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School Direct Training Programme (Primary) PGCE

  • Level(s) of Study: Postgraduate taught
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: One year full-time
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: Clifton Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


Primary teaching at Nottingham Trent University (NTU)

School Direct is a training route which allows you to work and study within a school of your choice while studying towards a postgraduate qualification (PGCE) degree and Qualified Teacher Status.

If you have any questions about our PGCE School Direct Training Programme, you can now chat to our experienced lecturers and course leaders through Unibuddy.

Why choose this course?

This is an innovative training route which allows you to choose the school, or group of schools, in which you train with an intention, but no absolute guarantee, that they will employ you once you successfully graduate. School Direct is run as a partnership between a lead school, other schools in their alliance and an accredited teacher training provider.

We have established successful partnerships with schools to offer both School Direct salaried and non-salaried courses for Primary and Secondary teaching:

  1. The School Direct Training Programme
    This is open to all graduates (including those who expect to complete their first degree prior to the September start date). You will pay tuition fees and may be eligible for student loans, and a bursary or scholarship.
  2. The School Direct Training Programme (salaried)
    This is an employment-based route into teaching for high quality graduates with three or more years' career experience. You will pay tuition fees and be employed as an unqualified teacher by a school who will pay you a salary.

The School Direct route, enables you to work within a school and train in the classroom, supported by qualified teachers and mentors. You will also spend time studying at the University as you progress towards gaining a PGCE and Qualified Teacher Status.

School Direct places are offered by a school or group of schools in partnership with NTU. The schools involved have an excellent history of involvement in teacher training and a long history of supporting trainees to become confident and effective teachers.

View our full list of School Direct places and partners for 2023 entry here.

You can apply to more than one school with School Direct and you apply directly through UCAS. Interview and selection will be conducted by both staff from NTU and from the school.

Primary Level 6 Teacher Apprenticeship

Our Teacher Apprenticeships are available to your employer if they wish to support your development and certification as a qualified teacher through this route. This is funded through the Apprenticeship Levy that your employer pays.

Apprentices experience the same course as our School Direct trainees, beginning with the pre-course induction in the summer preceding the course and continuing throughout your year of working as an unqualified teacher. During this time you will be reflecting on and developing your practice, supported by your study of learning and teaching. You are therefore part of our community of developing teachers, and as such you are supported by our experienced professional academics. In the Autumn term following the course, you will then undertake an End Point Assessment to determine whether you have successfully completed the apprenticeship.

The entry requirements are the same as those for School Direct, and applications are made through UCAS. If you are interested, do get in touch for more information, and do please encourage your employer to get in touch with us.


of PGCE School Direct Training Programme (Primary) graduates were in high-skilled jobs 15 months after completing their studies (Graduate Outcomes Survey 2020/21)

What you’ll study

The School Direct course is a flexible approach to teacher training. The majority of your time will be spent in the school, training in the classroom and supported by experienced teachers and mentors. You will also spend time studying at the University.

At the University you will study for the same award as other postgraduate teacher trainees except that the delivery will have more emphasis on being trained within a school environment and will involve more staff from schools:

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (with 60 credit points at Masters level)
  • Professional Certificate in Education.

Successful completion of the course leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)* and a postgraduate qualification.

You will be a registered student with NTU and your qualification will be an NTU award. This means that NTU has responsibility for the quality of your training and you will benefit from the combined expertise of the University and lead placement school. The exact form of the delivery of the year will depend on the school to which you apply.

* The title of this award is subject to change due to an ongoing government consultation. For the latest information, please visit

This teaching degree's structure is designed to meet the current and developing changes in primary schools in the United Kingdom. The module structure allows sufficient flexibility to address the planned governmental curricular changes, as well as reflect effective research based practice both nationally and internationally. It is vital that the entire primary curriculum is reflected across the course and is supported by a professional studies module and is closely linked to the professional placement. The course structure is designed to support trainees in the early stages of their career as well as providing a lasting support for their future careers.

The course is built around three modules which are closely mapped to the school-based training during the year.

Learning to be a teacher (60 credits)

This module aims to equip you with an understanding and experience of planning, setting high expectations and appropriate targets; monitoring and assessment; and teaching and behaviour management. The module encourages critical reflection through personal development and evaluating professional and research-based resources in order to develop your approach to teaching and learning.

Learning to teach (20 credits)

This module will help you become a teacher who exercises responsibility: for your pupils as individuals and as members of groups within and beyond the school community; and for productive interaction both with professional colleagues including teaching and support staff in school, staff from external agencies and with other adults, including parents and carers.

Learning to teach a subject (40 credits)

Through this module you will develop your understanding of the key concepts relating to education across the range of the subjects taught in the primary school context.

You will reflect upon recent educational research and develop an understanding of what might be considered ‘best practice’ in schools. You will be challenged to develop your professional identity as a critically reflective teacher able to interrogate professional practices and values. This module
is designed to support you in engaging in an independent, professional enquiry; and developing a focus for your own research and in-depth study. It will also support you in becoming an active contributor to the knowledge base of teaching and learning as a research-informed practitioner.

Further information on what you'll study

Professional accreditation

We are accredited by the UK Government's Department for Education as a provider of initial teacher-training courses. Successful completion of the course leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), enabling you to commence a career in teaching as an Early Career Teacher (ECT).

Staff Profiles

Nick Page

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Nick Page lectures on ICT in the Primary PGCE and BA courses in Nottingham Institute of Education.

Paul Waring-Thomas

Principal Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Paul Waring-Thomas is a Principal Lecturer in Nottingham Institute of Education in the School of Social Sciences.

Careers and employability

It is expected that you will continue be employed by the school or group of schools in which you trained, after you gain your teaching qualification. However there is no absolute guarantee of employment once you finish.

You will gain a recommendation for Qualified Teaching Status if you successfully complete the course and therefore can apply to other schools as a Early Career Teacher (ECT) in the event that you are not employed by your training school.

You will work within the school or group of schools to which you applied. You may also be expected to spend time in a range of other key stages, or schools to observe best practice and expand your practical experience.

Campus and facilities

Find out more about our facilities at NTU.

Entry requirements

You will need:

  • A UK honours degree or equivalent, at a minimum 2:2.
  • GCSE English, Mathematics and Science at minimum grade C or equivalent, We accept the GCSE equivalency taken via or Applicants with pending qualifications will be considered.
  • It may strengthen your application to have had some experience in a classroom in a UK mainstream school, setting or college, although this is not an entry requirement. If you do wish to gain some experience prior to your application, you can find out more about how to arrange this online;

Other requirements:

  • An interview with both the training school and NTU is part of the selection process.
  • There is no longer a requirement to complete Department for Education Professional Skills Tests.
  • An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check, and any other safeguarding checks that may be necessary;
  • two references: one academic and one vocational.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

Fees and funding

2023 Course fees

CourseHome (UK students)
School Direct Training Programme£9,250 

As a School Direct trainee, you will be entitled to the same financial support as trainees on other postgraduate teacher training courses.

If you are a UK or EU trainee, you should be eligible for a student loan, maintenance loan and maintenance grant to cover the cost of your study and will only start paying the loans back when you start earning over £21,000 per annum.

You may be eligible to receive a training bursary, dependent on the subject you train for and a degree classification. Find out more at

Alumni Discount

If you've graduated from NTU in the last 5 years, then you may be eligible for a 20% discount on postgraduate courses. As long as you've met the conditions and accepted your offer, the discount is automatically applied at enrolment.

All correspondence prior to this will show the full course fees. Please contact if you have any additional questions or queries. You can view the terms and conditions here.

How to apply

Applications to this course are made through the Department for Education. Click Apply Now at the top of the page to be redirected.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.