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School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) – A Guide

School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) programmes are school-led teacher training courses that lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Most (but not all) SCITT programmes also award a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

SCITT teacher training is one of the most popular ways to gain QTS, offering trainees a chance to get hands-on teaching experience with at least two schools.

This page will explain how SCITT programmes work, as well as explaining the differences between SCITT and other routes into teaching. You can also browse the SCITT courses listed on FindAMasters.

What is SCITT?

SCITT programmes are teacher training courses run by local groups of schools, giving graduates the opportunity to receive practical teacher training and to learn ‘on the job’. Most of these programmes – but not all – also allow trainees to gain a PGCE (or Masters-level credits towards an Education qualification).

As it’s a school-led course, you’ll spend most of your time on a SCITT programme at two or more schools, learning from experienced teaching professionals. You’ll have an extensive support network of mentors, teachers and peers, designed to help you find your feet and get the most out of each school you work at.

‘SCITT’ can also refer to the networks of schools that collaborate on school-led teacher training courses – for example, the Sheffield SCITT.


School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)
Type Taught / Professional
Subjects Social Work
Length 1 year
Availability England

What’s the difference between SCITT and university-led teacher training?

If you decide to take the university-led route into teaching, you’ll be based at a university rather than a group of schools. Rather than being at a school from day one, you’ll learn the theory of teaching at university before having the chance to apply your knowledge in a minimum of two school placements over the course of at least 24 weeks.

By contrast, school-led teacher training places you in a school straight away. Of course, you won’t be dropped in at the deep end, so don’t worry about having to teach a class on your first day! Instead, you’ll benefit from a more hands-on approach to teaching, immersed in the everyday life of a school environment from the start.

Both routes into teaching usually give you the chance to earn a postgraduate qualification like a PGCE. SCITT programmes also offer the same opportunities for generous Government funding as university-led teacher training courses.

What’s the difference between SCITT courses and School Direct?

While SCITT courses are always delivered by a network of schools – a local SCITT – School Direct programmes are offered by groups of schools either in collaboration with a SCITT or a university.

The actual content and structure of both options is broadly similar, each providing school-based training. If you decide to take the School Direct route, you’ll need to decide whether you want your programme to be delivered in partnership with a SCITT or a university.

There’s also the School Direct (salaried) option, which is open to people with three years of work experience (in any area). You’ll have the same status and wage as an unqualified teacher and won’t have to pay tuition fees, but you won’t be eligible for the same Government bursaries as the other routes into teaching.

Postgraduate teacher training

Want to find out more about other ways to become a teacher? Our guide covers the main postgraduate teacher training options.

What are the entry requirements for a SCITT course?

Entry requirements for SCITT courses are broadly similar to those for PGCEs. You’ll usually need a 2:2 Bachelors degree in the subject you want to teach (if you studied a joint honours degree, at least 50% must be in your teaching subject).

If you studied a subject that undergraduate level that isn’t closely related to your desired teaching specialism, you may be able to complete a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) course to boost your familiarity of the discipline.

You’ll need to hold the following qualifications (or their international equivalent):

  • GCSE grade 4 / grade C in Maths
  • GCSE grade 4 / grade C in English

If you want to teach primary age children, you’ll also need a GCSE grade 4 / grade C in Science.

SCITT providers usually ask applicants to complete professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy, either before your interview or as part of the conditions of your offer. You will have to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check – this was formally known as a CRB check.

It’s a good idea to gain some voluntary experience in a local school, observing and helping teachers. As well as highlighting your motivation, it’ll also help to give you an idea of what it’s actually like to work in a school.

What is the application process?

Applications for SCITT programmes are handled through the UCAS Teacher Training portal.

After finding your SCITT course and registering with UCAS, you’ll need to write a personal statement and provide the contact details of two referees. You should also give information about your academic background and any work experience – especially anything that demonstrates your interest in working with children.

If your application is successful, you’ll be invited to attend an interview at one of the schools. You may also have to complete a set of tasks with other candidates and an aptitude test, but the precise selection process differs from SCITT to SCITT.

What's it like to study on a SCITT programme?

No two SCITT programmes are the same – each one is designed and delivered by the group of schools you’ll be working in, so you’ll have access to unique training and opportunities for professional development while on the job. The course will usually reflect the priorities and specialisms of the SCITT itself.

You can expect SCITT programmes to share the following elements:

  • Initial training to give you a solid grounding in the fundamentals of teaching
  • A full-time placement at one of the partnership schools (your timetable won’t be as intense as a qualified teacher)
  • A second full-time placement at a contrasting school

During your time on the SCITT programme, you’ll usually take part in several ‘immersion days’ at schools with a strong background in areas like diversity and behaviour management.

You’ll also have access to an established support network made up of dedicated mentors and tutors, as well as your fellow trainee teachers.

Even though the exact structure and format of the programme may differ from SCITT to SCITT, you’ll still receive that all-important Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) at the end of the course.

Most SCITT programmes give trainees the opportunity to gain a PGCE (and Masters credits) while studying. Although you don’t necessarily need a PGCE to teach in England and Wales – just QTS – you probably will need a PGCE if you want to teach abroad (even in Scotland!).

What funding is available for SCITT programmes?

The UK Government offers generous bursaries and scholarships for trainee teachers, all of which are available for SCITT programmes. Our guide to PGCE funding covers this support in detail.

Bursaries of £26,000 (£30,000 for Maths graduates) are on offer to graduates in these subjects who have at least a 2:2 (or a Masters / PhD):

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Modern Languages
  • Computing
  • Geography
  • Biology
  • Classics

If you have a 2:2 or a Masters / PhD in the following disciplines, you could be eligible for a bursary of between £4,000 and £15,000:

  • English
  • Design and Technology
  • History
  • Music
  • Religious Education
  • Primary Maths

Scholarships of £28,000 (£32,000 for Maths graduates) are also available for talented trainee teachers in the following subjects:

  • Computing
  • Chemistry
  • Geography
  • Languages (French, German or Spanish)
  • Maths
  • Physics

Eligibility for these sources of support depends on your nationality and residence. If you’re a UK national and enrolled on a teacher training course in England that charges tuition fees and leads to QTS – like a SCITT programme – you’ll usually be eligible. EU and EEA nationals could also be eligible in certain circumstances.

Funding for PGCEs

Check out our dedicated guide to financial support for PGCEs, all of which is available for trainees on SCITT courses.

Are SCITT courses paid?

No, SCITT programmes are non-salaried. However, many trainee teachers on these courses end up being employed by their placement schools after successfully completing the training.

If you’re keen to earn a salary while training to become a teacher, you could apply for the School Direct (salaried) option.

How much does a SCITT course cost?

Tuition fees vary between SCITT providers, but will be in the region of £9,000. Don’t be put off, though – in addition to the bursaries and scholarships mentioned above, you could also be eligible for a tuition fee and maintenance loan through Student Finance England’s undergraduate system.

Begin your search for a SCITT programme now

Browse the SCITT courses listed on FindAMasters.com

Last updated - 16/07/2018

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