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School Direct (tuition fee) programmes in England

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

School Direct (tuition fee) programmes allow you to learn on the job as you work towards your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) recommendation. This non-salaried route is run by a school, or group of schools, that work closely with a university or school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) consortium that certifies successful trainees. You’ll be based in a school, but will also be taught by the university, college, or SCITT that the school partners with.

  • School Direct programmes are popular with students who are hoping to gain a position in their placement school following their training.
  • Although your training is based in a school, they’re not your employers, and in many ways your training will be similar to training programmes in universities and colleges.
  • While the majority of School Direct training programmes lead to a PGCE qualification, not all do. If gaining a PGCE is important to you, check with your training provider before applying, to confirm exactly what is included on your chosen training programme.
  • Unlike School Direct (salaried) programmes, you’ll pay fees but you might be eligible for funding through student loans, bursaries, or scholarships.
  • If your degree subject doesn't link closely to your chosen teaching subject, you may still be able to apply for a School Direct (tuition fee) 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 (tuition fee) 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

The amount providers charge varies – for UK and EU students, it can be up to £9,250 per year for a full-time programme starting in 2018. It’s a big investment, but there’s often funding available to help you. UCAS does not arrange student finance, but we can give you information and advice about funding and support to help point you in the right direction.

  • Scholarships – for certain in-demand subjects, you can apply for a tax-free scholarship to support your training. To be eligible, you will typically need a 2:1 degree or above in the subject you want to teach (or a closely related subject). Visit Get Into Teaching to find out more.
  • Bursaries – tax-free bursaries are available for training to teach a range of subjects. The level of funding and eligibility will vary depending on the subject you choose to teach, and your degree classification. For more information, visit Get Into Teaching.
  • Tuition fee and maintenance loans – if you’re not eligible to receive a bursary or scholarship, you can still apply for a student loan to cover your training programme fees and living costs. Find out more from Student Finance England.
  • Extra student funding – if you have dependents, you could access further funding to support your teacher training, such as Parents' Learning Allowances, Childcare Grants, or Child Tax Credits. The student finance calculator from Student Finance England allows you to estimate the level of funding that may be available.
  • Disabled students and care leavers – universities and colleges have different ways of supporting you in higher education. Check if you are entitled to additional support and funding.

How to apply

UCAS Teacher Training is the scheme you need to use to search and apply for School Direct (tuition fee) 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.


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