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School Direct Training Programme FAQs

1. School Direct Training Programme places – “How many training places are available? Do I have a good chance of securing one?

The government allocates School Direct Training places and monitors the demographic distribution of numbers requested by lead schools to ensure that trainees have the best opportunity of employment once qualified. 

The selection process is competitive and priority will be given to those candidates applying for shortage subjects. Mathematics, physics, chemistry , computer science and modern foreign languages are the highest priority followed by the other priority subjects (English, geography, history, music, biology and D&T).

2. Completing my degree - "Academically, I completed my A Levels and then went straight to university. I am now about to complete my degree programme. Is The Cambridge Partnership School Direct Training Programme for me?"

Yes, it would be appropriate for you and you may also like to consider the SCITT / PGCE programme.

3. GCSE MATHEMATICS/ ENGLISH – “I haven’t got GCSE Maths/English, but I am going to take it this year, can I still apply for The Cambridge Partnership School Direct Training Programme?”

You MUST have secured a GCSE grade C or above (or equivalent) in Maths and English BEFORE you can be formally accepted onto the programme. If you are accepted, it will be conditional on you gaining the qualifications before the DfE deadline in October. You will need to produce original certificates if you are selected for interview.

4. GCSE MATHEMATICS/ ENGLISH – “Where can I take GCSE Maths/English? The local FE College will not accept external candidates at this stage of the year.”

You can be offered an equivalency test. There is an examination fee payable by the applicant for this service to cover administration costs. Please note equivalency tests taken with one provider are not always accepted by another. If you have taken an equivalency test already please check with The Cambridge Partnership if it can be accepted.

5. MATHEMATICS DEGREE – “I have a degree in Mathematics, but I haven’t got GCSE Mathematics. Will I need to take GCSE Mathematics?

All applicants must have GCSE Mathematics or equivalent. Whilst an A-Level in Mathematics would be acceptable, a degree on its own would not because it is too specialised. 

6. DEGREE RESULT – “I will not know the class of my degree until June, can I still apply?

You may submit an application, pending your result. Any offer of a place would be conditional on the successful completion of your degree to the required level. 

6.1. DEGREE – “My initial degree is only partially relevant to the subject I wish to teach, e.g. a degree in Business Studies which included Mathematics.” – from a Secondary Mathematics applicant.

The degree must be relevant to the subject choice. A minimum of 50% of the content of the degree needs to be directly related to the subject you wish to teach. There are exceptions where other qualifications and experience may be taken into account. For all applicants, their other qualifications and experience will help to inform the selection committee. The final decision about the relevance or equivalency of your degree will lie with The Cambridge Partnership. 

6.2 OVERSEAS QUALIFICATIONS – “My initial degree is from an overseas university, am I eligible?”

Possibly, you will need to approach UK NARIC (tel. 0870 9904088) to secure a certificate of confirmation of equivalence. Some public libraries offer access to the NARIC data base at no cost. You will be asked to produce this at interview if it is not attached to your application. 

7. SCHOOL EXPERIENCE – “How should I arrange school experience prior to interview?”

One of the best ways to find out whether a career in teaching is right for you is to spend some time in a classroom and speak to experienced teachers and school staff. The School Experience Programme (SEP) has been developed to allow you to gain classroom experience in secondary schools. Click on the link above to visit the SEP webpage. 

Whether you have been involved with the SEP or not, you MUST obtain some school experience prior to interview. You should make your own arrangements to visit a maintained school, preferably in your local authority (LA). You should arrange with the head teacher to spend some time in classes of the appropriate age range. While you are in school, you should observe teaching and learning within your subject or phase. It would be beneficial to have a discussion with the head of department or key stage coordinator, who should complete the School Experience form which should then be signed by the head teacher. All applicants are expected to undertake at least five days of school experience, preferably more, prior to interview. The aims of this experience are to confirm your decision to go into teaching, to update your understanding of educational practice, to inform the interview and selection process and to support future learning.

8. PART-TIME – “Can I do the 
School Direct Training Programme over 2 years?”

Although The Cambridge Partnership School Direct Training Programme is designed for completion within an academic year we are prepared to consider part-time provision in conjunction with the lead school for applicants in the secondary age phase. We do not currently offer a part-time programme for trainees on the primary programme. 

9. COMMITMENT – “How many hours of study will the training consist of?”

The Cambridge Partnership School Direct Training Programme is a professional training course. It will require the commitment equivalent to that of a serving full time teacher in terms of the length of school day, plus additional preparatory and academic work. The programme cannot be contained with a particular number of hours per week, you must expect it to consume a large part of your time and you must be prepared to be flexible.

9.1 COMMITMENT – “When am I expected to be in school?”

Firstly, all schools are different! As a trainee following a professional training programme you must expect to be on the school site in much the same way as all teachers and this is typically from about 08.00am until 5.00pm or later. Playing a full part in the work, life and community of the school, you cannot expect to leave with the children! There may be variations during the year, and from school to school, but you will be expected to attend the weekly cycle of meetings within school as part of your commitment.

10. PAY – “Will I still get paid?”

There is no salary with The Cambridge Partnership School Direct Training Programme.  Funding will be through bursary, subject to eligibility, and loans from the Student Loan Company. Please click here for more information about funding.

11. SCHOOL PLACEMENTS ONCE A TRAINEE IS ON THE PROGRAMME – “Do I have to find my own contrasting school
placement (CSP)?”

If possible, yes. In most cases it is easier for trainees and their schools to find a CSP which fits the personalised programme for the trainee. The Cambridge Partnership expects trainees to communicate their intended CSP at the earliest possible time and reserves the right to reject a placement if it feels that it is inappropriate. The Cambridge Partnership can assist in securing a contrasting school placement if the trainee and their school has difficulty in so doing.

12. PREVIOUS WITHDRAWAL FROM INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING – “Is it still possible for me to apply for The Cambridge Partnership School Direct Training Programme?

Yes, but you must include within your application a letter, from your previous training provider, supporting the reasons for you terminating that programme. This would give you clearance to join a new programme. Please remember that clearance to apply does not guarantee a place.