School Direct Teacher Training

Thank you for your interest in the School Direct route into teaching.

Biddulph High School Secondary Partnership offers high quality, school based, Initial Teacher Training. Our track record is impressive; we pride ourselves on our high levels of support, friendliness and on our commitment to helping you to reach your full teaching potential. We work in partnership with schools across Staffordshire and Cheshire and we provide opportunities for you to teach across the full age range, including A-Level and BTEC provision.We are currently recruiting for our seventh year of trainees. The outcomes for trainees in our cohorts have been excellent. We have a strong reputation for nurturing talent, providing outstanding support and in-house professional learning for all of our staff. We all learn with each other and from each other and our staff are highly motivated, creative and resilient teachers. Trainee teachers are a central part of our community of learners and play a key role in the life of the school from the first day of training.

We warmly welcome your application and the following information will help guide you through the process.

What does our programme look like?

School Direct allows participants the opportunity to work closely with schools to gain their PGCE. Schools or groups of schools work in partnership, in many cases with local HEI providers, to develop a training programme that suits the needs of their trainees and the local education context.

Our School Direct Programme is delivered in partnership with Staffordshire University and Birmingham City University. The training lasts for one academic year (September-July).
On completion of your training year, you will be awarded a PGCE with Qualified Teacher Status. Your School Direct Programme will consist of a combination of classroom practice and relevant training. You will be given the opportunity to spend much of your time ‘practising your craft’ with high quality school placements from across our partnership. You will also be offered a programme of training developed and delivered by Alliance Schools, Staffordshire University and Birmingham City University. You will be supported along the way by a number of different colleagues and will be assigned a school based Subject and Professional Mentor and a University Based Tutor.

There are two School Direct routes:

  • School Direct Training Programme
  • School Direct Salaried

Although similar in structure, the two routes have different funding models, details of which can be found below:

School Direct Programme

If you secure a place on this route, the tuition fees for the programme are paid to the HEI in a series of instalments across the academic year. There are a number of different funding options available to support you with these payments. You may be eligible for a tax-free bursary or scholarship to support your training. These funding streams are dependent on the phase/subject in which you are training and your qualifications. A high degree classification will allow you access to extra bursary funding. A Masters or PhD could also ensure you receive further funding. Full details regarding bursaries and scholarships can be found on the Teaching Agency website:

In addition, you could also apply for a student loan to support your payments through student finance.

School Direct salaried

We do not offer this route. Full details can be found on the Teaching Agency website.

More detailed bursary information can be found on GOV.UK and also the Get into Teaching website.

We are looking to recruit talented candidates who have the qualities and attributes suited to a career in teaching and the drive and ambition to make it happen. Qualities we are looking for include:

  • Friendly and approachable
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Organisation and time management
  • A passion for your subject
  • A positive outlook
  • A creative and innovative approach
  • The ability to reflect on and improve practice
  • Potential leadership capabilities

Our Entry Requirements are as follows:

  • To apply for the course you will need a minimum 2:2 honours degree in an appropriate subject.
  • GCSE in Mathematics and English, Grade C or above.
  • A good general education.
  • You will also need to demonstrate a good understanding of the education system gained from work or placement in schools.
  • You will be required to successfully complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) application and be certified fit to teach – more information is available at
  • You must be ICT literate.
  • We recommend you submit a well considered personal statement on the UCAS application form as this is a key part of the short listing process.
  • Application is through UCAS at

All students must pass tests in Literacy and Numeracy (skills tests) prior to being offered a place on the course. You will also be required to have school experience. If you do not currently have school experience you may still apply but must state how you intend to gain school experience.

Subject enhancement courses are available for some secondary subjects. If your degree subject does not link to your chosen teaching subject, it is recommended that you undertake a subject knowledge enhancement course before you begin training

Skills Test


Staffordshire and Birmingham City (BCU) universities achieved top marks in their last OFSTED inspection reports for their PGCEs. The awards are designed to allow graduates with an appropriate honours degree to train at postgraduate level to become a Secondary school teacher. You will leave this Teacher Training course with a PGCE qualification. This can be awarded at 3 levels dependent upon performance during the training year, either 30 (Professional) or 60 or 90 (Postgraduate) M level credits, in addition to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), the required qualification to teach in England. The PGCE offers specialist support and expertise from tutors who are at the forefront of education developments. It is characterised by small class sizes which allows effective links with the schools in our partnership. The course aims to develop your professional competencies in the creation and delivery of programmes in Secondary education, and to develop the wider professional knowledge and skills expected of a qualified teacher.

This is a 36 week course. The equivalent of 24 weeks (120 days) is spent in 2 carefully selected placement schools and 12 weeks in the university.

Course Content

After an Induction Programme at the universities, you will be in school on two block placements to gain a supported understanding of the role of the teacher. Within a school, you will receive expert support from a subject or class mentor who will hold weekly meetings with you to help you to prepare, teach and review lessons and develop your subject knowledge. Each school or college will have a professional mentor who will help you to understand the organisation of the school, pastoral care systems and the legal and social framework of school including supporting services. Associate Teachers have a phased introduction to teaching that will reflect your personal needs. Initially you will observe the regular teacher, help with group work and then move towards sharing classes with the teacher before eventually taking classes yourself. As well as teaching your subject, you will be required to contribute generally to the life of the school. The University element of the course is designed to engage Associate Teachers in critical reflection on the nature of education. We also aim to develop your knowledge of the curriculum for Mathematics. Group and individual tutorials in the university will give you an opportunity to discuss your ideas and the challenges you may face.

The University aspects of the course take place on the Stafford, Stoke and BCU campuses and will draw upon the experience of practicing teachers as well as highly experienced tutors. The school experience is based in local, carefully selected partnership schools. The blend of practical experience and university study will be evidenced by the compilation of portfolios and the production of short written academic papers.

Key features

  • This Teacher Training course allows graduates with an appropriate honours degree to train at postgraduate level to become school teachers.
  • Our course puts learning at the heart of what we do. This means that your learning, as the Associate Teacher, is at the centre of the PGCE just as, when you are teaching, the learning of your school students must be at the centre of your work.
  • The course is distinctive because it involves a mix of university input and school experience every week of the course, close attention to your individual needs and a genuine sense of partnership with the schools that we work with.
Staffordshire University – Telephone: 01782 294000

Birmingham City University – Telephone: 0121 331 5000

To apply for School Direct you will need to complete the online application process (link below) on the UCAS website. UCAS are accepting applications for study in 2019/20 from 9th October 2018. If you would like to be considered for our School Direct places you would need to select Biddulph High School as your lead school when applying. There is no current deadline for applications. We will be holding our first round of interviews in late November but there will also be additional rounds thereafter.

Our Alliance is looking to recruit high quality candidates to the School Direct Programme (non-salaried) for the next academic year (2019-2020) across the following subjects: 

Award Title Location
PGCE Art & Design Biddulph High school
PGCE Biology Biddulph High School
PGCE Business Studies Biddulph High School
PGCE Chemistry Biddulph High School
PGCE Mathematics Biddulph High School
PGCE Physical Education Biddulph High School


For further information please contact Biddulph High School,

Application is through UCAS at

On completing your Teacher Training course (PGCE) and starting your first teaching job, you can join our Newly Qualified Teacher course and, after your first year in teaching, move onto our Masters awards in Education. Because of your PGCE and NQT awards, you will be fast tracked and can gain a full MA in Education by the end of your third year in teaching.