School Direct - FAQ

What is School Direct?

School Direct is a school-led teacher training route, where the schools who participate recruit and select their own trainees, working in partnership with accredited ITE providers such as the University of Birmingham. Student teachers may go on to work within the school (or group/alliance of schools) where they received their training.


Teachers need Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to teach in a maintained school or non-maintained special school in England. When training has been completed, the University of Birmingham an accredited Initial Teacher Education provider, will inform the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) of a trainee’s course results. The NCTL will then send out individual QTS certificates to successful students.

Importantly, all School Direct students in schools partnered with the University of Birmingham normally complete a PGCE which provides 60 credits contributing at Masters Level. There are opportunities, once qualified, to continue study with the university and to achieve a full Masters degree.  

What will my timetable look like?

This will depend on the specific details of School Direct agreed between your School Direct school and the University. It will also depend on whether you are following the School Direct of School Direct (Salaried) route. Whichever phase and School Direct model you are following, however, there will be sessions at the university which involve whole days with a blend of subject workshops, seminars, tutorials or group-working sessions. There will also be personal research and learning time and significant school-based elements. The school-based aspects of the programme are coordinated by your School Direct Lead School and will involve pre-placement learning, substantive ‘School Experience’ periods organised by the School Direct school in conjunction with partner schools and focused training and learning activities coordinated carefully between the schools and the University. A minimum of 120 days of your programme will be spent training in schools but normally the number of days will be significantly greater than this.

What support will I get?

The University of Birmingham prides itself in the high level of support provided to all of its students, whether on School Direct or other programmes. There is a close relationship between students, school-based trainers and university-based tutors.

University pastoral and academic support systems and structures are highly regarded by our students and mentorship models in our School Direct partner schools are also very effective in providing students with immediate support when required in school.

What are the benefits of School Direct and of School Direct (Salaried)?

Students on the School Direct (Salaried) route are paid a salary based on the unqualified teacher pay scale. You would be an employee of your School Direct school. On this route you would not qualify for a bursary, nor could you apply for a student loan from the Student Loans Company as you will not be charged a Tuition Fee.

Students on the School Direct route are eligible for a loan to contribute towards the cost of Tuition Fees (subject to the Student Loan Company’s criteria) and may qualify for a bursary or scholarship depending on degree classification, and subject.

Can I follow a postgraduate award on both the salaried and unsalaried route?

The School Direct and the School Direct (Salaried) routes include QTS and normally the PGCE (School Direct) awarded by the University of Birmingham.