This is a School Direct salaried training programme which leads to Qualified Teacher Status and the Post Graduate Certificate in Education. (QTS + PGCE students undertake additional modules of study through the university in order to achieve the award of PGCE).
Trainees are employed by the main training school and paid a salary on the unqualified teacher scale. During the Autumn term there is a lot of observation of lessons and teachers, and a programme of training both at the University of Reading (one day a week) and in our group of schools (half a day a fortnight). Just before Christmas the trainees move to a second school for a period of five weeks, which runs on to the end of January. During this time there will be extensive teaching practice. Returning to the main school, trainees teach for 60% of the week during the Spring term, and then step up to 80% in the Summer.
Interviews are held over a single day. The interviewers are headteachers and Initial Teacher training Co-ordinators from the schools in our group.
Applications are reviewed by all the headteachers in the group. Each one will have a shortlist of candidates he or she wishes to interview. At interview the headteachers will be involved with all the candidates but will be particularly interested in the ones they have shortlisted. After the interviews, the headteachers will discuss all the candidates they have seen and decide which ones we wish to make offers of training places. Since the training is based mainly in a single school, heads will agree between them which school will make an offer to which candidate. It is not unknown for a headteacher to come to the interviews with a shortlist in mind and to have his or her mind changed at interview so that he or she ends up making an offer to a candidate who was not on their original shortlist.
For most of the year candidates will be based in their main school; for the second school placement, which is a period of five weeks starting before Christmas and extending to the end of January, we try to place candidates in a contrasting school. For both the main school and the second school, we are always conscious of the distance a candidate has to travel and we are open to suggestions from the candidate whose views will always be taken into account when allocating placements.
We are looking for candidates with good academic qualifications, including a good first degree, and GCSEs or equivalent in Maths, English and Science.
We are looking for candidates who have significant experience of schools, either of working or volunteering in a school for a reasonable amount of time. Candidates should also be able to demonstrate an understanding of the demands of teaching and to be able to relate well to children.
Applicants for places on School Direct salaried programmes should have 3 years’ full-time work experience (in any industry).
All those who work in schools must have a DBS check.
School Direct (salaried) trainees are paid on the unqualified teachers’ pay scale. The employing school pays all course fees.
Fees and financial support
About the training provider
We are an established School Direct cluster, which was previously based at Christ the King Catholic primary school in Reading. Our cluster is made up of a group of primary schools in the Reading area. We want our trainees to become the very best teachers they can possibly be, so we offer a programme of supplementary training to complement the training provided by Reading University. This is mainly in the Autumn term, for half a day a fortnight. All trainees need to work in at least two schools over the year and our group is both large enough and varied enough for everyone to have a worthwhile contrasting experience. For example, if the main school is a large faith school in an urban environment, the second placement might be a small community school in a rural location. Since the cluster started, we have successfully trained more than 30 teachers who have gone on to work in local schools, often in the school in which they trained. We are committed to helping our trainees prepare well for long and happy careers.
Our accredited body is Reading University. The University works closely with its schools. It devises its programme of training, as well as the pattern of its delivery, in consultation with the headteachers of the lead schools in the partnership.
The process has four parts. All candidates are asked to make a presentations of about five minutes on a subject that interests them. This can be anything at all and the purpose is to determine if the candidate can engage an audience and communicate clearly. Then there is an activity with children. We ask the candidates to prepare something to do with a group of about 12 children for 15 minutes. Candidates may choose any age group, and any activity. The purpose of this is to see how candidates relate to, and work with children. Thirdly there is a written exercise, the only point of which is to check that the candidate can write clear, standard English (anyone could have written the online application on behalf of a candidate). Finally there is a formal interview when we hope candidates will convince us that they know enough about teaching and schools to be going into a training year with their eyes open.
The whole process is designed to enable candidates to show us what they can do. It is not intended to be scary or intimidating. We are not looking for perfection, but for potential that can blossom on the programme.
Training with disabilities and other needs
Our cluster is committed to supporting trainees with disabilities. We will do our utmost to ensure all candidates are treated fairly and equally in both the selection process and on the training programme. While acknowledging that teaching can be physically and mentally demanding we welcome applications from candidates with restricted mobility, with visual or hearing impairments and with conditions like dyslexia and autism. We have successfully worked with dyslexic and autistic trainees in the past as well as others who have had mental health needs. If you have what it takes to be a teacher we would like to support you.
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