School Direct

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. 

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

Subjects for entry in 2021 - 2022: 

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,  Primary.

About us 

Schools in our alliance 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 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.

Berkshire Teaching School Alliance partners for School Direct 2021 - 2022: 

Entry requirements – School Direct 

  • 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 also need to have achieved Grade 4 (or C) or above in GCSE Mathematics, English Language and a Science subject (or equivalent qualification).

  • If you studied abroad and you think you have comparable or equivalent qualifications specified here, you must obtain a UK NARIC statement of comparability, before you apply.
  • Modern languages: 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.   

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.

If your first language is not English you will be required to provide recent evidence that your command of English is adequate.

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.

Berkshire Teaching School Alliance do not sponor 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.


Bursaries and scholarships are available to trainees on tuition fee-based teacher training courses in England that lead to the award of qualified teacher status (QTS).

Receiving a bursary or scholarship depends on:

  • highest relevant academic award
  • ITT subject

Trainees are only eligible for a bursary or scholarship if they’re entitled to support under the student finance criteria. Trainees from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland should read Studying in the UK: guidance for EU students.

Applicants with a degree from outside the UK can contact Get into Teaching or their chosen training provider for more advice.

Trainees cannot receive both a scholarship and a bursary.


Applicants can search for postgraduate ITT courses for 2021 at this link:

Berkshire Teaching School Alliance, provider code, 1Y1