School Direct

School Direct is a one-year full-time route into teaching leading to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Trainees train to teach either the full curriculum across two consecutive age ranges (3-5 years, 5-7 years, 7-9 years, 9-11 years) at Primary level, or in their subject specialism across two consecutive key stages (KS3 & KS4) at Secondary level. 

School Direct is designed to enable schools to take a leading role in initial teacher training (ITT), but still work in close partnership with accredited ITT providers (such as the University of Reading). At University of Reading we work with over 200 schools - both Primary and Secondary- to offer this route into teaching. Since its introduction in 2012/3 over 250 trainees have successfully completed the programme and our trainee numbers are increasing every year.

GTP student with a primary school class


On successful completion of the School Direct programme there is an expectation that trainees will be offered employment, either by the school in which they trained or elsewhere within the group of schools involved in the School Direct provision. However, this employment is not guaranteed.


Primary School Direct

Places are also available on the Subject Specialist in Primary (Mathematics) School Direct route. This new and innovative option aims to provide trainees with the capacity to teach mathematics across the primary age-range to a high standard, and to take on a leadership role in supporting other teachers in this key subject. The programme will address mathematical subject knowledge, pedagogical understanding and leadership skills to nurture a confident practitioner able to make an immediate professional impact. Although providing additional expertise in the teaching of mathematics, trainees will receive a broad and rich preparation for teaching to ensure that they meet the full range of Teachers' Standards. Two modules required for this route are at postgraduate level and could contribute subsequently to the requirements of a Masters programme.

Secondary School Direct

Priority for Secondary School Direct places will be given to those subjects with the greatest need - currently Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Modern Languages. Some schools will additionally be able to offer places in the arts and humanities and other areas of the curriculum according to local need. Places will also be available to train in Primary schools and other settings such as Special schools and, it is expected, Pupil Referral Units.  A full list of the secondary specialist subjects available via the School Direct route is provided below:

Candidates wishing to teach Mathematics, Physics/Chemistry or Computer Science at Secondary level and who do not have a related degree should also visit the Subject Knowledge Enhancement page.

The University of Reading and its School Direct partners are fully committed to equal opportunities. We welcome applications to the School Direct programme from all sections of the community, from people at all stages of life and seek to make the School Direct programme as inclusive as possible.


Two pathways for School Direct

 There are two pathways of School Direct:

  • The School Direct programme
  • The School Direct (salaried) programme

On successful completion of either pathway of School Direct, the trainee will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). It is possible that in some schools trainees will also be able to work for the award of PGCE. Further details can be discussed with the Schools.

The standard School Direct programme is open to all graduates. It is funded by tuition fees paid by the trainee. These may vary from school to school. In a model similar to the PGCE, a trainee may receive a bursary from the Teaching Agency (TA) that will in whole or part offset the tuition fees. Further information about bursaries is available on the DfE website - funding pages.

The School Direct (salaried) programme is intended for high quality career changers. There is an expectation that candidates for the School Direct (salaried) pathway will have at least a 2.1 classification for their first degree, and they must demonstrate three years' career experience. Statutory minimum entry requirements for teacher training also apply; see below.

Trainees on School Direct (salaried) will be paid, as a minimum, on the lowest point of the unqualified teacher scale (currently £15817 outside of London). The Teaching Agency (NCTL) provides funding, which the school can use to subsidise the trainee's salary and/or training.

Recruitment and selection

Recruitment and selection of trainees to the School Direct programme is primarily the responsibility of the schools involved. Applications should be made direct to the school through UCAS, and interview procedures may vary from school to school. However, staff from the University of Reading will work with schools to assess the suitability of candidates for the programme.

You can apply for a School Direct place to more than one school, and also for other routes into teaching such as our campus-based Primary or Secondary PGCE programmes.

It is expected that schools will recruit for School Direct in different ways, including:

  • advertising
  • open evenings
  • receiving direct approaches
  • supporting applications by existing staff

Visit the Department for Education web site for more information on School Direct, or contact the University of Reading School Direct administration team on


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