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  • Follow the School Direct route if you want to spend most of your time learning how to teach in schools
  • Receive recommendation for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) on a course ranked as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted - the highest possible accolade
  • Choose a route that matches your career aspirations - choose Early Years (3-7), Primary (5-11) or Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) which encompasses either Early Years (3-7) or Primary (5-11)
  • Benefit from our strong network of partnership schools so that you gain varied, challenging and effective practical experience
  • Be inspired by our team of dedicated, friendly tutors who are renowned internationally for high quality teaching and research
  • Take your career prospects to the next level: at the end of this course, you will receive 60 credits towards a masters degree

If you’re passionate about embarking on a teaching career, the PGCE Primary (School Direct) enables you to immerse yourself in practical experience from the outset.

Fully prepared for a teaching role

School Direct courses have high levels of employment and student satisfaction. You will be recruited as a trainee and based mainly in one of our partner school alliances, so you will become a valuable part of a school team from the start.

With intensive support in the classroom and the guidance of University experts, you will be fully prepared for the practical demands of primary teaching. This includes teaching the core subjects as well as the wider National Curriculum subjects.

As part of the course, you will undertake three assessed teaching placements in good schools to broaden your experience. You will be supported throughout by our ‘outstanding’ trained school mentors and link tutors.

You will also spend time at the University to develop your understanding of what it takes to become a great teacher.

A first class learning experience

With a rich heritage in teacher training dating back over 150 years, we have a strong reputation for nurturing successful, confident and forward-thinking primary teachers.

In our 2015 Ofsted inspection, we received an ‘outstanding’ rating for the quality of our work. Our Primary Leadership Team was praised for putting students at the heart of all they do and for ensuring they have excellent career outcomes.

Our students were described as “highly motivated and passionate about working with children,” keen to be fully involved in the everyday life of schools.

The power of partnerships

As one of the major Initial Teacher Education providers in the East Midlands, we have longstanding partnerships with more than 300 schools across the region, including rural, multi-cultural and inner city schools.

For the School Direct course, we have joined forces with a network of partner schools which work in clusters to support you on placement. Ofsted described our relationships with these partnership schools as ‘excellent’.

Specialisms to suit you

You can tailor your studies to match your own interests and career plans. Depending on your preference and any prior experience, you can choose to specialise in teaching Early Years (3–7 year olds), Primary (5–11 year olds), or SEND.

Each route includes a placements in a host school appropriate to your chosen route to help you advance your teaching and learning skills in specific areas.

If you choose to specialise in SEND you will focus on a diverse range of topics including SEND policy and legislation, effective inclusive practice, and meeting the challenges of teaching in the SEND sector.

Relevant, up to date and challenging

At a time when rapid policy shifts are transforming the educational landscape, we will help you to meet the challenge of change in the modern classroom. This is an intellectually stimulating course which will keep you up to date with all the latest developments.

You will be taught by a highly competent and qualified team of tutors, including published authors and influential researchers whose work is helping to shape the future of the profession. 

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

  • Professional Practice and Pedagogy 1
  • Professional Practice and Pedagogy 2              
  • Professional Practice and Pedagogy 3
  • Theories of Learning and Teaching: The Pupil as Learner
  • Developing Teacher Enquiry: Research Informed Practice 

How you will learn

You will spend most of your time learning how to teach in schools linked to our network of partner teaching schools. Located across the Midlands, they will work together in clusters to support you on placement. The placements and enhanced school opportunities will provide you with challenging and exciting experiences.

You'll also spend time at the University, working in our excellent facilities with University and school-based tutors, in order to develop your growing understanding of what it takes to become a great teacher.

How you're assessed

All assessments relate to your school placements; you will complete three assessed teaching placements, two in your main school and one in a second school, and additional enhanced school opportunities, which will provide you with the challenging and exciting experience you need. There will be in-depth teacher enquiry on school-based issues.

You'll also have the opportunity to reflect on and discuss your developing subject knowledge of the core and wider curriculum subjects, as well as developing your skills in research-informed practice.


Visit the Primary (School Direct) with Qualified Teacher Status (PGCE) page on the University of Derby website for more details!

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