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The programmes explained – postgraduate

Here, we explain the programmes in England that base you in a school, that we can help you apply to, such as School Direct and SCITT.
Relevant to

University-led PGCE or PGDE

A one-year training programme, a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and the Postgraduate Diploma of Education (PGDE) are run by colleges and universities throughout the UK. The PGCE and PGDE are available for both prospective primary and prospective secondary school teachers. Students must complete a minimum of 120 days in school amongst blocks of study at their chosen provider.

  • The Postgraduate Certificate in Education and the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education contain some credits at master’s degree level. The number of credits at this level varies a lot from one training programme to another. Some providers give you the chance to study for the credits you’d need for a full master’s degree, after you’ve completed your training.
  • You don’t need a PGCE to teach in England, although you may find it useful later. Maybe you’d want to change jobs or teach in another part of the UK or another country. You might want to move on to a master’s degree. The academic level varies a lot from one training provider to another, so look at entry profiles in our search tool to find out if training programmes are offered at professional graduate level, postgraduate level, or both.

School Direct (tuition fee)

As the name suggests, the School Direct (tuition fee) route of study is unpaid. A school-led teacher training programme, the School Direct (non-salaried) route is run by a school or group of schools who work closely with a university or School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) consortium who certify successful trainees. It’s a very popular training programme for those students who are hoping to gain a position in their training school following their training. This is an England only programme.

  • 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.
  • You’ll pay fees but you might be eligible for funding through tuition fee loans, training bursaries, or scholarships.

School Direct (salaried)

Those students who opt for a School Direct (salaried) training programme are employed by the school as unqualified teachers while they learn on-the-job. A school-led teacher training programme option, this route is available for both primary and secondary teaching and is run by the school or group of schools. These providers work closely with a university or School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) consortium who are able to certify successful trainees. This is an England only study option.

  • This is an employment-based route for high quality, experienced graduates with at least three years’ work experience in any field. You’ll earn a salary while you train and won’t need to pay any fees – you should check with the provider if this also includes a PGCE. 
  • 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.

School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT)

SCITT training programmes are England only teacher training programmes. Students spend a minimum of 120 days in school as they work towards their Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Similar to a School Direct (non-salaried) programme, the programmes are run by schools or groups of schools. Many schools work in close partnerships with universities for SCITT programmes, enabling teacher trainees to gain a PGCE alongside working towards their QTS.

  • Often their training programmes are tailored towards teaching in the local area.
  • They provide practical, hands-on teacher training programmes, taught by experienced, practising teachers.

Want to find out more about your teacher training options?

Sign up to receive our online teacher training information pack, a free step-by-step guide to applying for a teacher training programme. In addition, you’ll receive a monthly email full of hints and tips, including advice from other students who’ve already been through the UCAS Teacher Training application process.