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School Direct Initial Teacher Training – PGCE



September 3 at 8:00 am
July 31, 2019 at 5:00 pm
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de Havilland Campus
AL10 9EU

PGCE trainees undertake a series of academic assignments during the year in order to obtain an academic qualification Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) along with their QTS. They access their training at the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield Campus for 1 or 2 days per week. Students are ‘supernumerary’ in their placement school, meaning that they are additional to the paid teaching staff. PGCE trainees are classified as full time students and as such may be eligible for student loans to support them with tuition fees and living expenses. This route is suitable for new graduates and those with minimal experience of a school environment. It is also the best route for those who wish to obtain a higher level academic qualification, as well as those who may wish to teach abroad in the future.

Induction onto the School Direct PGCE course begins in June and July with trainees attending sessions at Pen Green along with their home school mentors. PGCE trainees then attend further induction sessions at the University of Hertfordshire, including 1 full week in September.

Trainees then attend the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield for 2 days per week during their first half term and then 1 day per week after that. The rest of their time is spent in school, learning ‘on the job’ from their teacher mentor, with additional support from their professional mentor and visiting tutors from the University and Pen Green. Trainees take on teaching responsibilities gradually, initially shadowing and supporting other teachers, working with small groups and team teaching, building up to 6 hours of teaching per week by the first half term holiday and 16 hours per week by the end of the course.

For 6-12 weeks of the year, usually during the second term, trainees undertake a second placement in a complementary school and in the adjacent age range. Trainees placed in EYFS will undertake a second placement in Key stage 1 and vice versa. The length of this placement will depend on the individual circumstances and needs of the trainee and the schools involved. Trainees undertaking part of their training in special provision will need to spend at least 8 weeks in their second placement and trainees undertaking part of their training in a nursery school or class will need to spend at least 9 weeks in their second placement.

To be eligible for a place on the University of Hertfordshire and Pen Green’s Initial Teacher Training programme applicants must have the following academic qualifications:

  • An honours degree (2.1 or above preferred; 2.2 accepted with relevant experience or higher qualification).
  • GCSE or IGCSE Grade 4 or above in English language and mathematics (Grade C or above under the old grading structure).
  • GCSE or IGCSE Grade 4 or above in science/ biology/chemistry/physics/additional science or applied science (Grade C or above under the old grading structure).

Original certificates will need to be shown at interview. Where courses are still in progress, evidence of this will be required at interview and certificates will need to be shown prior to the course start date in September.

Equivalent and International Qualifications

The City and Guilds Level 2 qualifications in numeracy and English are not deemed as equivalent to GCSE grade 4 or above for entry into initial teacher training.

The University of Hertfordshire does not accept equivalency tests in the place of GCSE qualifications

If your qualifications have been taken abroad then these need to be verified by NARIC before applying for the programme. Visit NARIC for more information or call +44(0)870 990 4088. English studied as a second language is not accepted, however an IELTS qualification of 5.5 or above in each of the 4 skills may be. If your qualifications have been taken abroad, please discuss the requirements in detail with Julia Mackintosh, the lead tutor at the University of Hertfordshire.

School experience

To access the School Direct (PGCE) programme, applicants must also have a minimum of three years’ prior career experience, preferably but not essentially in a relevant work environment.

School Direct Salaried trainees must be employed full time as an unqualified teacher for the duration of their training year.

Professional Skills Tests

All Applicants will need to pass the Professional Skills test in literacy and numeracy prior to the course start date. There are practice papers and guidance available online.

In order to sit your skills test you must have already submitted an application for teacher training and will need to take proof of your teacher training application with you to the test, as well as two forms of ID (a primary ID such as a passport, and a secondary ID, for example a debit card). More information can be found on the STA website at http://sta.education.gov.uk.


Applicants who are invited to interview will need to provide evidence of their right to train and/ or work in the UK.


Successful applicants must be willing to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (formally criminal records bureau check).


Trainees pay the University of Hertfordshire fees for PGCE of £9,000. If eligible, they may apply for a student loan from the Student Loan Company to cover tuition fees and living expenses while training.

Grants and Bursaries

Bursaries may be available for some trainees, for example those with a 1st Class honours degree, PhD or those with higher Maths qualifications who intend to specialise in Primary maths.

Visit Get Into Teaching for up to date information on available grants and bursaries.

Please notify Pen Green at the time of your application if you intend to apply for a grant or bursary.

Applications for initial teacher training should be made via the UCAS website.  UCAS code for this course is 2ZZS.

You will need to enter details of your qualifications and work experience as well as write a personal statement and obtain statements for two referees.

Please include your full career work experience in the ‘work experience’ section, even if you do not feel that a previous post is relevant to teaching.

Use your personal statement to highlight your motivations for pursuing a career in teaching and your relevant work experience.

If you are applying for the salaried route and have an established relationship with a school that is willing to employ you as an unqualified teacher during your training year, please highlight this in your personal statement and ask any relevant referees to do the same in their statements.

Please be aware that your application will not be visible to Pen Green or the University of Hertfordshire until all fields have been completed, including your references.

If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to attend an interview at Pen Green or one of our partner schools. You will need to bring proof of your identity, qualifications, and right to study/ work in the UK with you to your interview.

To register your interest, obtain a work experience form to guide you during your work experience, or to discuss any questions you may have, please contact us via pengreenenquiries@northamptonshire.gov.uk or on 01536 443435.