our schools have a good record of providing high quality teacher training placements for PGCE students over the years, and we have successfully participated in the School Direct programme since 2013 with many trainees finding employment within their training school.  Learning to teach with us will comprehensively prepare trainees for their future career.

The majority of the training takes place in schools and is generally of a practical, skills-based nature.  Sessions are arranged with in-house specialists in given fields, and each trainee is assigned an experienced subject mentor.  The university balances this with the provision of a rigorous academic element, which enables trainees to reflect on work done in schools.

The University of Reading has a long and highly successful experience of ITT and particularly of working with schools on school-based training programmes.  Initial teacher training courses are based on the belief that education is about active and meaningful learning through which teachers become analytical, creative and receptive to new ideas. The universities work closely with partnership schools, planning and delivering training programmes in collaboration - teaching is practice-led as well as research-led. The universities support us in recruiting the highest-calibre trainees who become excellent teachers at the end of their training.

Subject specialism is at the core of the university-based periods of training. You will work with specialist tutors in your subject, many of whom play a leading role in national research and policy developments. Staff from schools and other organisations (including national subject associations) work closely alongside university staff. You will also benefit from specialist facilities at the universities’ campuses.

Training Locations 2022-23: 

Entry requirements  

  • We would normally expect you to have a 1st, 2:1 or 2:2 honours degree (or equivalent from a university outside the UK). 

  • You will need to have achieved Grade 4 (or C) or above in GCSE Mathematics and English. (Science if you wish to teach primary). 

  • If you studied abroad, please contact to find out if your qualifications meet the standard.

Subject Knowledge Enhancement 

Applicants who are judged to have great potential but who lack sufficient subject knowledge in the subject they apply to train in, may be required to undertake a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course. The length of SKE varies depending on the need of the individual – from eight-week ‘refresher’ or ‘booster’ programmes, through to more extensive 36-week courses. For further details see getintoteaching. To be accepted onto an SKE course, you must first hold a training place offer conditional upon completing an SKE in the subject in which you have applied to train.

Medical fitness (Occupational Health) and disclosure and barring service clearance 

Teacher training providers have a responsibility to ensure that trainees have the health and physical capacity to teach and will not put children and young people at risk of harm. For this reason all applicants will be required to successfully complete occupational health and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced disclosure checks.

All teacher training applicants who are offered a place must be certified as meeting national requirements for physical and mental fitness to teach, as set by the Department for Education.

English language proficiency requirements 

All applicants must demonstrate clear, fluent and accurate written and spoken English.

VISA information 

You need to get the right visa or status to study in the UK(Link opens in new window).

You usually need a confirmed offer on a course to apply for a visa.

Maiden Erlegh Institute does not sponsor visas.


We require two appropriate references.  If you have recently left education, one of your references should be from an academic tutor.  If you are or have been working after completing your degree, one of your references should be from your current or most recent employer. 

What we are looking for...

Potential to teach

We are looking to recruit trainees who have the potential to become outstanding teachers. This will be demonstrated in a number of ways, including:

  • Your specialist subject knowledge
  • Your ability to communicate with enthusiasm about learning and about your subject
  • Your ability to reflect on experiences of working with children and young people in schools or other settings
  • Your knowledge of the school curriculum and current educational issues
  • Your commitment to securing relevant experience and knowledge to support your application.
  • Personal qualities

In addition to an excellent academic background, we are looking for people who have a strong yet considered desire to work with young people, a positive, informed, open outlook, good communication skills, confidence and determination, an ability to relate well to others in a range of circumstances, interests, hobbies, a sense of humour, a lively enquiring mind and a willingness to become fully involved in all aspects of school life.


To help you train to teach, you can apply for a:

  • Tuition fee loan of up to £9,250 to cover your teacher training, so you do not need to pay course fees upfront
  • Maintenance loan of up to £12,382 to help with living costs

You can still apply for a tuition fee and a maintenance loan if you already have a student loan, and regardless of whether you get a bursary or scholarship.

You will only have to make loan repayments once you’re earning. Your repayments will not increase if you already have a student loan and take an additional loan for teacher training.


You may be eligible for a bursary or scholarship when training to teach.

These are tax-free amounts of money you receive to train in certain subjects. You do not need to pay them back.

You’ll need a first, 2:1, 2:2 degree or a PhD or master’s degree to be eligible for a bursary, as well as meeting the bursary scheme’s individual terms and conditions.

Find out more about your eligibility for bursaries(Link opens in new window).



Applicants can search for postgraduate ITT courses for 2022 here.