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School Direct Frequently Asked Questions

What is School Direct?

School Direct courses let you train become a newly qualified teacher (NQT) in the classroom.  The courses are  designed by groups of schools — working with a university —  which recruit you as a trainee onto their School Direct course. This is a popular choice for those who hope to secure a role in the network of schools where they train.

We offer both salaried School Direct and unsalaried School Direct programmes.

How long does it last?

School Direct courses last a year, and you’ll train in at least two good schools.

Do I get paid?

If you’re a graduate and have been working for around three years in any career,  salaried  courses are available for you.  With this option, you’ll earn a salary during your training. Schools recruit you as a trainee with the strong possibility of a position as Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) if you are successful.  The UCAS application forms call this School Direct (salaried).
If you have recently graduated and do not yet have work experience, you can apply for an unsalaried School Direct training programme(the UCAS application forms call this the School Direct training programme)


What will I get at the end?

Our School Direct (salaried) course will result in qualified teacher status (QTS).  Our School Direct training programme will give you QTS and a PGCE.

What university do you work with?

We work alongside The University of East London (UEL) and Goldsmiths University, London 

Is School Direct the same as Teach First?

School Direct is different from Teach First – Teach First trains 2,000 outstanding graduates in selected challenging schools and you apply directly to Teach First. School Direct has around 17,500 places available in schools of all types across the country. You apply for School Direct through UCAS Teacher Training.

How do I apply for School Direct?

Firstly, you need to make sure you meet the eligibility criteria:

For a primary programme, you will need GCSE (or equivalent) of C or above in Maths, English and Science. Trainees must have either a 2:2, 2:1 or first-class honours degree to apply.

For a secondary programme, the same as above applies with the exception of Science GCSE. But it is highly recommended that you have a degree in a subject closely related to the subject that you wish to teach.  You may eligible for a funded subject knowledge enhancement course if you need to strengthen your subject expertise.

You will also need to pass a Numeracy and Literacy Skills test before starting the course. Ideally you will have passed this prior to applying, but if you are successful at interview, you may be able to take it by an agreed date.  This will be part of your conditional offer.

Once you are ready to apply, go here to search for training programmes available.

You can start applying from 27th October 2015

What are skills tests?

Before you can take up your place you have to pass a numeracy  test and a  literacy test. The tests are computerised and can be taken at Learndirect skills test approved test centres throughout the UK -  you can book here

The skills tests:

  • are in addition to the GCSE grade C equivalence entry requirement.
  • Your first attempt is free of charge, but any resits will cost £19.25 each.
  • If you fail the tests three times, you will have to wait 24 months until you can take them again.

You can find more information about the skills tests in the context of teacher training via the Get into Teaching web site.

What happens once I apply?

If you fit the profile of the school you're applying for you will be offered an interview. 

Whitefield and the alliance schools have 40 working days to make a decision about your application. 'Working days' excludes weekends, holidays and UCAS' long Christmas break. If you’ve made a change to the provider you are applying to within the seven days allowed, your 40 working days will start from when you made the change. We'd hope to get back to you before 40 days though.

If you aren't initially successful, you get a chance to reapply later in the year in a process called 'Apply 2'. This opens on 9th November 2015.

What kind of decisions might I get back?

  • Unconditional offer: Congratulations. you’ve got a firm offer of a place on this programme. You’ll only get this if you have met at least all the academic requirements in full. You may still have to meet some non-academic requirements, like a Disclosure and Barring check.
  • Conditional offer: you have an offer of a place on this programme, as long as you meet some conditions.  We'll tell you what these conditions are — you may be waiting for the results of your degree or of the professional skills tests. If you meet the conditions of your offer, your place will be confirmed with that training provider.
  • Withdraw: You'll only get this if you don’t attend the interview or don’t reply to correspondence. This means your application won’t be considered further. If you want to be considered again you'll have to make a fresh application in Apply 2.
  • Reject: Sorry, your application has been unsuccessful. We'll give you reasons.
  • Not qualified in English, maths or science: this may mean that you do not have a GCSE at a high enough grade in one or more of these subjects and won’t be able to achieve it before the programme begins. It might mean that the qualification you hold in one or more of these subjects is not considered to be the equivalent of a GCSE.

When I apply, what ‘code’ do I use’?

Don't worry too much about the code - just search under Whitefield Teaching School Alliance and you'll be able to see all our open vacancies.

We wish you the best of luck with your application. If you have any problems or further questions, please feel free to contact Louise Langsworthy at