About this School Direct initial teacher training course

Take control of your teacher shortages by recruiting and training your own trainee teachers through School Direct, creating a high-quality workforce that is tailored to your school.

Tes Institute is currently working with seven school partnerships across England to provide their trainee teachers with an accessible and personalised initial teacher training (ITT) programme that leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and an optional Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

Having launched our first School Direct training programme in 2012, Tes Institute is experienced in providing initial teacher training that reduces the administrative burden on schools, allowing you to focus on implementing a personalised ITT programme and recruiting better teachers.

Our unique approach means that we can create a bespoke online virtual learning environment (VLE) within which the School Direct teacher training course can be housed and delivered. Access to our comprehensive online content means that your school can offer an accessible and flexible alternative to traditional university-style initial teacher training theory. Trainees are given access to the VLE where they can view materials, attend live sessions and build their portfolio of evidence. In addition to School Direct ITT support, we also have the capacity and expertise to support your school and trainees as they move into their NQT year through our full range of teacher training and CPD materials.

We are proud to say that our School Direct programme received an Ofsted rating of ‘Good’ in our first ever inspection in 2014. The report praised the cohesive blend of online, hub and school based teacher training and also noted the higher than average employment rates for trainees, with all of them successfully gaining employment in a school.

Why work with Tes Institute to deliver School Direct teacher training?

Partnering with Tes Institute on a School Direct partnership can help you:

  • Take control of your teacher shortages by recruiting and training your own teachers
  • Produce confident, qualified teachers by providing a unique initial teacher training course
  • Give trainee teachers more time in the classroom and the chance to learn at a time that suits them and the school
  • Provide your trainees and staff with flexible access to online learning content and an extensive library of subject knowledge that is available 24/7
  • Offer your trainee teachers continuing support through access to online materials for up to a year, following completion of our school-led teacher training programme.

PGCE option

All of our School Direct routes lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) with the option for trainees to add a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE*). If your trainees choose the PGCE option, they will be required to complete a number of additional written assignments to the level specified by the University of East London.

Trainees who successfully complete the School Direct PGCE programme will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Education by the University of East London as well as Qualified Teacher Status.


*The PGCE option is subject to annual review by the University of East London

How we deliver School Direct training

We work with schools to develop a mixture of in-school (face-to-face) learning, onsite workshops and online learning tools to deliver a bespoke and truly blended learning experience. Online and in-school development run alongside each other, allowing your trainees to put what they learn online into practice in the classroom.

Your trainee teachers will gain access to our extensive online library of subject knowledge, pedagogy and teaching resources, which they can implement and use in the classroom as part of their School Direct programme. The online elements are blended into the school week with each trainee having the equivalent of one day per week to study online from school or home, reducing travel time, stress and expense.

Which schools are eligible for School Direct?

In order to work with Tes Institute on a School Direct partnership programme, your school will need to meet a range of criteria. Your school should either be a Lead School of a partnership that meets the below criteria or join an existing partnership where the Lead School is:

  • A local authority maintained school, special school, academy or free school
  • Ofsted Grade 1 (outstanding) or Grade 2 (good) for overall effectiveness
  • In the process of identifying a range of contrasting schools to partner with (if you/they haven’t already) that can provide diverse settings for trainees to undertake placements
  • Experienced in engaging in Initial Teacher Training previously

For the full criteria required to partner with Tes Institute click here

School Direct tuition fees and partnership agreements

Below are our tuition fees for School Direct trainees who meet the full entry/eligibility criteria set by the DfE, Tes Institute and our Partnership Schools. Trainees may choose to use their DfE bursary to cover some or all of their tuition fees if available. Payment options may also be available on request but an additional administration fee may apply.

ITT tuition fees for academic year 2020/21:

  • £8,625 ITT leading to QTS only
  • £9,250 ITT leading to QTS and a PGCE

Partnership agreements 

We work in partnership with the Lead School to deliver this innovative blended learning School Direct programme. As part of the partnership agreement the Lead School receives a percentage of the tuition fees paid by each school direct trainee who is successfully enrolled on the programme.

Want to find out more?

If you would like to find out more about how your school or partnership can work with Tes Institute please register your interest and we’ll be in touch.