initial teacher training
(school Direct)

School centered initial teacher training led and delivered by outstanding practicing teachers



Have you always had a passion for teaching?
Train to teach with Learners First from September 2023
Primary, Secondary and Special school training places available.

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Initial Teacher Training

Recruitment for 2023/24 Academic Year

Applications for Teacher Training are conducted via APPLY not UCAS for the 2023/24 academic year. The application window opened on 11th October 2022.

Find postgraduate teacher training courses in England

A service to help graduates find the most relevant postgraduate teacher training courses.

Use this service if you’re a graduate and you plan to train to teach in a state primary or secondary school in England. You can search courses by location, provider and subject.

When you’ve chosen a course or courses, you’ll be redirected to APPLY to complete your application.


Interested in becoming a teacher?

To work as a teacher in state maintained schools (excluding academies and free schools) in England and Wales you need to have professional qualified teacher status (QTS). To be awarded QTS by the Department for Education (DfE) you must complete a period of training, such as a one-year Professional or Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course or school-centred training, which recommends you for QTS. This is known as initial teacher training (ITT).

Although different training providers may have specific recruitment criteria, there are some basic eligibility requirements for teacher training in England.

What is school direct?

School Direct is an ever increasingly popular alternative route into teaching which is more school-based and school-led than a traditional one year PGCE.

  • 80% of the programme is spent in at least 2 schools training, teaching and observing lessons and best practice.
  • The remaining 20% is spent at our partner HEI studying for the PGCE element of the programme.
  • The school based part of the programme is bespoke to the individual.
  • Full and comprehensive support network for each trainee.
  • Graduating the programme means the award of QTS and PGCE.
  • Upon graduation via the School Direct route, there is the intention to offer graduates their first job as a teacher. Over the past 2 years 96% of Learners First School Direct graduates have been offered employment within our partnership of schools.

How to apply to a training provider

All candidates have to apply via DfE APPLY. It is advisable before you apply to look at the ITT entry criteria before applying. Full entry criteria can be found here.

The application process for starting School Direct in September 2023 opened on APPLY on 11th October 2022.

If you feel that you do not meet the entry criteria, please contact the team who can discuss this with you. Our team can be contacted here.

0 %

of all ITT trainees with Learners First graduate from the programme

0 %

of ITT trainees with Learners First are graded good or outstanding upon graduation

0 %

of ITT graduates with Learners First are employed before or immediately after graduation


ITT graduates with Learners First are now employed as teachers

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Why Train With Learners First?

Learners First is an inclusive teaching school partnership of over 200 schools from all phases. The School Direct programme has been developed over a number of years to be:



Applications will be assessed prior to interview based on a number of criteria, including qualifications. For those that meet the entry requirements an invite to an interview will be sent via email. Trainee teachers are selected not only by seeing whether they meet the academic criteria, but also on their passion for teaching all children and young people and whether they have the aspirations to be an outstanding and inspirational teacher in and out of the classroom. This will be assessed during your interview. Interviews will include a pupil engagement element, a written activity, a test of subject knowledge and a panel interview.



Teacher trainees who are commencing their training year after 1 April 2020, are not required to take the professional skills tests. Learners First will assure that all trainees have the fundamental English and mathematics to become a teacher either at interview or during the training course.



The Department for Education (DfE) offer a tax-free bursary for ITT. This is dependent on your degree classification and subject you wish to train in.

Financial support for trainee teachers has never been better. You could get £24,000 tax-free while you train, either as a bursary or prestigious scholarship – or you could earn a salary of up to £19, 340 while you train on a School Direct (salaried or apprenticeship) course.

For further details please click here.

The cost of undertaking the School Direct route into Teacher Training is £9,250. However, each trainee will have the option to apply for extra funding through Student Finance England For further information on funding click here.

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If you have any queries regarding the Learners First School Direct programme, please email or complete the form using the link provided and a member of the team will respond to your query as soon as possible.



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