Train to teach with Fairfields TSA


What is School Direct?

School Direct is a school-based model of initial teacher training where you learn on the job. School groups work in partnership with one another and a university to deliver dynamic programmes of practical learning and academic study, allowing trainees to develop their skills and prepare for their career in teaching.  Trainees gain a PGCE and QTS after their training year, allowing them to teach in schools across the UK and around the world.


Our programme

We are very proud of our partnership with the University of Derby, an experienced provider of school-based initial teacher training, with whom we offer both routes of Primary School Direct (the salaried route – Course Code 24ZQ and the tuition route – Course Code 24ZM) at Postgraduate Certificate of Education level. The programmes were judged as “outstanding” by Ofsted in November 2015.

Our School Direct programme is heavily focussed on gaining practical hands on experience of being a teacher in the classroom; you will be working in school from day one. This is supplemented by weekly study days, led by experienced lecturers from the University of Derby in collaboration with a range of experts from our Alliance schools. Trainees do not need to travel to Derby for study days – these take place at the White Water Rafting Centre in Northampton and it is only necessary to travel to Derby up to four times throughout the year.

The taught and assessed element of the programme is highly structured and sets out weekly expectations upon the student, the school-based mentor and the school as a whole, so that the student gradually assumes more whole class teaching responsibility as the programme progresses. Course and training materials are clear and well structured so that our students know what is expected of them at all times.


School Direct Routes


Also referred to as the Non-Salaried route, this is a school-led, one-year initial teacher training programme that equips our trainees with a wealth of classroom experience, a PGCE and QTS, subject to successful completion of the programme. No prior work experience required although experience in school is highly desired. 

You will work closely with an experienced mentor and will undertake school placements in contrasting settings. Whilst you are a part of the team from day one, you will work alongside the class teacher and you are not expected to teach classes independently until you and your school feel you are ready.

Places are self-funded; you have to pay tuition fees of £9,250 (subject to change) to University of Derby, our training provider.



The Salaried route is designed for candidates who have had some experience in the workplace. Trainees move from a 'class-share' situation to being the main teacher very quickly. You are employed for the year by one of our partnership schools, receiving a salary equivalent to at least point 1 of the unqualified teacher pay spine (£17208 academic year 18/19). This will vary according to prior experience and where you are employed. Your tuition fees are sponsored by your employing school (the cost is currently mostly covered by grant funding).

You gain a PGCE and QTS status at the end of your training, subject to successful completion of the programme. Although there is no guarantee of employment upon successful completion of the training year, we have an excellent record of trainees gaining employment at their host schools or at another local school.




Get in Touch!

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