Forest of Dean Schools Direct (Formerly WGSP Schools Direct) Primary (3CPC)

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

Accredited body
The University of Gloucestershire
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
5 to 11
Course length
1 year - full time
Date you can apply from
11 October 2022
Date course starts
September 2023


Course summary

Forest of Dean Schools Direct is an exciting one-year primary teacher training programme delivered in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire (UofG) and the West Gloucestershire Schools’ Partnership.

Choosing our programme means you will be in the classroom from the beginning, enabling you to feel part of the team and a member of staff. You will have two substantial teaching placements in different key stages plus an enhanced placement in a different setting or in one of your previous schools. You will spend most of your time in school but will also attend regular Continuous Professional Development (CPD) sessions in the FoD delivered by our teachers and specialist experts plus some sessions at the UofG campus in Cheltenham.

Our CPD programme equips you with the tools, subject knowledge and understanding to teach all aspects of the curriculum from maths to history! This, coupled with our school-based approach, enables you to develop your professional skills in diverse and supportive settings, allowing you to put theory into practice in the classroom.

You will work alongside and learn from expert teachers in the different placements which include:

  • single / mixed age classes
  • town / rural schools
  • church / non-denominational schools
  • mainstream, pre-school, secondary, special and alternative provision schools

You will have a school-based mentor in each placement who will meet you on a weekly basis to monitor and review your progress, regularly observe your teaching and provide written/verbal feedback. In addition, you will meet with our programme lead mentor (who oversees the training programme) and our other students on a weekly basis to share your experiences and participate in CPD. You will also have a UofG link tutor who will visit you in school to observe your teaching and assess your progress. This approach enables your subject knowledge, pedagogy and development as a reflective and professional practitioner to be assessed.

Formal assessment takes place throughout the year - there is no final written examination. Assessment is by assessed practical teaching against the Teachers’ Standards, (you will be required to maintain a portfolio of evidence to support this) and two assignments set and marked by the UofG. This will lead to the award of Qualified Teacher Status and a PGCE. In addition, you will have gained a wealth of knowledge and skills to use in your future teaching career!

So – what are you waiting for? Come and join us!

School placements

All our placements/phases take place in the beautiful Forest of Dean - a rural area between the Rivers Severn and Wye. 31% of the population live in four market towns, the remainder in smaller, rural and scattered settlements.

You will be teaching children aged 5-11 years and placements are provided across our partnership schools. When placing students, we consider requests for placements alongside the strengths and previous experience of our students to ensure you are in placements which provide the best learning environments for your needs.

Unlike PGCEs, School Direct students are based in school from the start. Our programme comprises three school placements enabling you to spend most of your training in the classroom. The placements/phases cover KS1 and KS2 in at least two separate schools. We also ensure you gain experience of teaching in mixed-age classes as well as working in different types of schools such as Church and academy /grant-maintained schools. Each placement has an assessed period where your teaching will be observed and assessed by your school mentor, our lead mentor and the UofG’s link tutor.

  • Developing Phase / Placement 1 (September – December 2023): You will observe and reflect on your practice and with support, plan, teach and assess groups and whole class, with 60% teaching by the end of term.

  • Broadening Phase / Main Placement (January – Easter 2024): Planning, teaching and assessing the whole class with increasing independence with 80% teaching responsibility for the final 4-5 weeks.

  • Enhancing Phase / Enhanced Placement (April – June 2024): An opportunity for you to pursue personal targets and develop the range of your experience whilst continuing to undertake an 80% teaching commitment.

Visits will also take place to other settings during the year including a secondary school, an alternative provision school, a pre-school and a special school.

These placements along with the comprehensive CPD programme covering all aspects of pedagogy and the curriculum, will ensure once qualified, you can hit the ground running as a teacher! Don’t just take our word for it, check out comments from recent students on our website!

Entry requirements

Qualifications needed

An undergraduate degree at class 2:2 or above, or equivalent.

Grade 4 (C) or above in English, maths and science, or equivalent qualification.

We’ll consider candidates with pending GCSEs.

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

We accept equivalency tests through []

Evidence of grade C/4 or above in English, maths and science GCSE qualifications or equivalency tests will be required before the start of the programme

Personal qualities

We are looking for the next generation of stand-out teachers - students who are passionate and excited about making a difference to our children and our schools. We want people who:

  • Are confident and able to engage with children
  • Have excellent communication and organisational skills
  • Are committed to working hard and being professional
  • Can establish good working relationships
  • Have a commitment to a professional team and to excellence in education
  • Are flexible – crucial in an active and constantly changing educational environment

Is this you? If so, come and join us!

Other requirements

FoD Schools Direct is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of vulnerable children/adults and expects all our students to share this commitment.

If you are offered a place on the programme, we will arrange for you to have a DBS check, as it is a mandatory entry requirement for this programme. This will check details of any cautions, convictions, reprimands, or warnings recorded against your name (even where they would generally be considered spent) or will confirm that you have none.

This will allow our schools and the UofG to assess your suitability for access to these vulnerable groups.

Fees and financial support

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

About the training provider

We are based in the idyllic Forest of Dean where Star Wars and Dr Who were filmed, and which also provided JK Rowling with the inspiration for Harry Potter! The Forest is a rural area between the Rivers Severn and Wye, where 31% of the population live in four market towns, the remainder in small widely scattered settlements. However, this idyll masks the fact that some areas are in the 10% most deprived wards nationally for “Education, Skills & Training” and “Income Deprivation Affecting Children” and there is a real need to raise aspirations of Forest children at an early age to make an impact in their adult life.

To make this happen, Forest of Dean Schools Direct works in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire and West Gloucestershire Schools Partnership, to design and deliver our Schools Direct Programme. The emphasis on ‘partnership’ is fundamental in our intention to produce highly skilled confident teachers who can make a difference to the lives of children in our schools. This approach has led to 100% of our previous students rating our programme as Very Good /Good and 95% of our graduates employed in Gloucestershire schools.

A quote from one recent student says it all: “I have loved this course and will be recommending it to so many people. Thank you for helping me grow and believing in me, even when I doubted myself. I have grown in confidence and self-belief and am now ready to teach!”

So - why go anywhere else?

About the accredited body

Our teacher training programme is carried out in partnership with The University of Gloucestershire. Find out more at (

Interview process

Once you have submitted your application, a panel of headteachers / senior leaders will assess your application looking for, amongst other things, evidence of a passion for teaching, professionalism, ability to engage with children and a good standard of written English.

Suitable candidates will be invited to attend a selection process in one of our host schools or online if the COVID situation dictates. The selection process will include interaction with children, written tasks in mathematics and English, and a discussion with an interview panel of headteachers / senior leaders from our schools. We have designed our recruitment process to obtain as much information as possible about our potential students to ensure that successful applicants and placements can be suitably matched, enabling our students to develop into future teachers.

Once you have been given a conditional offer of a place on our School Direct Programme, the references provided by your referees will be reviewed - if you currently work in a school, one of these should be from your headteacher. Depending upon your previous experience and development needs, you may also be expected to undertake a school experience placement in one of our schools before starting the programme. During this experience, you will be expected to use the professional teaching standards to shape how you work with the children. This will help you in starting to develop self-reflective skills (essential in teaching) and to be clear in understanding your professional responsibilities as a teacher.

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

The schools within the Forest of Dean Schools Direct Programme are actively inclusive and promote positive attitudes towards children and adults with disabilities.

It is our policy to discuss any specific requirements with students individually, but we have experience with helping students and staff who attend our training with support in areas such as dyslexia and visual impairment. In addition, we can accommodate staff and students with physical disabilities in most of our schools.

As part of the Schools Direct Programme, our students receive support with well-being which puts the role of teaching into context and provides strategies to help them look after themselves and have a good work-life balance.

Contact this training provider

01594 842172
Forest of Dean Schools Direct
Lydney CofE Primary
Bream Road
Lydney, Gloucestershire
GL15 5JH

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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