School Direct

1 year
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

On the School Direct route, the lead schools choose the provider they work with. The school then plays a key role in recruiting trainees and organising their school placements within the partnership. School Direct students join their schools at the start of the autumn term, for an extended period of induction.

On School Direct programmes you apply to the lead school in the partnership. You are recruited by them and benefit from professional development opportunities in the school. You become a member of the staff team and will have placements within the partnership. 

We offer the following programmes via the School Direct route:

PGCE Primary, PGCE Primary (Salaried) and PGCE Primary SEND

These programmes are designed and delivered jointly by the lead school and the University of Birmingham. The PGCE offers 60 credits at M level and you can return to the University of Birmingham once you have qualified, and undertake a 2 year part time course which leads to the award of MA Teaching Studies.

PGDipEd Primary and PGDipEd Secondary

Unlike the PGCE programme (see above) on this route you will attend all University taught days as part of the main PGDipEd cohort, in the primary or secondary phase or subject groups.

The PGDipEd offers 120 credits at M level and you can return to the University of Birmingham once you have qualified, and progress directly to the Dissertation year of the MA Teaching Studies.


Information for Schools 2023/24

If you are interested in partnering with the University of Birmingham in the provision of either School Direct or School Direct (Salaried) then we would be pleased to discuss working together. Please contact:

Tel: 0121 414 4866

Why train with us?

The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has a long tradition of delivering ITE courses. Its teaching has been graded as 'outstanding' for the third consecutive time by Ofsted inspectors which reaffirms the University’s status as one of the UK’s leading institutions for excellence in teacher training. 

The University of Birmingham partnership has worked to co-develop the programmes for School Direct and Apprenticeships. The quality of both the programmes and the newly qualified teachers that enter the profession as a result of it are critical to all partners involved.


About the University of Birmingham as a Provider

Student Support

Information about student support for postgraduate students at the University of Birmingham.

Child Care Facilities

Information about child care facilities for postgraduate students at the University of Birmingham.

Disability Access

Information about disability access for students at the University of Birmingham.


Information about accommodation for postgraduate students at the University of Birmingham.

Where to Find Us

Information on how to find the University’s campus in Edgbaston.

The School of Education also offers the PGDipEd Primary and Secondary route as an alternative to the school direct programmes. If you are unsure as to whether to choose the PGDipEd or School Direct route, it might be useful for you to also view the Initial Teacher Training webpage.


School Direct

You will pay tuition fees or £9,250 to the University. You can also apply for a means-tested maintenance grant and a maintenance loan.

School Direct (Salaried) 

You will be paid a training salary by the school in which you train. This salary will be in line with the unqualified teacher pay scale. You will not pay tuition fees to the university and you will not be eligible for a training bursary.

You may also be interested in our PGDipEd Programmes.

How To Apply

You will need to visit, register and apply using the DfE Application portal. They manage the applications to all postgraduate teacher training routes. It is a good idea to contact any possible school to check that it still has places and that the University of Birmingham School Direct programme would suit your needs.

Applications are checked by the University of Birmingham to make sure that necessary selection criteria are met before shortlisting is undertaken by schools in consultation with the university. Interviews are then organised by schools as necessary with the final decision on offers being made by the school and the university.

Our Standard Requirements

All applicants to Initial Teacher Education programmes must hold a degree from a UK Higher Education Institution. Please view the Postgraduate Diploma Primary Education webpage or Postgraduate Diploma Secondary Education webpage for details of entry requirements.


If you studied outside the UK, you should visit the The UK national agency for international qualifications and skills to find out whether your qualifications are of an equivalent level to UK GCSEs, A levels and an undergraduate degree.

International Requirements

How we select our students

Application forms are considered by both the university and the individual school(s) involved. At application we are looking for evidence that the candidate is on a trajectory to meeting the characteristics listed in ‘What we are looking for’ (see below)

The application will clearly list the qualifications required and additional qualifications and experience relevant to training to teach. It will include references that are appropriate and allow us to obtain recent, relevant and appropriate professional perspective on you as a potential teacher.

The personal statement of a successful applicant will demonstrate commitment to teaching and understanding of what good teaching and learning is about. It will include something of your own aspirations and vision for your career and will pull on recent and relevant experience (paid or voluntary) in appropriate settings. Experience in a primary school may be set as a condition following interview. For those on the School Direct Salaried or apprenticeship programme, you must have sufficient teaching experience in school to undertake up to ten hours per week of unsupervised teaching during the training year.

All successful applicants are interviewed and this will normally take place in the School Direct or employing school. The University and the school jointly design and manage the interview process with the school leading the process. Applicants that demonstrate professionalism, commitment, a realistic understanding of the pressures of the course and the profession, an awareness of the school in which they are intending to train, creativity, organisational skills and a clear recognition of the need to synthesise practical and academic learning through refection are most likely to succeed.

What we are looking for

Successful University of Birmingham School Direct students will be those that: 

  • Have a clear, questioning and reflective understanding of schools in England and of what good teaching involves
  • Recognise that the job of the teacher is first and foremost that of teaching and that the understanding of the pedagogy of teaching and learning is fundamentally essential 
  • Have a solid knowledge of their subject(s) and are always committed to further developing this knowledge base
  • Understand that the training year, just like the job itself, is demanding in time and effort, and that it will involve some travel and will involve balancing academic study with substantial time spent in school 
  • Are committed to the education of all children, whatever their educational need and background 
  • Can work in teams, often under pressure, and can work with a range of other professionals
  • Are well organised and able to plan for the blend of academic and professional learning that the programme requires
  • Are able to reflect on their own experiences and apply learning to future actions 
  • Have a commitment to their own career development

Our primary and secondary courses are designed in conjunction with our partnership of schools, is founded on our long-standing expertise in teacher education and combines the phase, curriculum and learning and teaching expertise of specialist tutors and seconded teachers at the University with the expertise of school-based colleagues. 

The course combines school based learning coordinated by the ‘Lead School’ with lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and practical sessions at the University. Study at the University is largely within the School of Education’s dedicated building which includes specialist facilities, student study areas and online learning support.


School Direct and apprenticeship students studying with the University of Birmingham and its School Direct partner schools can expect to be highly employable. Success in finding first teaching posts for students on the University’s postgraduate programmes is very high – and substantially above national averages. In addition to this, teachers educated with University of Birmingham partnerships typically remain in the profession and build excellent careers in teaching with progression on to leadership and management roles in schools. A significant number who follow our postgraduate programmes take up the opportunity to complete Masters study at some point after their induction year, further enhancing their career development. Employability rates for University of Birmingham postgraduate trained teachers are among the highest in the country.

Many of those who have trained to teach with the University of Birmingham are now in headteacher, head of department and similar roles across the West Midlands, nationally and beyond – and many give up time and expertise to contribute to our programmes. 

Georgia Treglown

The School Direct (Special Educational Needs) course at the University of Birmingham has been perfect for me. After working in a school for one year after my undergraduate degree, the course appealed to me because of the “on the job” training element to it. Additionally, it was one of the only courses in the country which allowed me to complete the majority of my training in an SEN school. I also completed one placement in a mainstream school which I believe helped me to develop into a well-rounded and flexible practitioner.

I have been fully supported by both my University tutors and my mentors in school who have worked together effectively. As well as the teaching element, the course included specialist training in school covering various areas of SEN and university sessions covering national curriculum subjects and professional development. I cannot fault the course and would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to gain a PGCE and develop a teaching career within SEN. I have also made lifelong friends along the way!

Georgia Treglown
Postgraduate Certificate in Education (School Direct): Primary Special Educational Needs

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