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School Direct Training Programme (Secondary) PGCE

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


Secondary 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.

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.

Secondary 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 (Secondary Maths) 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 being 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

Modular structure

This secondary PGCE teaching degree is based around five modules which are core to all trainees. Despite this the course is designed to be flexible, allowing you to undertake some credit-bearing modules at either level 6 or masters level, allowing you a significant amount of choice in identifying the focus of your study within modules in order to meet your own development needs and appropriate to the context of your professional practice placements.

Trainees on the courses will complete 120 credit-points full-time over a school academic year. This spreads their total study hours over a longer period that that of a university academic year. Additionally, the professional focus of the courses will mean that much learning will take place in schools.

The curriculum has been organised so that you will gain substantial support for the study of all modules at the start of the course through front-loaded University-based sessions, before your placements begin. The Learning and Teaching in the Subject module will largely be completed in this period, meaning that you will have clarity about academic expectations and your tutors will have an insight into required support. The other modules will be completed at different stages during the year to ensure both reasonable workload and to allow for the progressive impact of the Learning and Teaching in the Subject and Learning and Teaching in the Wider Context modules (underpinned by the Skills of Enquiry module which is assessed across these two modules) on the Secondary Education Independent Study and Secondary Professional Practice modules which run right until the end of the courses.

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. It 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. It also promotes productive interaction, 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 1 & 2 (2 x 20 credits)

Through these two related modules you will develop your understanding of the key concepts relating to education in your subject. You will reflect upon recent educational research and develop an understanding of what might be considered ‘best practice’ in schools. Each module encourages you to develop professional identity as a critically reflective teacher, able to interrogate professional practices and values. All four modules lay the foundation for your entry into the profession as an active contributor to the knowledge base of teaching and learning, enabling you to take responsibility for your continuing professional development.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

Tom Clarke

Secondary Computer Science with ICT

I have benefited from NTU's links with schools by having two contrasting placements.

Staff Profiles

John Carroll

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

John Carroll

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 an 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

Entry requirements

You will need:
  • A UK honours degree or equivalent with a 2:2 - at least 50% of which is in the subject you wish to teach or in a closely related subject.
  • GCSE English and Mathematics at minimum grade C or equivalent, We accept the GCSE equivalency taken via or Applicants with pending qualifications will be considered.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service and Prohibition Order checks and a satisfactory health check passed prior to enrolling.
  • Two references - one academic and one vocational.
  • An interview with both the training school and NTU is part of the selection process.

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.

In exceptional circumstances applicants may be considered who do not have a strong degree match, but who have other relevant qualifications, including an A-level in the subject and extensive professional experience. We do not accept Ordinary degrees. The key consideration is if you are able to demonstrate knowledge of the subject that is commensurate with graduate level understanding.

There is no longer a requirement to complete Department for Education Professional Skills Tests.

After interview, strong candidates who are not able to demonstrate graduate level subject knowledge may be offered a place on the course, dependent on successfully completing a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course in that subject prior to commencing their teacher training year. For further information about our SKE courses, see our website.

If necessary, you can take a relevant GCSE as a private candidate. Find out how to do this on the AQA's website.

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.

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.