News story

New School Direct programme for early years initial teacher training

NCTL is introducing School Direct for early years initial teacher training (ITT) from September 2014.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


School Direct (Early Years) places are available for training starting in September 2014.

Successful completion of the programme will lead to the award of early years teacher status. Early years teacher status is the equivalent to qualified teacher status (QTS) as the entry requirements to early years teacher training are the same as for primary teacher training.

Early years teachers specialise in early childhood development and are trained to teach across the early years foundation stage (from birth to 5 years old). They must also understand how early education links to education beyond age 5 and into key stages 1 and 2 in school.

This new approach is based on the School Direct training programme which gives schools more influence over the way teachers are trained.

School Direct (Early Years) creates more employer-led training, giving employers (schools and nurseries) the opportunity to recruit and select their own early years teacher trainees and engage in the design and delivery of early years ITT in partnership with accredited training providers.

The programme enables schools and nurseries to:

  • influence how early years teachers are trained
  • recruit the trainees that best meet their and their partnership’s needs, with the expectation that trainees will go on to work with the group of schools and nurseries where they trained
  • decide which accredited training provider to work with and influence the way in which the training is delivered

To introduce this approach, 59 School Direct (Early Years) places are available for training starting in September 2014. These have been allocated to the nursery chain, Bright Horizons, and the following early years teaching schools:

  • Bristol Early Years Teaching Consortium
  • Etherley Lane Nursery School, Durham
  • Everton Nursery School and Family Centre, Liverpool
  • St Edmund’s Nursery School, Bradford

Training is fully funded by NCTL through a grant of £7,000 available to all trainees. Bursaries are also available: £9,000 for graduates with a first class degree and £4,000 for graduates with a 2:1.

If the approach is successful we will consider increasing the number of training places for 2015 to 2016 to enable more schools and nurseries to get involved.

Published 20 May 2014