Skip to content Exit mobile menu

PGCE Primary School Direct Salaried Guide for partner schools

This guide summarises the requirements, structures and framework for the delivery and assessment of the Primary School Direct (SD) programmes by SD Lead Schools in partnership with the School of Education at St Mary’s University.

SD Lead Schools are lead schools of a group or alliance of schools which have been allocated SD ITE student number places by the DFE. Additionally, they may also be schools which have requested SD self-funded places directly with St Mary’s. Other schools within their group or alliance are referred to as SD Host Schools. SD Host Schools are the schools where students will gain some or all of their teaching experience during the SD programme. Students may also undertake teaching experience within the SD Lead School itself.

This booklet applies to School Direct Training Programme (Salaried) which results in the recommendation for the award of QTS only (subsequently referred to as SD Salaried).

This booklet should be read in conjunction with the Primary School Direct Salaried student brochure.

Identification of School Direct schools

The University establishes School Direct agreements with Lead schools. The bidding process normally takes place during a six-week period during May-July and Lead schools must specify the provider who will be the partner for the bid during this period. The University ratifies approval of inclusion in the bid to the DfE. Bids are subject to DfE criteria and the University only approves inclusion in bids where the Lead school and Host schools:

  • are existing ITE partnership schools of St Mary’s; or
  • meet St Mary’s normal criteria for the selection of schools to join the St Mary’s Primary ITE partnership.

School Direct Partnership Agreement

Following approval in principle of the School Direct Partnership, an overarching School Direct Partnership Agreement will be signed by St Mary’s and the SD Lead School, which summarises the overall roles and responsibilities and the principles underpinning the School Direct Partnership. It is the responsibility of the Lead School to establish partnership agreements between themselves and host schools.

The signatories to the relevant School Direct Partnership Agreement will be the Headteacher or nominee of the SD Lead School, the Head of Primary Education and the Primary Partnership & School Direct Programme Director at St Mary’s. The Partnership Agreement will be in place for one year and is renewable on an annual basis.

Recruitment and selection of student teachers

The recruitment and selection of student teachers is undertaken jointly by St Mary’s and the SD Lead School. All School Direct student teachers must meet the entry criteria for ITE programmes (refer to the DfE’s Initial Teacher Training Criteria).

In summary, the roles and responsibilities relating to the recruitment and selection are as follows:

  • The SD Lead School, with support from St Mary’s, will hold responsibility for the marketing and promotion of its School Direct allocations.
  • The SD Lead School will liaise with St Mary’s regarding its proposed marketing and promotional materials.
  • St Mary’s will support the admissions and selection process and will liaise with the SD Lead School to ensure a smooth and effective admissions and selection process which aims to recruit high calibre student teachers, promote equality of opportunity and meet the SD Lead School’s SD allocations.
  • Normally, the SD Lead School and St Mary’s will jointly undertake the recruitment and selection of the student teacher. Both parties reserve the right to reject an applicant.

For the SD Salaried route, the SD Host School will:

  • carry out the student teacher’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), Prohibition Order, Childcare Disqualification and Occupational Health check; (and provide written confirmation to St Mary’s that this has been undertaken).

For the SD Salaried route, the SD Lead School will:

  • access, record and report upon the student teacher’s Professional Skills Tests;
  • maintain and manage management information and data systems to meet DFE / Ofsted requirements.

The SD Lead School will also make suitable arrangements for those student teachers with disabilities or needs as detailed by the Equality Act (2010).

Student teacher support

As with all ITE programmes offered by St Mary’s Primary Partnership, SD Lead and Host schools must follow the requirements for student teacher support, tracking and grading against the Teachers’ Standards as detailed in the Primary School Direct Salaried student brochure.

For Salaried students, the SD Lead School, in negotiation with their host schools are responsible for devising a training schedule to support their students in exceeding the minimum expectations as outlined in the Teachers’ Standards

St Mary’s University supplements the school-based training and provision with additional taught input at the university. This is outlined in the Primary School Direct Salaried student brochure.

To ensure that all student teachers completing the SD Tuition and SD Salaried programmes are appropriately supported, St Mary’s will:

  • Manage the quality assurance of the SD programmes, including:
    • securing high quality provision through programme review and evaluation;
    • managing Ofsted ITE inspection processes across the partnership;
    • carrying out internal and external moderation;
    • administering examination boards and processing awards;
    • managing the processes of award validation and external examination/assessment in line with the University and QA expectations
  • Appoint suitable subject experts as tutors to ITE programmes, who are eligible to teach and assess at Masters level, and hold expertise in subjects, phases and key aspects of education and research.
  • Provide taught sessions, lectures, workshops and tutorial support in areas relating to the key components of the programme.
  • Provide the student teacher with access to learning resources, specialist libraries, journals and online materials.
  • Undertake:
    • joint moderation and assessment of the student teacher;
    • management of internal and external rigorous and robust quality assurance mechanisms;
    • assessment and moderation of the student teacher against the Teachers’ Standards (DfE, 2012) ensuring accuracy and consistency of assessments.

In-school training and provision by SD Lead Schools and Host Schools

NB The SD Salaried trainee must be a supernumerary member of staff, and will not be solely responsible for a class.

For Salaried students, each school is required to set up a programme of regular training. A menu of school-based training opportunities is provided within the Primary School Direct Salaried booklet as a guide. In some School Direct alliances this may be delegated to the Lead School, but should be monitored by individual schools. Training during the sessions should be led by the appropriate colleagues and should support the students’ professional confidence and competence against the Teachers’ Standards.

It is an expectation of the St Mary’s University partnership that schools devise a programme of school-based professional development opportunities to enable student teachers to meet all the Teachers’ Standards across the age range of training, and that time within student teachers’ timetable is ring-fenced for this school-based training to occur. The training will include the training days led by St Mary’s but should include a range of other activities such as:

  • Professional development sessions led by the school and others
  • Training days
  • School INSET days
  • Mentor meetings
  • Observations of other teachers
  • Other courses provided by the school, the local federation or cluster of schools, the local authority etc.

It is essential that each student is given a timetable which reflects his/her status as a new professional who is just starting out on their career. The timetable should start with a low loading and build up during the course of the year. Student teachers with considerable teaching experience can have teaching loads higher than those indicated below, but care must be taken to ensure that teaching loads are always appropriate for the student teacher’s stage of development. Student teachers’ timetables must always allow time for regular mentor meetings, collaborative working and observations of others.

St Mary’s expect all student teachers to be given experience of working with and observing more experienced colleagues in their host school and, where relevant, in other schools. Student teachers also benefit from team-teaching where the student teacher is asked to lead one particular section of the lesson with the teacher delivering the remainder.

The following descriptions are a guide to the sort of balance and progression that we would expect to see for student teachers without considerable previous experience during the year. However, we would also expect the timetable and the balance of activities to reflect the progress of the student teacher; some may well make faster or slower progress than others. Student teachers must never be asked to teach more than 80% of the loading of a normal classroom teacher.

Novice – little or no verifiable evidence of working in an appropriate school setting:

Term one - Up to 40% of normal contact time as whole class teaching.  Other 60% group work, observation, training and meetings.

Term two - 50-60% of contact time as whole class teaching.  Remainder as group work, observation, training and meetings.

Term three - 80% of contact time as whole class teaching. Remainder as group work, observation, training and meetings.

Limited evidence – at least one year as LSA, Learning Mentor, etc. Some experience of whole class teaching. Some verifiable evidence of achievement against the standards for QTS:

Term one - 50% to 80% of contact time as whole class teaching. Remainder: group work, observation, training and meetings.

Term two - 50% to 80% of contact time as whole class teaching.  Remainder:  group work, observation, training and meetings.

Term three - 80% of contact time as whole class teaching.

Very experienced – an experienced class teacher (at least one year as a class teacher). Substantial verifiable evidence of meeting the QTS standards:

Term one - 80% of contact time as whole class teaching.  Remainder: group work, observation, training and meetings.

Term two - 80% of contact time as whole class teaching.  Remainder: group work, observation, training and meetings.

Term three - 80% of contact time whole class teaching.

At no time during this SD training period should the trainee be teaching more than is required by an ECT.

Delivery and assessment of the School Direct programme

The Salaried route is an employment-based route which leads to the recommendation of the award of QTS – there is no academic award (PGCE) associated with the pathway. In this route:

  • Recruitment and selection processes are shared.
  • All school-based experiences/placements are arranged and managed by the SD Lead School (it is the expectation that all placements will be in the SD Lead School or one of its SD Host Schools).
  • For the period of training all student teachers must be employed as unqualified teachers at a school, and (except student teachers employed in academies or independent schools) must be paid in accordance with at least point one on the unqualified teachers’ pay scale for the period of their training.
  • It is expected that the percentage of teaching time for a student teacher will be reviewed regularly and increase over the year in relation to their developing confidence and competence. Refer to section 6 within this booklet for further guidance.
  • St Mary’s University in its quality assurance role and in liaison with the lead school, is responsible for deciding whether a student teacher’s percentage of teaching time is appropriate and whether it can accommodate sufficient time for training. By the end of the course, the student teacher should have a timetable of no more than 80% contact time for the days that they are in school.
  • The SD Lead School will be responsible for the organisation of the student teacher’s second School Experience. It must provide the opportunity for student teachers to teach in two contrasting schools: the main school experience/placement school and a second school. It is vital that this experience is in a contrasting key stage e.g. KS1 or KS2. NB – as a 5-11 provider St Mary’s cannot validate QTS for early years placements. The timing and duration of the placement must be made with the agreement of St Mary’s, and coincide with the published timetable. The SD Lead School will provide details of the home school experiences and the proposed schools where remaining school experiences will be undertaken prior to the start of the SD programme. This information will be reviewed by St Mary’s.
  • The school experience must include induction, observation of outstanding practice, peer and collaborative teaching, experience in appropriate key stages and subject expertise; teaching in respective key stages and subjects; training in the national priorities; assessment and reporting opportunities; PPA time; wider and cooperate life of the school; preparation for the ECT year; training in the professional and personal requirements of a teacher.
  • The SD Lead School will monitor and student absence and should any concerns arise alert St Mary’s.
  • Students will be supported by a mentor, allocated by the SD Host School, for the duration of their main school-based training and for their contrasting school placement. All mentors must undertake mentor training delivered by St Mary’s, although this may be enhanced by additional mentor training provided by the SD School.
  • St Mary’s will provide a dedicated Link Tutor for the trainee who will follow them to their away placement.
  • Assessment of student teachers’ attainment of the Standards for QTS will be undertaken jointly by the school and St Mary’s Link Tutor.

NB In the case where a student teacher fails to meet the Teachers’ Standards or makes insufficient progress, the employing school may wish to terminate its contract with the student teacher. It is recommended that this clause be written into the contract of employment and the student teacher made aware of this scenario before beginning their training year. Please note – this course of action should only be a last resort. If schools do have concerns that the student teacher might not reach the standard required it is important that prompt action is taken to support the student address any concerns.

Criteria for deselecting a School Direct Lead or Host school

Where there are perceived deficiencies in the level of support provided by the SD Lead School or Host School, we would want to address the problem before it gets out of hand, through additional visits to the school by a senior member of the Partnership team or through discussion with the head teacher. Exceptionally it may be necessary to withdraw from a partnership arrangement. Typically, these perceived deficiencies could include:

  • Persistent non-compliance with the requirement of the School Direct Partnership Agreement;
  • Persistent non-compliance with course requirements such as sufficient opportunity to teach or the protection of non-teaching time;
  • Persistent evidence that observation or feedback has not been provided;
  • If tutors or student teachers’ evaluations persistently reflect concerns over the provision being offered by the school/college.

Management and Quality Assurance

The St Mary’s Partnership Programme Director has responsibility for the day-to-day management of the SD arrangements and student teachers following SD Salaried programme. This includes supporting SD Lead and Host Schools and monitoring standards.

Trainee representatives from the School Direct Salaried route provide on-going feedback.

Examination / assessment boards

Recommendations for the award of QTS only will occur within the PGCE Primary examination board held in early July; there is no academic award associated with the Salaried route and they do not go through a graduation ceremony.

External examiners

St Mary’s is responsible for the appointment of an external examiner for the Salaried route to oversee and moderate the assessment of student teachers.


The progress of all student teachers following the Salaried route is tracked by the SD Salaried Lead, drawing on the processes established for mainstream ITE primary programmes.

Annual monitoring and evaluation

Existing and well-established monitoring processes for the St Mary’s mainstream provision are mirrored for the purpose of the School Direct programme, drawing explicitly on SD Lead School data and information. Specifically:

  • Link Tutor reports on the quality of support provided by partnership schools include a specific section inviting comment on, where relevant, the quality of the SD programme support;
  • All SD student teachers are invited to complete placement evaluations at the end of each school experience in the same way as student teachers following mainstream ITE routes: these evaluation forms flag the fact that the student teacher is following a School Direct programme in order to enable specific analysis of student teachers’ SD experiences;
  • Similarly, SD student teachers complete end of course evaluations which mirror those completed by mainstream PGCE Primary student teachers;
  • The evaluation of the SD Training programme informs any associated improvement plans which, in turn, inform the annual Self Evaluation Document for Primary ITE and the Partnership Improvement and Development Plan.


St Mary’s is responsible for the Ofsted inspection of SD provision.

 Continue to the SDS Partnership Agreement page