School Direct (salaried) programmes in England

School-led, employment-based postgraduate initial teacher training, leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Relevant to

School Direct (salaried) is an employment-based route for high quality graduates, typically with at least three years’ experience of transferable work history. You’ll earn a salary while you train towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation, and won’t need to pay any tuition fees. This route is available for both primary and secondary teaching, and is run by individual schools or a group of schools. These providers work closely with a university or school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) consortium, that is able to certify successful trainees.

  • Students who opt for a School Direct (salaried) training programme are employed as an unqualified teacher while they learn on the job. In some cases, this may be a school the student is already working at, or has an existing relationship with.
  • While the majority of School Direct training programmes lead to a PGCE qualification, not all do. Where this is an option, there may be an additional cost required for completion of the PGCE – if gaining master’s credits is important to you, check with your training provider before applying, to confirm exactly what is included on your chosen training programme. 
  • If you decide to apply for a School Direct (salaried) training programme, one of your references must be from an employer. If you’re self-employed and unable to provide a reference from a former employer, your referee should be someone who knows you from work, who can comment on your work and suitability for teaching.
  • Some schools may consider part-time placements – you'll need to approach a school directly if you'd like to be considered for a part-time placement. This year, on the School Direct (salaried) route, some schools are offering part-time or abridged programmes.
  • If your degree subject doesn't link closely to your chosen teaching subject, you may still be able to apply for a School Direct (salaried) programme by undertaking a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course. Your chosen provider may ask you to take an SKE course as a condition of your offer, before you start your initial teacher training programme.

Entry requirements

You must have achieved the following minimum requirements to be eligible to apply for School Direct (salaried) programmes:

  1. You'll need to hold an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education provider, or a recognised equivalent qualification.
  2. You’ll need to have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C/4, or above, in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics.
  3. If you intend to train to teach pupils aged three to 11 (early years and primary), you must also have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade C/4, or above, in a GCSE science subject examination.
  4. You'll also need to pass the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before you begin your teacher training. Some training providers may require you to complete them before your interview, or ask you to complete them by a certain date as a condition of your offer. Find out more in our professional skills tests blog.

Some training providers may also have specific entry criteria. Click the name of the training programme in the UCAS Teacher Training search tool to establish if it matches your qualifications and experience. As teaching involves working with children on a daily basis, there are also some non-academic requirements you'll need to meet.


Fees and funding

With School Direct (salaried) programmes you won’t need to pay any tuition fees. You’ll be employed by a school directly as an unqualified teacher. The amount you’ll earn will be dependent on the school you train in, and the subject you’re teaching.


How to apply

UCAS Teacher Training is the scheme you need to use to search and apply for School Direct (salaried) programmes in England.

Ready to start your application? Sign up to receive your free information pack – an online step-by-step guide to applying for postgraduate training programmes through UCAS Teacher Training.

Explore your options

You can apply to up to three training programmes on your UCAS Teacher Training application. It’s worth considering a combination of different routes when you apply (university, school direct, and SCITT). Last year, candidates who were more flexible about their choice of route were more likely to secure a place. Find out more about university and school-led postgraduate initial teacher training programmes in England.