The West Country Teaching School Alliance offers two distinct School Direct routes into teaching, both of which are accredited by the University of Exeter. Trainees who successfully complete the course receive their PGCE qualification from the University.
What is School Direct?
School Direct is a one-year full-time course leading to a Post Graduate Certificate in Education with QTS status and credits towards a Masters degree. Schools in the Alliance are experienced in delivering Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and are committed to developing new entrants into the profession. By selecting this route into teaching trainees have the power to choose which school they would like to train in. Trainees will spend the majority of the year in this lead school as well as benefiting from a contrasting second school placement of approximately 10 weeks. All placements are organised by the WCTSA and trainees are consulted on which schools they would like to train in. All trainees also undertake cross-phase placements in primary and post-16 settings during the course of their School Direct training.
WCTSA offers two different options for School Direct:
School Direct Distance Secondary (fee paying)
Trainees are based in schools for the entire academic year and are treated as a member of staff from day 1. This route is more suited to those who have some experience of working with young people and have good subject knowledge. As part of this programme the academic learning, which makes up the Master’s element of the programme, is delivered through a series of online tasks and modules. Trainees are allocated time (equivalent to one day a week) in school to study and undertake this work. Trainees spend the Autumn and Summer Terms in their lead school and the Spring Term in their contrasting placement school. The length of the placements may vary but typically trainees spend 22 weeks in the lead school and 10 weeks in their contrasting placement school.
School Direct @Exeter Secondary (fee paying)
Unlike University based PGCE programmes, School Direct@Exeter trainees have the benefit of being in school from day 1. They join their lead school at the start of the academic year and remain at this school undertaking school based learning tasks until the University course begins. At this point the School Direct trainees then join other PGCE students and attend the taught programme at the University. Trainees then return to their lead school for their main placement in the Spring Term and have a shorter contrasting placement in the Summer Term. The length of the placements may vary but typically trainees spend 12 weeks in the lead school and 10 weeks in their contrasting placement school. They also attend 5 University seminar days during the Spring and Summer terms.