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School-led teacher training

A teacher sat talking to pupils
A school-led training course gives you the chance to learn 'on the job' in a school. You work as part of the teaching team from day one – similar to student medics in hospitals – learning from experienced, practising colleagues and immediately putting your new skills into practice.

School-led teacher training courses generally last a year and all lead to qualified teacher status (QTS). Most school-led courses result in a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) and/or master's-level credits on successful completion.

We are often asked questions about school-led training, and there are some misconceptions that arise frequently. Have a look at our myth-busting page to find out more.

What is a PGCE?

A PGCE involves a course of academic study that results in a professional academic qualification. It is normally a year-long full-time course (or up to two years part-time) that, when combined with a programme leading to QTS, develops your understanding of the theory of education and teaching methods. A PGCE is available through both school-led and university-led training courses – check UCAS Teacher Training for individual courses

School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT)

Schools are taking on more control of teacher training. Those that have been given Government approval to run their own training are called SCITTs. They provide practical, hands-on teacher training delivered by experienced, practising teachers based in their own school or at a school in their network.

All SCITT courses generally last a year and result in QTS. Many also award a PGCE from a university.

"Gaining practical, hands-on experience from the outset was for me the best way to learn. I also benefited enormously from being taught by experienced teachers, rather than academics."
Sarah Bower, SCITT trainee

Read how a SCITT course helped Sarah Fisher prepare for her rapid career progression

School Direct

Watch teachers and current trainees talking about the support you receive on a School Direct course.

Many SCITTs also run School Direct courses. This is a popular choice for those who hope to secure a role in the network of schools where they train. If you’re successful in your training, you might get a job in one of the schools when you qualify.

Just like SCITT courses, with School Direct you get practical, hands-on training and education based in good schools across the country. School Direct courses are designed by groups of schools – with a university or a SCITT – based on the skills they are looking for in a newly qualified teacher (NQT). The schools recruit you as a trainee onto their School Direct course with a job in mind just for you.

School Direct courses generally last a year and all result in QTS. Most also award you a PGCE and/or master's-level credits, but you should check individual courses for more information.

"The School Direct training course has equipped me to become a successful teacher and has really helped me to become a well-trained reflective practitioner."
Zack Morgan, School Direct trainee

Read how Jess Rothwell is getting a great start with School Direct

Can I get financial support?

There is a range of funding options to support you while you train on a SCITT or School Direct course. You can also get up to £25,000 tax-free, depending on which subject you intend to teach.

Career changers – get paid while you train with School Direct (salaried)

If you're a graduate and have been working for around three years, School Direct (salaried) is available exclusively for you. You'll be based at a school and earn a salary during your training – schools recruit you as a trainee with a job in mind just for you. 

The cost of your training to achieve QTS is covered by the school – check with the school you are applying to whether this also includes a PGCE.

"School Direct (salaried) was ideal for my situation. The fact that I was able to be paid a salary whilst I trained made it an ideal opportunity."
Ryan Hall, School Direct (salaried) trainee

School Direct (salaried) has far fewer places available and last year, candidates who were more flexible about their choice of teacher training course were more likely to secure a place.

Find out more about funding for School Direct (salaried)

Check if you are eligible for School Direct or School Direct (salaried)

Where can I search and apply for SCITT, School Direct or School Direct (salaried) training courses?

Our Choosing a teacher training course page offers advice about searching for school-led courses in your area.

When you're ready to apply, our application tips will help you along the way.

You can search for courses on the UCAS Teacher Training site from the end of October. School Direct courses, including those run by SCITTs, will be under the name of the school that is leading the training. SCITT courses will be under the name of the SCITT.

Other school-led training

Teach First

Teach First is an education charity that runs a two-year course for outstanding graduates where you can earn while you train and work in a challenging school in a low-income community. Visit the Teach First website to learn more about its vision and its leadership development programme.

Armed Forces

If you are ex-Service personnel, find out how the invaluable skills and experience gained in the Armed Forces can enable you to become an outstanding teacher through the Troops to Teachers programme.


Academics who have completed (or are finishing) a doctorate can become qualified to teach through the Researchers in Schools course.

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