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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

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) training programmes are available for prospective primary and secondary school teachers. Students must complete a minimum of 120 days in a school, among blocks of study at their chosen training provider.

  • Typically a one year programme, the Postgraduate Certificate in Education can contain up to 60 credits at master’s degree level. The number of credits can vary between training programmes. Some training providers give you the chance to earn the credits required for a full master’s degree once you’ve completed your training.
  • Typically a two year programme, the Postgraduate Diploma in Education can contain up to 120 credits at master’s degree level. The number of credits will vary from one training programme to another. Depending on the provider, you may be able to study for the credits needed for a full master’s degree once you’ve completed your training.
  • You don’t need a PGCE or PGDE to teach in England, although you may find it useful later on if, for example, you want to teach in another part of the UK, or in another country. Alternatively, you might want to move on to complete a master’s degree.
  • The academic level involved can vary 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.
The Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (ProfGCE) is similar to the PGCE, in that it still enables trainee teachers to work towards their Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). However, it does not contain credits at master’s degree level.
If you’re based in Scotland, the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) is equivalent to the PGCE in England – see other routes.

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)

Students who opt for a School Direct (salaried) training programme are employed by a school 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. 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, which is able to certify successful trainees. This is an England only study option.

  • This 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 QTS recommendation, and won’t need to pay any tuition fees. 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.

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.