The Odyssey programme follows the three phases of the GITEP SCITT programme:
Explore covers induction and parent placement 1. Three weeks of professional studies in September are followed by three weeks of school induction, exploring the application of education theory in the context of the parent school. After October half-term, assessed teaching time gradually increases, to 9-11 hours a week by December. The PGCE assignment focuses on inclusion for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. You will explore the differing needs of pupils and how teachers adapt their practice to include them in learning.
Embed covers the twin placement, taking place between January and March. This gives you the opportunity to embed your practice in a different school context, a contrasting one as far as possible. You will be encouraged to begin to try new approaches and to be more creative, as you embed your learning from the Explore stage. Assessed teaching time increases to 11-13 hours a week. The PGCE assignment focuses on medium-term planning, giving you the opportunity to reflect on subject specific pedagogy, through making connections between analysis of academic literature and evaluation of your own classroom practice.
Enhance covers parent placement 2, from April to June. You will return to a familiar environment with the opportunity to really progress and enhance your practice. This placement aims to give a better understanding of the big picture, with longer term planning and use of a variety of techniques to assess pupil outcomes. Assessed teaching time increases to 13-15 hours a week. The PGCE assignment focuses on researching a current issue relating to your subject curriculum, enhancing and deepening your understanding of subject pedagogy.
Subject sessions take place every Thursday throughout the course, led by the GITEP subject leader. Groups are no more than 15 and include all trainees in your subject from across partnership schools. These sessions focus on exploring current issues in your subject, developing expertise and equipping you with a range of teaching strategies. Close collaboration between your subject lead and mentor in school supports you to apply this learning directly into your classroom practice,
Trainees complete three assignments, supported by school-based professional leads and subject leaders. The programme leads to a PGCE awarded by the University of Bristol, with 60 Master’s level credits.
All trainees will undertake placements in 2 schools following a ‘parent/twin/parent’ structure. Trainees are placed in a “parent” school from October to December, a contrasting “twin” school from January to March and return to the “parent” school from April to June. Placements are 9-10 weeks in length.
We want trainees to feel part of the school community while on placement and trainees will spend most of their time in school.
Each school has a professional lead, responsible for overseeing all the trainees within the school, and trainees are allocated a mentor, a subject specialist who will see them most days and meet with them individually once a week to review their training and plan next steps.
The Odyssey partner schools are:
Pate’s Grammar School, Cheltenham
Sir Thomas Rich’s Grammar School, Gloucester
Tewkesbury School, Tewkesbury
Barnwood Park School, Gloucester
Cheltenham Bournside School and Sixth Form Centre, Cheltenham
Placements are arranged in discussion with trainees. Most trainees are keen to have a combination of a grammar school and a comprehensive school and we work with trainees to find the right combination for them. All trainees must undertake at least one placement in a comprehensive school.
All our partner schools are within a 10 mile radius in the Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury triangle so travel distances are short and all schools are accessible by public transport. Any centrally delivered training from GITEP SCITT takes place in Cheltenham or Gloucester.
Although trainees are full students of the University of Bristol no training takes place at the University. University tutors will visit GITEP SCITT training sessions in Gloucestershire when appropriate.
An undergraduate degree at class 2:2 or above, or equivalent.
Your degree subject should be in biology or a similar subject. Otherwise you’ll need to prove your subject knowledge in some other way.
Grade 4 (C) or above in English and maths, or equivalent qualification.
We’ll consider candidates with pending GCSEs.
We’ll consider candidates who need to take a GCSE equivalency test in English or maths.
We know that outstanding teachers come from many different backgrounds and have a range of prior experiences. We welcome applications from trainees from all walks of life and recognise the different qualities and skills that they can potentially bring to the profession. Passion, resilience and a willingness to reflect and learn as a professional are however key.
All trainees will be subject to an enhanced DBS check prior to the start of the course. Trainees with less prior experience in school may also be required to undertake a short period of work experience. Subject Knowledge Enhancement may be offered if appropriate.
Fees and financial support
The course fees for UK students in 2023 to 2024 are £9,250.
Financial support from the training provider
For the most up to date advice, visit Get Into Teaching (Funding your training). You may be eligible for a loan while you study – note that you’ll have to apply for undergraduate student finance.
GITEP does operate a hardship fund for trainees experiencing financial difficulties. They are supported by Gloucestershire Association of Secondary Headteachers Ltd, a charity dedicated to supporting teacher training and professional development in Gloucestershire schools. The trustees of GASH Ltd, who are all secondary headteachers, are aware that the decrease in bursaries means that some trainees will find training difficult financially and have increased the amount available to our hardship fund. Any awards made do not have to be repaid. The fund is limited and discretionary and we cannot guarantee that an award will be made. Applications can be made at any point in the programme.
About the training provider
Why choose to train with Odyssey?
The Odyssey alliance is led by Pate’s Grammar School, a school rated outstanding by Ofsted and awarded the title Sunday Times School of the Year in 2020. Exam results consistently place us in the top 10 state schools nationally.
The Odyssey School Direct programme has been operating for ten years and has an excellent employment track record. The vast majority of Odyssey trainees go on to work in one of our partner schools.
At secondary level, there is an opportunity to train in both the grammar and comprehensive sectors. The Odyssey partnership includes schools with very large and very strong sixth forms and will be of particular interest to trainees keen to use their subject expertise and gain significant experience of A level teaching. This is enhanced by working with GITEP SCITT, an outstanding school-centred provider with a focus on subject specialism. The PGCE is awarded by the University of Bristol, one of the top schools of education in the country.
At primary level, there is an opportunity to train in an alliance of strong Gloucestershire-based primary schools, all recognised for their exceptional staff development, who share a rich history and commitment to employing School Direct trainees. You will receive all the benefits of the University of Gloucestershire PGCE course but with more time in schools, learning from experienced teachers and feeling part of the school community.
Together, we are able to offer an unrivalled opportunity to start a career in teaching.
About the accredited body
GITEP SCITT is a highly successful school centred initial teacher training provider, rated outstanding by Ofsted. GITEP SCITT works with the University of Bristol (also rated outstanding) to offer the academic PGCE. GITEP and the University both focus solely on secondary teacher training and share a commitment to developing outstanding subject expertise. Trainees have a subject session with their GITEP subject leader every week throughout the course and also have a University subject tutor to support with the PGCE assignments.
All interviews are held in Odyssey partner schools. Your interview will have 3 parts.
Part 1: General Interview
This will be a panel interview, with staff from partner schools and a representative from GITEP SCITT. We will look to explore with you your reasons for wanting to teach.
Part 2: Subject Knowledge Interview
This will be an interview with a subject specialist and will explore where your current subject knowledge strengths and weaknesses lie.
Part 3: Lesson
We will ask you to prepare (in advance) a short lesson to deliver to a group of students.
You’ll need the right to study in the UK. You already have this if, for example, you:
guidance on the UK equivalents of your qualifications
a free statement of comparability once you’ve submitted your application (if we ask you for this)
Training with disabilities and other needs
As an alliance we take great pride in knowing and supporting our trainees personally. Our trainees come from a variety of backgrounds, and we are committed to enabling access to the profession for all. Please contact us if you would like to better understand how we may be able to support any access requirements that you have.
Trainees receive excellent support from mentors and professional leads in schools, as well as their subject leader. Liaison between schools and Odyssey is very strong and we are used to making reasonable adjustments to help trainees, both short term and over the whole course.
All GITEP PGCE trainees are registered as students with the University of Bristol, and this gives access to the full range of student services offered by the University. This includes support with academic assignments for trainees with dyslexia and all the University counselling and student support services. Trainees with disabilities and other needs are strongly encouraged to register with the University Library Support service.
Pate's Grammar School Princess Elizabeth Way Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL51 0HG
Support and advice
You can speak to a teacher training adviser
for free, dedicated advice. They are all experienced teachers who can give you one-to-one support with your application. They can also help you
get school experience, and find events where you can speak to training providers and teachers.
Call Get Into Teaching free of charge on 0800 389 2500, or
Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm (except public holidays).