Astra SCITT Religious Education (2ZK2)

Postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS)

Financial support
Student finance if you’re eligible

A postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with qualified teacher status (QTS) will allow you to teach in state schools in England and may allow you to teach in other parts of the UK.

It may also allow you to teach overseas, though you should always check what qualifications are needed in the country you’d like to teach in.

Many PGCE courses include credits that count toward a Master’s degree.

Age range
11 to 16 - secondary
Course length
1 year - full time
Date you can apply from
11 October 2022
Date course starts
September 2023


Course summary

Astra trainees in RE are prepared to teach the full 11-16 age range for RE, including GCSE specifications and Sixth Form experience, with a main placement in one school and a shorter second placement in a contrasting school. The ITT course is structured around the ‘Astra Learning Star’, which satisfies and exceeds the requirements of the Core Content Framework as a coherent sequence to support trainees to succeed in the classroom.

Our Professional Studies programme focuses on the development of professional knowledge, values and practices of teachers and their importance in the classroom and in the wider school context. Astra’s principle is to develop trainees to be reflective, have strong practical classroom skills and excellent subject knowledge. Trainees learn how to use theory to inform their classroom practice and trainees gain detailed understanding of RE as a school subject, secondary education, as well as outstanding skills in learning to plan and teach lessons which are creative and engaging.

Astra trainees spend four days per week in their placement schools and one day in central training. All training and assessment will lead to the award of Qualified Teacher Status. Additionally, the optional PGCE qualification includes 60 credits at Masters level.

Your progress against the Astra curriculum will be formatively assessed throughout the course with final summative assessment against the Teachers’ Standards. Assessment is based on evidence of your teaching, wider contribution to school life and the ability to reflect on and evaluate these experiences. Progress towards this is monitored through weekly reflections, objective setting, regular lesson observations and QTS assignments. Trainees pursuing the PGCE will also write additional two assignments designed to deepen reflections on school experience in the light of educational research.

Secondary subject studies will focus on the teaching of each subject, including its place in the National Curriculum; what is taught; how it is taught; how it is assessed; providing for young people with different backgrounds and abilities; teaching in accordance with examination specification requirements; and using ICT effectively to facilitate learning.

Fee-funded or bursary-led trainees are always supernumerary and the work in school will take a variety of forms including observing experienced teachers and team teaching, gradually taking responsibility for the learning of whole classes and getting involved in all aspects of school life.

School placements

We endeavour to match the right trainee to the right partner school for their main placement based on their initial preference, geography / distance from home, and areas of specific interest.

This course is offered at the locations shown on our website

You will be given the opportunity to express your placement school preference if your application is shortlisted.

All trainees will have two teaching placement schools, requiring them to teach across the 11-16 age range. (14-19 yrs for Economics/Business Studies trainees).

QTS studies take place with the SCITT every Wednesday at a range of venues, with the other four days per week being spent in school. If doing the PGCE trainees will spend 5-6 days across the year on PGCE studies. Bursary-led / unsalaried trainee timetable allocations is approximately 30% in the first term, rising to a maximum allocation of 70% in the final placement out of the four days in school.

Astra has over 50 partners signed up to the SCITT Partnership Agreement which demands that each school supplies dedicated and high quality one-to-one Mentor support and in-school Professional Studies to complement the core QTS programme offered by the SCITT each week. Trainees will also be expected to attend events such as parents’ evening and contribute to report writing during the year. While there is no guarantee of permanent employment with placement schools, a considerable number of our trainees do go on to secure employment within our partnership.

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

An undergraduate degree, or equivalent.

Your degree subject should be in religious education 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 will not consider candidates with pending GCSEs.

We’ll consider candidates who need to take a GCSE equivalency test in English or maths.

Candidates should use a third party provider for equivalency tests.

Personal qualities

Candidates should have the potential to become outstanding teachers, demonstrated by strong subject knowledge; ability to communicate with enthusiasm about learning; ability to reflect on experiences of working with young people, and knowledge of the curriculum and educational issues.

Other requirements include being ambitious to teach at a good or outstanding level; highly motivated (with the ability to also motivate students); high professional standards; a willingness to play a part in the wider school life; commitment to professional development, and strong communication skills.

Further experience of working with children, for example helping with a youth/sports club is desirable.

Other requirements

The potential to write at Masters level is a requirement for PGCE candidates.

For secondary trainees on the 11-16 programme we require the ability to teach up to A Level in your subject. Candidates will be required to have an Enhanced DBS check, and health clearance.

Requirement to complete a funded Subject Knowledge Enhancement course will be determined at the point of offer.

Hard copy evidence of all required academic qualifications will need to be provided before an unconditional offer can be made.

Fees and financial support

The course fees for UK students in 2023 to 2024 are £9,250.

About the training provider

At Astra, we see you as an individual and as a leader of the future. Our SCITT is a diverse and supportive network of over 50 schools, founded on the principles of ‘Excellence; Collaboration; Innovation; Support’ and offering a talented and dedicated team of staff as well as a professional working environment and forward-looking technology systems. We are rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted (2018) in all categories for ITE and offer School Direct QTS salaried, bursary-led/unsalaried QTS or QTS & PGCE full and part time programmes in a wide range of subjects and phases.

From the very beginning of your training year, you will be treated as a member of staff in your placement school, attending staff meetings, parents’ evenings and development days.
Your main placement school will be in one of our networks across Buckinghamshire or Hertfordshire. See our website,, for a list of our schools.

Professional studies training will take place every Wednesday and will be hosted either online or at local venues, including partnership schools. For unsalaried trainees doing the PGCE, six taught sessions take place across the year.

During your training, you will be assigned an in-school Mentor and an ITT Coordinator. Secondary trainees will also have a Subject Tutor. These colleagues, alongside a designated university tutor (for PGCE trainees), will monitor your progress and support you on your learning journey, framed around the government’s Core Content Framework. All Astra staff are experienced teachers and are required to undertake regular and rigorous training.

Interview process

There are two recruitment hubs operating on behalf of the Astra SCITT for both primary and secondary recruitment across our network of over 50 schools:

Astra SCITT/Astra Amersham & Marlow Hub - Amersham and surrounding area, including Marlow and Maidenhead.

Astra Aylesbury Hub - Aylesbury / surrounding area.

Candidates should apply via DfE Apply to their preferred Astra SCITT Hub, which will then coordinate the recruitment process. If your application is shortlisted, candidates will be invited for a first stage interview at one of our Hub locations.

The application and interview process for each hub is identical and is quality assured by the leadership team at the Astra SCITT. It will take one of the following formats:

Stage 1 will consist of a panel interview, delivery of a short presentation, and subject specific tests. If successful at this stage, you will be invited to attend a Stage 2 interview, which will take place at your prospective main placement school and include a school tour, being observed leading part of a lesson (you will be told in advance about the content of the lesson you will need to plan, and the age group you will be teaching) and concluding with a discussion on the lesson. Stages 1 and 2 may also be combined with all of the above elements taking place at your prospective main placement school.

International candidates

You’ll need the right to study in the UK. You already have this if, for example, you:

  • are an Irish citizen
  • have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (you may still be able to apply)
  • have indefinite leave to remain in the UK

If you do not already have the right to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa. The main visa for fee-paying courses (those that you have to pay for) is the Student visa.

To apply for a Student visa, you’ll need to be sponsored by your training provider.

Sponsorship is not available for this course.

If you need a visa, filter your course search to find courses with visa sponsorship.

Alternatively, check if you’re eligible for a different type of visa, such as a Graduate or Family visa, that allows you to train to be a teacher without being sponsored.

Find out more about training to teach in England.

International qualifications

If your qualifications come from a non-UK institution, we may want to see a ‘statement of comparability’ from UK ENIC. This will show us how they compare to UK qualifications.

You can call Get Into Teaching on 0800 389 2500 for:

  • 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

Astra trainees will be assessed through our Occupational Health service before starting the course in order to ensure they meet the “Fitness to Teach” requirements. This is also to help us identify any additional needs which will require support during the programme. We are experienced in making necessary adjustments to help facilitate trainees with disabilities and other conditions, including dyslexia (eg making training slides available in advance where possible), physical, hearing and visual impairments (eg providing handouts on specific coloured paper; supporting the use of specific software); and mental health conditions, to ensure they are not disadvantaged in any way. If a preferred main location was not fully accessible for a trainee, we would find an alternative wherever possible. Astra gives all trainees full access to an Employee Assistance Programme which can provide access to counselling and other support and advice where appropriate.

Contact this training provider

01494 787573
Dr Challoner's Grammar School
Chesham Rd

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 chat online Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm (except public holidays).

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