Skip to main content

Teacher Training

School Direct

The University of Exeter offers two distinct routes of School Direct PGCE with QTS provision with lead schools deciding which route they want their School Direct trainees to follow. The routes are:

Trainees apply for the SD training programme and are recruited by a lead school. They attend the taught PGCE programme at the university, joining the cohorts of trainees recruited on non-School Direct routes, and following our programme of seminars, lectures, workshops, peer teaching and other training events. There is information about these courses under the 'Primary' and 'Secondary' tabs on our website, which explains how we develop your understanding of learning and pedagogy through active sessions which link theory to practice, while also guiding you through two 30 credit masters-level modules.  Trainees spend time in school in September before the taught course begins, and sometimes also spend periods of non-contact time during the autumn term in school.

The overall time in school is similar to trainees on our non-School Direct routes, but the pattern of placements can vary, depending on the lead school arrangements. Trainees may have two placements of roughly equal length, or may spend proportionately more time in one school than the other, and the point at which trainees move between schools can vary. Trainees all follow the Exeter Model of initial teacher education.

Trainees are registered with the university and are eligible for training bursaries and student loans.

Trainees are based entirely in schools for the academic year (except for one induction event led by University staff in early september). A programme of phase/subject specific training is designed and delivered by the lead school, and is linked to a Masters level programme provided by the university. This is comprised of two 30 credit modules delivered through the university's electronic learning platform, and supported by university seminar days, tutorials and independent study. These modules are designed to develop understanding of core issues in education, and to support ability to engage with relevant research and link theory to practice. One day a week (or equivalent) is assigned to this distance study.

During the year, all trainees spend time in two schools, usually having one main 'home' school and a second 'contrasting' school. Lead schools decide the placement pattern, but the contrasting school experience will always last for a minimum of 6 weeks. One day a week (or equivalent) is assigned to distance study for the online Masters programme. Trainees follow the Exeter Model of initial teacher education.

Trainees are registered with the university and are eligible for training bursaries (eligible subjects only) and student loans.


Our PGCE programmes offer you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the opportunities and demands of leadership roles within schools and consider planning your career path. You will also have the opportunity to reflect on your own leadership in the classroom and how these skills can support pupil learning. In addition to optional online input and tasks, you may elect to undertake a school-based leadership task during the enrichment and extension phase of your final placement.

Seminar days are the backbone of the University support. They are extremely informative but also provide opportunities to talk about your placements and workload as a group and for everyone to contribute their success toolkits.

The tutors are enormously supportive and encouraging and are always available by email, phone or Teams chat if you need extra support or are having a bit of a wobble. UVT observations are a great opportunity to catch up properly with your tutor and for them to give you any pointers or set targets for future teaching. 

Read more from Katie


PGCE Secondary English, School’s Direct

Places available in 2023-24

If you are thinking of applying for any of the School Direct places below and would like further information, please contact the relevant lead school in the first instance for further details and course availability.



Further details available from:


Kernow Initial Teacher Education (Trenance Learning Academy)


Primary (3-7)


The Cornerstone Academy Trust (Broadclyst Primary School)


Primary (3-7)


Dartmoor Teacher Training Partnership (Okehampton College)


TEAM Multi-Academy Trust(Pilton Bluecoat Academy)


Teach South West (Ivybridge Community College)



West Country Training School Alliance (Uffculme School)



Jurassic Coast Teacher Network (The Woodroffe School)

Primary and Secondary

Queen Elizabeth's School


Teaching Alliance of Dorset Special Schools (Westfield Arts College)



Yeovil Area Teacher Training Alliance (Fiveways School)



The London-Exeter Partnership (Harry Gosling Primary School)