School Direct: get involved in initial teacher training
How your school can recruit and train new teachers through School Direct, a school-led initial teacher training (ITT) programme.
School Direct is an approach to initial teacher training (ITT) that gives schools more influence over the ways teachers are trained.
This information is for schools. If you are interested in applying for teacher training, go to the Get into Teaching website or call the Teaching Line on 0800 389 2500.
How School Direct works
School Direct is run by a partnership between a lead school, other schools and an accredited teacher training provider.
School Direct enables schools to:
- select and recruit their own trainees – with an expectation that trainees will be employed by the school or partnership of schools once they are qualified
- choose which teacher training provider to work with
- agree the content and focus of the training programme depending on the needs of both the trainees and the school
- decide how funding will be split between the school and the training provider
Training places are allocated to the lead school on behalf of the partnership, usually for 1 year. The lead school has overall responsibility for requesting places from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and ensuring that the criteria for School Direct are met.
Working in partnership
You need to decide if you want to join an existing partnership or become a lead school. If you are part of an academy chain, you should consider whether to request places through your chain’s central office rather than as an individual school.
Joining an existing School Direct partnership is recommended. This is because it enables greater opportunities to share expertise, meet the employment expectation, and implement efficient management and administration of the programme. It also brings economies of scale in negotiations with teacher training providers.
The lead school must be a local authority maintained school, special school, academy, free school or Sixth Form College. Partnerships led by outstanding schools such as teaching schools or academy chains are encouraged.
Private schools can only be lead schools if they’re also designated teaching schools. In these cases:
- any places requested should benefit a wider partnership that includes state maintained schools
- trainees should be employed in a maintained school in the partnership rather than in the private school
The lead school has to be Grade 1 (outstanding) or Grade 2 (good) for overall effectiveness. In some cases, partner schools that have an Ofsted Grade 4 (inadequate) rating will be able to take part in training. For more information see our guidance for lead schools.
You could also consider offering placements in your school to existing School Direct providers to gain an insight into how the scheme works.
Types of training places and funding
There are 2 types of School Direct training places available.
School Direct (tuition fee) places
These places are open to all graduates and funded by tuition fees paid by the trainee. Trainees may be eligible for a training bursary or scholarship.
School Direct (salaried) places
These places are aimed mainly at graduates with 3 or more years’ work experience. However, schools can decide to accept applications from candidates with less work experience to attract high quality candidates in hard to fill subjects.
Trainees are employed as an unqualified teacher. NCTL provides funding to lead schools to cover training costs and subsidise trainee salaries.
Both routes carry the award of qualified teacher status (QTS) and some may also lead to the award of a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).
Timescales for training starting in September 2016
The request period for 2016 to 2017 ITT allocations (including provider and School Direct places) closed on Friday 10 July 2015. Please contact an existing School Direct lead school or an ITT provider if you are interested in becoming involved in School Direct.
More information can be found in the registering initial teacher training places 2016 to 2017 guidance.
Find out more
- Take a look at our guide for lead schools. This explains how to request and manage School Direct places, including the recruitment of trainees and funding.
- Read an article from our magazine, ldr – School Direct: An insight from school leaders (PDF, 196KB, 4 pages).
- Use our contact us form for general School Direct queries
Published: 14 March 2014
Updated: 12 October 2016
- Application round has now closed.
- Information about registering ITT places 2016 to 2017 added.
- new seminar recording available
- Online seminar presentation slides available - 15 October
- Links to register for new online seminars have been added.
- Registration for new online seminar added
- New documents added.
- First published.