So you are a graduate teaching assistant and you would like to gain QTS and become a qualified teacher. What are your options?
This article focuses on how you can gain QTS through the School Direct route whilst being paid while you train. So you definitely don’t need to put off training to be a teacher because you can’t afford it!
We will also have a look at how Key Skills Education can help you find that valuable placement that leads to a coveted placement on the salaried School Direct programme.
There is never a more exciting time to be getting into teaching in London, with the chance to earn high salaries and move up the ladder quickly with excellent career development prospects.
There are now two main graduate routes into teaching: the School Direct path, which we will have a look at now, and the traditional Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), which is based at universities.
The School Direct Path to QTS
The School Direct was introduced in 2012 as an initiative to move teacher training towards a more school-based approach – the rationale behind this is that schools can better provide practical, hands-on teacher training delivered by practicing teachers rather than university lecturers.
A School Direct training programme will last for 1 year and on successful completion you will be awarded QTS and will then go on to do your Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) induction year. The school that accepts the trainee onto the School Direct are required to partner up with an accredited provider, usually a University or school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) consortium.
Trainees are gradually introduced to the full teacher role, starting off with a small timetable of teaching alongside lesson observations, with teaching time increasing as you develop in the role. The School Direct training year will also include a second placement at a different school that can last up to 6 weeks.
Why choose to train via School Direct?
The School Direct route to QTS accreditation has several advantages to the more traditional university based approach, here we have noted a few:
– One of the most important skillsets you will develop as a teacher is the ability to build and maintain strong and meaningful relationships with your students. Training to be a teacher through School Direct gives you the assurance from the start of the academic year that you will be with your students for the whole year and allows you to hone this skill from day one of your training.
– A trainee’s most valuable resource for knowledge and assistance throughout their journey is their fellow staff members. Through training on the School Direct you will get the opportunity to participate as a member of the teaching community from your first day, allowing you to tap into this resource and get the support you need on your journey.
– You will benefit from weekly meetings with your professional mentor at the school to discuss progress and ensure your progress towards QTS. You will also benefit from daily guidance from either a curriculum mentor (secondary school training) or an experienced class teacher (primary school training). These professionals will be able to give you feedback and guidance on your teaching every step of the way.
– Often trainees through the School Direct are offered a job at the school they trained and go on to do their induction year at the same school, so the relationships you build up during your training year will benefit you for your first few years of your teaching career.
– You may have the opportunity to get on the School Direct Salaried programme, where your training costs are covered by the school and you are paid to train as an unqualified teacher.
How do I qualify for the salaried School Direct route?
The School Direct (salaried) programme is available for both primary school and secondary school teacher training.
Typically to be accepted onto this route trainees should have 3 years work experience, ideally education related but transferable experience will be considered. The National College for Teaching and Learning does allow applications from high calibre graduates with less than 3 years experience, especially for hard-to-fill teaching roles. This is at the discretion of the training school.
What qualifications do I need to be accepted onto School Direct?
Applicants for the Schools Direct must have a good undergraduate degree (at least a 2:2) and grade C or above in GCSE English and Maths. If you are training to become a Primary School Teacher or Early Years Teacher you will also need grade C or above in GCSE science.
How Can Key Skills Education help you?
We work with several schools across London that recruit graduate teaching assistants onto the salaried School Direct teacher training programme.
Initially you would start working at the school as a teaching assistant with a view to being accepted onto the programme for the following academic year. This can give you the opportunity to show your enthusiasm towards the profession and ability as a teacher and give yourself a good chance of being offered a coveted placement on the salaried School Direct training programme at the school. This will also give you invaluable experience in the school that will confirm that it is an environment you would like to train in.
If you would like to find out more, please get in contact with us or check out our current teaching assistant vacancies
If you are not eligible for the salaried School Direct, you can still benefit from the advantages of training directly with a primary or secondary school through the unsalaried School Direct route.
Just like on the university lead PGCE route, you are eligible for a training bursary or scholarship and can apply for the same financial support, such as student loans.
Download our checklist for gaining QTS via the School Direct route here, which also gives you information about how much funding you could be eligible for on the unsalaried route as a UK or EU citizen: