School Direct - ITT programmes on UCAS

What is School Direct?

School Direct is a school-led route into teaching leading to qualified teaching status (QTS).  Our programmes also lead to an academic postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) which counts as 60 credits towards a master's degree.  For salaried programmes, a QTS only programme is offered but PGCE may be agreed.

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

Applications for School Direct places at Maiden Erlegh School and at our alliance partners must be made through UCAS Teacher Training.

Find current vacancies on UCAS Teacher Training; search for Berkshire Teaching School Alliance, provider code, 1Y1. 

Subjects for entry in 2017-18:

School Direct Tuition Fee:

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

School Direct Salaried:

Chemistry, Mathematics.

Please note, there are entry requirements for salaried route.

The University of Reading 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.

Why train with us?

The Berkshire Teaching School Alliance  offers School Direct initial teacher training (ITT) programmes in partnership with a group of excellent schools and the University of Reading.  

Tuition fee training programmes will lead to the award of a PGCE by the University of Reading, according to your subject, as well as a recommendation for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by the Department for Education (DfE). The PGCE includes 60 credits at Master’s-level, the equivalent of one third of an MA that you can add to after your PGCE.

Our salaried programmes lead to the award of QTS only.  You would be employed as an unqualified teacher for one year by your main host school who also pay your tuition fees. You may choose to study for PGCE as well by topping up the fees yourself. Please let us know at interview if you wish to do this.

School Direct routes into teaching are fully integrated with the university-led PGCE routes at our partner universities, ensuring high-quality outcomes for all trainees. Students will receive essentially the same training on School Direct PGCE as on a traditional, university-led PGCE.

About us

Maiden Erlegh School, on the Wokingham border with Reading, leads an alliance of schools offering School Direct ITT places.  All our schools offer their pupils a high quality education and have sustained this over a period of time.  Our initial teacher training is supported by the University of Reading Institute of Education, with whom we have long-standing and successful relationships and whose teacher training models are first class.

Schools in our partnership 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 scheme 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 universities balance this with the provision of a rigorous academic element, which enables trainees to reflect on work done in schools.

The close nature of the partnership has a positive benefit in that training can be personalised to the needs of trainees who will find themselves quickly established within their team, with many opportunities to become involved in wider school life. 

Our university partners have 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.

Berkshire Teaching School Alliance partners for School Direct 2018-2019:


Entry requirements – UOR awarded

More information about School Direct and University of Reading may be found on their website:

Entry requirements – All School Direct courses

If you think you have comparable or equivalent qualifications to those specified here, you must obtain a  UK NARIC ‘statement of comparability’ before you apply to us on UCAS as we will ask you to email the statement to us in support of your application.

GCSE requirements

All candidates must have at least grade C in GCSE, or comparable, maths and English language and (for Primary) a science. For School Direct Primary, a GCSE grade C, or equivalent, in a modern language, preferably French, is also desirable.

Applicants who do not hold the required or comparable GCSEs should contact the relevant university before applying, to see whether an equivalency test grade may be acceptable instead. 


Ideally you will have three good A-levels or comparable qualifications which demonstrate some relevance to National Curriculum subjects and, for secondary programmes, one of the three will be a good grade in the subject you wish to teach. 

To train to teach science subjects two of your three A-levels will be sciences and you will have the potential to teach all three sciences.  You may be accepted if you have acquired your science knowledge via another route but you must be able to demonstrate a rigorous depth of knowledge.  

First Degree

You must have a first or second-class UK honours degree, or overseas equivalent.  For secondary programmes your degree will be in a subject that is closely related to that which you intend to teach.   The equivalence of all overseas degrees will be verified through NARIC.

For some secondary programmes, applicants whose degree subject is more loosely related may be considered if they can demonstrate an appropriate academic background and experience in the relevant field.

For modern language programmes, if you do not have a languages degree in the main language you wish to specialise, you will be a native speaker with an element of language study in your degree. You will have spent at least six months in a country where that language is officially spoken, and be able to demonstrate written and spoken fluency.   
We welcome applications for any one or any combination of French, German, Spanish.

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

The University of Reading offers SKE in maths, chemistry, physics, and computer science.

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.

Skills test

All applicants must successfully complete professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy before they can enrol on a programme leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Applicants are given three opportunities to pass the tests but if they fail three times they are required to wait 24 months before retaking. The tests must be taken and passed by 1st August 2018. Information on the skills test can be found at

We suggest you book early to take your tests.


Work experience

School Direct salaried route applicants must demonstrate that they have around three years full-time (or equivalent) work experience after completing their first degree.  For subjects which the DfE have identified as ‘priority subjects’ for 2017-18 entry, the minimum requirement is eighteen months of work experience.

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

All applicants will be subject to these checks but on the salaried route the employing school will be responsible for carrying out the checks rather than the awarding university.

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.

For those offered a place on a Primary or Early Years Initial Teacher Education programme, confirmation will be required that the individual does not live at the same address as someone disqualified from working in a childcare setting.

If you have lived or worked overseas, or been on holiday in a country for more than six months you will also need to obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct from the relevant country/countries.

Further information about the enhanced disclosure check and any related fees that you will need to pay will be provided in the relevant university’s offer letter if your application is successful.

For advice from the University of Reading please contact or phone +44 (0)118 378 2624.

English language proficiency requirements

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

If your first language is not English you will be required to provide recent evidence that your command of English is adequate. This may take the form of substantial education (usually at least 12 months) or work experience (usually at least 18 months), conducted in English in a majority English-speaking country, no more than two years prior to the date of enrolment. Alternatively, applicants may provide an English language qualification recognised by our university partners and awarded not more than two years prior to the date of enrolment.

More details about English language proficiency requirements can be found at:

VISA information

The tuition fee route is suitable for international students on a Tier 4 visa, where study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting in September.  Queries should be addressed to the relevant university admissions office.

On the salaried route, the employing school will check that the applicant has the right to train and work in the UK.  Our schools will not advise or sponsor applicants for visa applications.

If you are a non-EU national, as part of our initial assessment of your application, we may request that you email us a copy of the evidence of your right to work or study in the UK.


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. 

More advice is here:

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. 

How we select our trainees

We shortlist applicants for interview based on our assessment of your UCAS application.  First interviews will be held at Maiden Erlegh School or at the relevant partner school.

Interview days will usually include: tour of the school; written task related to your subject; group discussion on a current issue in education; teaching a 15 minutes lesson with a small group of pupils; a panel interview.  

Specific details are sent prior to interview allowing you time to prepare.  We aim to give you a week’s notice of interview but sometimes it may be less.

You will need to bring with you your original academic certificates, ID documents, UK NARIC statement if relevant.  Salaried route applicants will, in addition, need to provide their original documents with evidence of their right to work in the UK.

Following an interview day in school our preferred applicants are then referred to the relevant partner university for second-stage assessment or second interview. We notify you of this but second interview details and formal, conditional offers will be sent by the relevant university.