Press release

New School Direct programme opens 28 September 2012

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

Applications are now open to allow schools to register for School Direct.

  • From 28 September 2012, schools can apply for School Direct teacher training places for September 2013.
  • Over 2,000 lead schools, representing around a third of schools in England have already registered an interest in the new School Direct training programme.
  • 68% of those who have registered an interest have an ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ Ofsted rating.
  • Schools can still apply for places even if they haven’t already expressed an interest.
  • The closing date for applications is Friday 12 October.

School Direct gives schools the opportunity to recruit and train their own staff, who will go on to teach in their school, or another school in their partnership.

Under the new scheme, schools will train the best graduates as teachers in the subjects and phases they need, and work with accredited providers - such as top universities and other schools - to lead the way they are trained. This will help drive up the quality of teacher training by giving schools a greater role in recruiting and training new teachers; involving the best serving teachers in training the next generation; and encouraging more school-led partnerships for teacher training.

Candidates benefit from attractive bursaries for priority subjects like mathematics, physics and modern languages, as well a job at the end of their training. They will also benefit from an additional 25% premium on top of the bursaries if their training is based in a challenging school with a high proportion of disadvantaged children - where 35% or more of pupils are eligible for free school meals.

In addition to the School Direct programme, Salaried School Direct is a new scheme that replaces the Graduate Teaching programme. The aim is to attract up to 4,900 high-quality career-changers into the profession. On this programme, schools will receive direct funding to help pay the trainees wage while they are completing their training. Like School Direct, schools will choose which training partner to use and decide on the nature and content of the course.

The application window for schools to apply for places on the School Direct programme is open now until 12 October 2012.

Charlie Taylor, chief executive of the Teaching Agency (TA), commented:

The School Direct programme puts decision-making in the hands of schools by allowing them to influence the selection of their trainees and design their own training programme, tailored to their own school’s requirements.

The uptake for the 2012 to 2013 academic year was positive and we are expecting the keen interest to continue into 2013 to 2014. What’s more, we were thrilled with the quality of trainees and schools on the scheme last year and are looking forward to attracting more high-quality candidates in this year’s uptake.

Like other routes into teaching, School Direct is an opportunity for the most talented people to get into a fantastic career which offers tangible progression pathways and competitive salaries. We will be giving schools their allocation at the end of October, so we are urging interested headteachers to make sure they make requests for places as soon as possible, in order to meet the 12 October deadline.

Kirsty Ridley, Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Lead at Birley Community Primary School added:

We took part in the School Direct 2011 to 2012 scheme because we saw it as an innovative means of recruiting talent. With succession planning in mind, we selected candidates that filled the gaps and appointed trainees that service our school’s specific educational requirements. School Direct will also enable us to retain our trainees for their first year of teaching, which means the resource we’ve dedicated to the trainees won’t be wasted.

David Carter, executive principal of the Cabot Learning Federation, one of the first Teaching Schools in England added:

In our experience, English, mathematics and science are the hardest posts to recruit for, so focusing on these areas through the School Direct scheme has enabled us to meet demand moving forwards.

Places are offered in partnership with an accredited teacher training provider and are available for primary and secondary. All School Direct places will lead to qualified teacher status (QTS); schools will determine whether they wish the provider to award a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) validated by a higher education institution or School Centred Initial Teacher Training Institution (SCITT).

Schools need to act now and apply for their School Direct places by 12 October. Further information and guidance on this is available.

Notes to editors

The TA is responsible for initial teacher training (ITT) in England. It provides a comprehensive programme of support to help graduates become teachers, providing guidance all the way through the application process.

People interested in becoming a teacher should visit Get into teaching or contact the Teaching Line on the number shown on this page.

School Direct has been expanded for the academic year 2013 to 2014 and now offers two types of training places:

The School Direct Training Programme, which is open to all graduates and funded by tuition fees paid by the trainee, who may receive a bursary from the TA.

The School Direct Training Programme (salaried), which is an employment-based route into teaching for high-quality graduates with three or more years’ career experience. The trainee is employed as an unqualified teacher by a school. The TA provides funding, which the school can use to subsidise the trainee’s salary and/or training.

Lead schools1 should request the number of places their partnership wants for School Direct and School Direct (salaried). Allocations are made directly to lead schools rather than to initial teacher training providers. Schools choose whether further academic qualifications such as PGCE will be offered, in addition to qualified teacher status (QTS).

Schools applying for School Direct places should expect to employ the trainee once they qualify. Both the training commitment and the employment commitment can be shared across school partnerships.

Schools who have not registered an interest for School Direct are still eligible to request places for the training programme.


The School Direct Training Programme

School Direct Training Programme trainees who spend the majority of their training in schools where more than 35% of their pupils are eligible for free school meals will be eligible for 25% uplift to their existing bursary award. Trainees recruited and training to become a primary teacher who specialises in teaching mathematics will receive a £2,000 uplift to their bursary.

The School Direct Training Programme (salaried)

These places will be funded through the TA to subsidise salary and training costs. The funding rates reflect the priorities of the subjects and schemes. In particular it should be noted that there are different rates depending on the location of the employing school to reflect the different salary scales in place across the country. Schools recruiting and training primary teachers who specialise in teaching mathematics will receive a £2,000 supplement to the standard rate for the primary programme. Schools with 35% or more of their pupils on free school meals will receive a 10% funding premium.

Details of the financial bursaries for 2013/14:

Proposed 2013/14 bursaries, scholarships and School Direct (salaried) funding
  Physics, chemistry, maths Modern languages Primary maths specialist2 Other priority secondary and primary3
Bursary-1st £20,000 £20,000 £11,000 £9,000
Bursary - 2.1 £15,000 £15,000 £6,000 £4,000
Bursary - 2.2 £12,000 £12,000 £0 £0
FSM premium 25% premium paid on the above bursaries/scholarships to School Direct trainees whose training is based in a school where more than 35% of pupils are eligible for free school meals (FSM)

Further details can be found online.

[1] Or the central office of an academy chain.

[2] The Secretary of State for Education announced on 14 June that trainees with a B or better at maths A-level on the new maths primary specialist courses would receive an extra £2000 bursary or, if on the School Direct (salaried) route, the school in which they train would receive an additional £2000 subsidy.

[3] English, geography, history, computer science, classics, music, biology, and primary (except primary maths specialist).

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