Registering initial teacher training places 2016 to 2017

Register initial teacher training (ITT) places for postgraduate courses starting in the 2016 to 2017 academic year.


This guidance is for School Direct lead schools, school-centred initial teacher training (SCITTs) providers and higher education institutions (HEIs) as they plan to recruit trainees.

We’re changing our approach for 1 year. Previously training places have significantly exceeded the number we’ve been able to allocate. Schools, SCITTs and HEIs have turned away good potential trainees once all of their allocated places have been filled. We’ll monitor recruitment to 2016 to 2017 courses to inform the approach for 2017 to 2018.

This approach only applies to postgraduate courses starting in the 2016 to 2017 academic year. It includes all subjects listed under the list of designated ITT subjects. We reserve the right to modify or amend the approach we take to the registration of courses or allocation of places for future years.

We’ll continue to allocate places to undergraduate courses for the 2016 to 2017 academic year.

Registering your places

The registration window for 2016 to 2017 is closed.

The registration period opened on Tuesday 23 June. Lead schools and ITT providers had until 6pm on Friday 10 July 2015 to submit and, where appropriate, ratify course information. Failure to do this may have resulted in approval for recruitment being withheld.

For School Direct, all courses must have been registered and ratified by the partner provider before the deadline. It is the responsibility of the lead school to ensure that this happened.

Timescales, activities and deadlines

Date Activity
Late October 2015 Opening of the UCAS teacher training system
Up to the closure of UCAS teacher training (end of September 2016) Email to advise that a control threshold is close to being met. Email identifying that recruitment to a particular course has been frozen because a control threshold has been met

Eligibility criteria

Type of school

We’ll only approve School Direct courses where the identified lead school is one of the following:

  • an academy (including free schools)
  • an independent school designated as a teaching school (an independent school can only act as a lead school if it is also a designated teaching school. Where this is the case, the trainees recruited should benefit from a partnership that includes maintained schools and/or academies. By maintained schools and/or academies, we mean: an academy; a free school; a maintained school; a pupil referral unit; a sixth form college; a special school)
  • a maintained school
  • a multi-academy trust (if a multi-academy trust is acting as a lead school we would not expect a member of that multi-academy trust to act as a lead school in their own right)
  • a pupil referral unit (PRU)
  • a sixth-form college
  • a maintained special school

Ofsted grade of the lead school

We’ll only approve recruitment to School Direct courses where the identified lead school is graded good or outstanding for overall effectiveness by Ofsted in their most recent section 5 inspection.

We’ll use the latest available inspection grades as published by Ofsted to determine eligibility. We’ll use the last available Ofsted grade of predecessor schools to determine the eligibility of recent academy convertors. Uninspected maintained schools and academies will be exempt from this criterion.

Schools graded requires improvement or inadequate by Ofsted are still able to offer trainee placements and contribute to the planning and provision of School Direct courses within a school partnership. We’ll not apply penalties to a lead school, or disadvantage it in any other way, on the basis that it has chosen to work with schools in these categories.

We strongly encourage lead schools to consider the range of school placements they offer to provide a broad mix of experiences for trainees. As part of this it is appropriate to evaluate how trainees can contribute to improvement in schools graded requires improvement or inadequate and, in turn, how they might benefit from experience of working within those schools.

Ofsted grade of the ITT provider

We’ll only approve School Direct courses where the partner ITT provider is graded good or outstanding for overall effectiveness by Ofsted in the relevant phase of provision.

Similarly, we’ll only approve provider-led courses where the ITT provider is graded good or outstanding for overall effectiveness in the relevant phase of provision.

Similar to schools, we’ll use the latest published inspection grades when applying this criterion. Uninspected SCITTs will be exempt from this criterion. Where necessary, we’ll work with lead schools directly to resolve any issues if their partner provider receives an inadequate or requires improvement inspection outcome after the deadline for registration.

School partnership size

We’ll consider the size of the school partnerships identified by lead schools before approving recruitment to School Direct courses. Larger school partnerships provide better economies of scale for the planning, recruitment to, and provision of courses. As a result, we will only approve courses registered by a lead school with 4 or more partner schools, that is, where there are at least 5 schools in total in the partnership. We expect to increase the minimum school partnership size in future years.

We’ll apply an exception to this rule where at least 3 members (the lead school plus partner schools) of the partnership are special schools.

How to register

All courses

All lead schools and ITT providers are required to:

  • register all courses on the ITT data management system, identifying:
    • subject (see below)
    • route (provider-led, School Direct (tuition fee) or School Direct (salaried))
    • recruitment estimate
  • register courses accurately (any errors are your responsibility. The Department for Education (DfE) will only consider requests to amend data in exceptional circumstances)
  • complete registration before the deadline (6pm, Friday 10 July 2015)
  • check that all course registrations are completed fully and inform DfE if they don’t receive email confirmation of the course registration
  • identify information about any academic award available to trainees on each course (this is a data requirement for the 2016 to 2017 academic year to give us better information about the type of provision currently on offer)
  • complete the relevant registration tasks for the UCAS teacher training scheme before the deadline

School Direct courses

For School Direct courses, lead schools are required to:

  • identify a partner ITT provider for each course
  • ensure that the identified partner provider has ratified all relevant courses before the registration deadline
  • identify all current partner schools before the registration deadline (lead schools will be able to add partners throughout the course of the year, however in determining eligibility to recruit we will not consider information amended after the registration deadline)

Lead schools must identify a partner ITT provider for each School Direct course that they register. The ITT provider must then agree, or ratify, the course using our data management system. A lead school may register courses with more than one ITT provider if they wish but only one ITT provider can be identified for each individual course.

UCAS teacher training

Once you have registered with DfE, identifying the appropriate contact information, your details will be passed to UCAS so that you can join the UCAS teacher training scheme for programmes starting in 2016. All applications for postgraduate teacher training programmes must be made through the UCAS teacher training scheme.

The registration process

All lead schools and ITT providers who want to offer ITT courses in the 2016 to 2017 academic year will have to register their intention to do so in advance. This year we’re asking for planned recruitment estimates rather than bids. We can use this information to encourage higher levels of recruitment to some subjects to meet teacher supply model forecasts.

Recruitment without allocations

For the 2016 to 2017 academic year we’ll use a national estimate of the number of trainees required to meet the needs of the school system and we will manage recruitment at a national level. This means that eligible schools, SCITTs and HEIs will be able to recruit (subject to a limited number of controls) as many trainees as they feel they need – until the system has recruited sufficient trainees.

The number of trainees needed

Each year the Department for Education produces the teacher supply model (TSM), an estimate of the number of trainee teachers required to meet the needs of the school sector in England. The teacher supply model for the academic year 2016 to 2017 and the planned recruitment numbers provided by schools and ITT providers during the registration process will be used to inform the extent of our recruitment controls and the funding available to support trainees.

We’ll operate a number of controls on recruitment. These controls will stop recruitment once the national requirements have been met. At which point, any additional trainees subsequently recruited will be at the lead school or ITT provider’s own risk.

Approval to recruit

We’ll consider each course requested and, where they meet the eligibility and registration requirements, approve them so that lead schools and ITT providers can start recruiting. We confirmed approval to recruit by email in early September. We’ll not set a limit on the number of potential recruits at that stage. We’ll advise schools and ITT providers when we’re close to meeting the number of recruits we need nationally.

In a small number of cases, we’ll contact lead schools or ITT providers either for clarification and/or to inform them that approval has been withheld.

Higher education institutions (HEIs) will only be allowed to provide ITT courses in subjects that they received an initial allocation in 2015 to 2016.

Partner school information

Lead schools must identify all of their partner schools before submitting registration information. Lead school users of the ITT data management system will be able to search, identify and select partner schools by name, postcode or Edubase unique reference number (URN).

When making decisions about approval to recruit, we’ll refer to partner school information as shown on the ITT data management system at the registration deadline. In determining eligibility to recruit we’ll not consider information amended after the registration deadline but, once confirmed as eligible to recruit, lead schools will be able to add additional partners throughout the course of the year.

By partner school, we mean those schools working with the lead school to plan or participate in the provision of training for School Direct places, including those schools that provide placements for trainees.

We reserve the right to request evidence from any lead school at any time to verify the authenticity of the partner schools listed.

List of designated ITT subjects


  • Primary (this combines what was previously Primary – General, and Primary – FS/KS1)
  • Primary mathematics specialist (only available where the ITT provider or School Direct partner provider is a recognised primary mathematics specialist provider and the trainee holds a grade B or higher in A level mathematics)
  • Primary – General (with mathematics)
  • Primary physical education (PE)


Art and design, biology, business studies, chemistry, citizenship, classics, computing, dance, design and technology, drama, economics, engineering, English, geography, health and social care, history, leisure and tourism, mathematics, media studies, modern languages, music, physical education, physics, physics with mathematics, psychology, religious education, social sciences.

Further information for lead schools and ITT providers to consider

Subject knowledge enhancement

We’re committed to funding subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) places as an important way to enable ITT recruitment in priority subjects, and we expect ITT providers and lead schools that are offering these subjects to consider offering SKE. If you intend to recruit trainees to subjects in which SKE funding is available, you should identify where you’ll source your SKE provision as part of your plans to recruit next year.

Take a look at subject knowledge enhancement: an introduction for more information.

Primary mathematics

Primary mathematics specialist courses are designed for trainees who want to focus solely on teaching mathematics in primary schools. Only those institutions that have been specifically accredited to offer this type of training course, or lead schools working with those providers, may recruit to such courses in 2016 to 2017.

The list of designated ITT providers for primary mathematics specialist courses is as follows:

Bishop Grosseteste University College, Brook Learning Trust, Edge Hill University, UCL Institute of Education, University of Birmingham, University of East London, University of Greenwich, University of Leicester, University of Northampton, University of Reading, University of Roehampton, University of Wolverhampton, University of Worcester.

We want to encourage other lead schools and ITT providers to identify or develop courses that train generalist primary teachers with a substantial mathematics element included alongside other areas of the curriculum. Teachers trained on these courses will not have the same exclusive focus on mathematics as a specialist but will have a robust grounding in the subject as part of their training. In particular, they will be capable of leading on mathematics in their school. Courses of this nature should be identified in the registration process as Primary – General (with mathematics).

Primary physical education (PE)

Primary physical education specialist courses are designed for trainees who want to focus on teaching physical education in primary schools. They are made up of 50% generalist primary training in the core subjects (English, mathematics and science) and 50% PE training.

Lead schools and ITT providers are able to register to recruit to primary physical education (PE) courses for the 2016 to 2017 academic year.


DfE is responsible for managing bursary and grant funding associated with initial teacher training (ITT) as well as monitoring the public cost of student loans accessed by trainees.

Trainees will only be eligible for funding if they are registered on courses in specific subjects. If trainees are recruited after recruitment controls are applied this is at the lead school or ITT provider’s own risk; funding will not be guaranteed.

Take a look at Funding: initial teacher training (ITT), academic year 2016 to 2017 for more information.

Allocation methodologies for previous years

Published 23 June 2015