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Postgraduate Routes into Teaching

Higher Education, School Direct and SCITT programmes are the three most common routes into teaching. See below a detailed comparsion between a Higher Education programme and School Direct. All WLTSA teacher training programmes are School Direct.

An explanation of SCITT programmes is also included at the end, together with reference to a few other less common alternatives.




Who leads/ coordinates the programme?





These are university-led






These programmes are led by a school group (often a Teaching School Alliance) in partnership with one or more universities. We have some programmes partnered with St Marys University Twickenham, some with UCL (Institute of Education) and some with University of Roehampton.

Qualification outcome?









University-led programmes commonly lead to PGCE(M)+QTS.  Note:  In order to distinguish this university-led route, we think it is helpful to refer to it as the university’s Core PGCE  (as opposed to PGCEs that the university may deliver in partnership with schools)



Most School Direct programmes lead to PGCE(M)+QTS (exactly the same as a higher education programme).

Some lead to QTS only to enable a greater focus on learning in the classroom. 












You apply through UCAS to the university.





You would apply through UCAS to a school group (often but not always, a Teaching School Alliance).  On UCAS you may see the name of the lead school for the group or (as in our case) the group name – West London Teaching School Alliance, Primary (or Secondary)

Interviews & Schools














The university interviews and selects you, and you get at least two placements in schools chosen by the university. The schools will not have chosen you.











When you apply for a School Direct programme with WLTSA, you can select which school you would like as your host school where you would do majority of your training. 

On all our programmes you would be interviewed by this ‘host school’. In this scenario therefore you would have chosen the school and the school would have chosen you.  It makes for a good ‘fit’ (with an eye towards future employment).  The university also plays a part in the selection process.

All School Direct programmes also include a contrasting second placement in another school in exactly the same way as on a core university programme.

















After qualifying you would need to apply to schools and be interviewed for a job as a Newly Qualified Teacher













Schools that run School Direct programmes can employ the trainee at the end of the programme with no need for any further competitive interview and this makes it attractive to schools who want to ‘grow their own staff’ and attractive to trainees who want to potentially stay on at their host training school as an employee the next year. 

Ultimately we cannot give a 100% guarantee of a job from the school (it is often hard to predict vacancies so far ahead) and also you as a trainee are not constrained to take a job with your host school, but School Direct provides a clear route for this with no need for further interview, should it be desired. 

We certainly hope to retain all WLTSA trainees  as newly qualified teachers within the group if at all possible.

Salary while you train?



There are no salaried options. All programmes are unsalaried.


There are two different types of School Direct training programme. Some are salaried and some are unsalaried, see below

Salaried  Route
















Not applicable

















Trainee earns a salary while they train and WLTSA pays the fees. Salaried trainees are not eligible for DfE bursaries.

3 yrs work experience is normally required because this route is aimed at career changers. There may be some flexibility on this for priority programmes.  Some salaried primary programmes place specific emphasis on the need for prior experience in a school. Check programme information

We offer salaried QTS programmes with St Mary’s and UCL.

The partner university recommends trainees to the NCTL for the award of QTS (and where relevant awards the PGCE.)

We cannot sponsor overseas applicants who are not otherwise entitled to work in the UK

Unsalaried Route






















On university programmes the university awards the PGCE(M) and recommends the trainees to NCTL for the award of QTS.

The trainee pays tuition fees to the university (commonly £9,000)

Tax-free bursaries are available from DfE so long as you are eligible for them. The university administers the bursaries.
















On UCAS this is referred to as ‘School Direct Training Programme’ (as opposed to salaried training programme).

All our unsalaried programme are PGCE()+QTS. The university awards the PGCE (M) and recommends the trainee to NCTL for the award of QTS.

Trainee pays tuition fees to the university (commonly £9,000)

The same tax-free bursaries are available from DfE and these are administered by our partner universities.  See Finance tab for more detailed information on DfE bursaries. 

Trainees on programmes partnered with St Mary’s or UCL attend all the same lectures at the university that they would do if they had picked the core university-led programme.

We also offer additional seminars; teachmeets and additional school experience opportunities and a key advantage of this route is the close relationship that you can build with your host school and the potential for a seamless route into employment.



SCITT stands for School-Centered Initial Teacher Training.  Some schools have themselves become accredited to recommend trainees to NCTL for the award of QTS. This means that they could run a QTS programme without the involvement of a university


A school that is accredited to recommend someone for QTS (often referred to as a ‘SCITT’) could also provide a PGCE+QTS programme if it partnered with a university for the PGCE element of the programme. The SCITT school alone would be responsible for the QTS element.




There are also a few other less common routes into teaching. For those who already have a significant amount of teaching experience, you may be eligible for the Assessment Only route. There is also a Researchers in Schools programme open to those with a PhD.  For further explanation of all the available options, you should visit the government's Get into Teaching website. This also provides a government helpline number 'The Teaching Line' 0800 389 2500 8am - 8pm.