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PGCE Secondary School Direct Fee Partnership Agreement





Institute of Education 



Partnership Agreement 2022 - 2023 

Secondary School Direct Tuition Fee 

(Alliance Name) 



All PCMs need ensure compliance with appropriate DfE frameworks 

In 2019 the DfE produced two significant frameworks. These frameworks aim to have a substantial impact on the support provided for the early professional development of all teachers from training to their first two years in post. 

1. Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (ITTCCF) 

This defines the minimum entitlement of all trainees and sets out the content that ITT providers and their partners must draw upon when designing and delivering programmes.  


2. Early Career Framework (ECF) 

This defines the minimum content that teachers in their first two years are entitled to learn about and learn how to do with funded, high quality, professional development support.  

Both frameworks establish an entitlement to a 3-year or more structured package of support for all new teachers at the start of their careers. The ambition is that with this support, teachers stay for longer and thrive in the profession. This should be viewed alongside the Government’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy (2016, updated 2019). 

The frameworks have been devised using current research evidence reviewed and endorsed by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) alongside guidance from an Expert Advisory group and other sector representatives. The frameworks will be kept under review as the evidence base develops over time and adaptations made accordingly. 

For more information on both of these frameworks please visit the Partnership Portal  

St Mary’s Partnerships 

Partnership Office 

For placement enquiries please email or  


Access to documentation on the Partnership Portal 

Copies of all St Mary’s University Partnership documents are available on the Portal: 


Index of appendices 

Appendix A: Roles and commitments 

Appendix B: ITT criteria 

Appendix C: Financial Arrangements 




(Alliance name) and St Mary’s University 

School Direct Secondary Tuition Fee Partnership Agreement 

This agreement relates only to School Direct Tuition Fee, there is a separate agreement for SD salaried. 


1. Purpose of the Agreement 

This document sets out the agreed commitment between xxxx and St Mary’s University to run a School Direct Tuition Fee (SDTF) Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Partnership in the academic year 2022 - 2023. School Direct Fee SDF (recruited through Lead School) PGCE with QTS leads to the award of either the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with 60 credits of Masters (Level 7) or the Professional Certificate in Education (PfCE) with less than 60 credits at Masters (Level 6). The Partnership will jointly contribute to the selection, recruitment, training and assessment of a trainee. The agreement has been designed so that the Partnership fulfils the DfE requirements for ITT. Accreditation of the programme lies with St Mary’s University with all other matters being shared. All quality assurance (QA) requirements of St Mary’s University are fully met in line with the St Mary’s University PGGE subject regulations. 


For the purposes of this agreement the nomenclature is as follows 

(Alliance lead school ) refers to the School Direct alliance lead school 

Alliance school refers to all other schools within the School Direct alliance 

Accrediting Provider refers to St Mary’s University 

The Partnership refers to the all parties as mentioned above 

2. Statement of Values 

Four core values define St Mary’s and underpin all we do as a University. They are: 

  • Inclusiveness 

We celebrate differences, recognising that everyone is born with a unique identity. St Mary’s is a place where students and staff can reach their full potential and make a positive contribution to society. 

  • Generosity of Spirit 

Our generosity of spirit sets us apart. It can be seen in the encouragement, collegiality, empathy, helpfulness and service to be found across the University. 

  • Respect 

We respect everybody. We treat everyone as we ourselves would want to be treated. 

  • Excellence 

We strive to be the best at everything we do. We seek professionalism through setting high standards and continuous improvement in all our practices and work. 


The Partnership believes that the purpose of teacher education is to equip teachers with the relevant knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and behaviours so that, through their teaching, they meet the academic, cognitive, physical, emotional, spiritual, moral, social and aesthetic needs of the pupils and trainees in schools. 

The Partnership is deeply committed to developing critically reflective practitioners who are committed to their own continual professional learning. In order to develop as effective teachers, it is essential that trainees have opportunities both to practice their classroom skills and to reflect on and develop their practice with the support of high-quality training, coaching and mentoring. 

The partnership is fully committed to training high quality teachers capable of rapid professional advancement through to leadership roles. 

The Partnership will actively promote fundamental British values through its work with trainee teachers. These values are embedded in democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, and none. 

3. Equal Opportunities 

The Partnership is committed to equal opportunity for all individuals regardless of race, culture, religion, age, gender or disability and sexual orientation. St Mary’s University has the responsibility to ensure that all trainees have the health and physical capacity to teach, as set out in the DfE ITT criteria. 

4. Relationship with existing Initial Teacher Training and other programmes 

Schools working in the SD partnership may also be working with a range of other ITT providers. Whilst these will be separate from the SD Partnership there will be clear synergies that are mutually beneficial. It is critical that all parties, whatever ITT route they are engaged with, share a clear, common and accurate understanding of what trainee teachers need to achieve and demonstrate to meet the Teachers’ Standards for QTS. 

Assignments for the award of the PGCE will be those validated by St Mary’s University. There will be a strong connectivity between the SD cohort and the St Mary’s University cohort in order to facilitate peer support including support for subject knowledge development. 

5. Future employment of School Direct trainees 

The School Direct guidance states that There is an expectation that trainees will be employed as newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in your school partnership once they are qualified.  

6. Funding 

Trainees will be charged St Mary’s University fees at the same level as other PGCE trainees, have access to a Trainee Loan (SLC) and receive a training bursary (if applicable) in line with current DfE awards. In 2022 - 23 St Mary’s University have set a fee of £9,250. 

Distribution of monies: Please see Appendix C 

7. The Strategic Partnership Board (SPB) 

This group will meet termly, with an agenda based on schools’ and St Mary’s needs and a strong focus on the Quality Assurance of the Partnership. The meeting will be held ‘virtually’ with the recorded link distributed to all PCMs to view. All SDF Lead School schools will have a representative attend this Board. 

Day-to-day operational matters on this programme will be dealt with by the school’s PCM who can relay information to the SPB through the St Mary’s Partnership Lead. Any School Lead Manager or PCM can be a member of the SPB. 

8. Partnership Responsibilities 

By signing this document Sacred Heart and St Mary’s University agree to form the SD Partnership and commit the institutions to: 

• ensuring compliance with DfE ITT Requirements; and 

• ensuring that St Mary’s University Academic Regulations for the award of Qualified Teacher Status and the Secondary Post Graduate Certificate in Education are met. Sacred Heart will be the lead partner for communication with the Department for Education in relation to the SD partnership allocations and recruitment. As the accredited provider St Mary’s University will be the lead partner for communication with DfE regarding the award of Qualified Teacher Status. 

The Alliance will be responsible for naming both assessed school placements for each trainee, and their enhancement placement. They will need to be able to demonstrate that the schools chosen for placement are diverse, and be prepared to support the mentors who will work with each trainee in each school placement. The Alliance will also make a payment from the funding it receives for both school placements in negotiation with the alliance schools. 

Operational level matters will be the joint responsibility of The Alliance and St Mary’s Head of Department for Partnerships. 


9. Quality Assurance 

SDTF trainees will be registered as St Mary’s University trainees. They will be part of the current St Mary’s core PGCE cohort and as such all St Mary’s University Quality Assurance procedures will apply. 

Internal Procedures 

Formal joint assessment of trainees must take place throughout the school experience by the school and university tutor. The final grades are then agreed upon by all relevant partners. 

All partners must be aware of and agree to carry out the general characteristics of each school placement as set out in Appendix A. 

External Procedures 

St Mary’s will provide external visits from the University and External Examiners who will operate under the regulations of St Mary’s University. The Subject Tutor and External Examiner will support and quality assure the assessment of approximately 10% of finalist trainees both: 

  1. against the Standards for the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), and 

  1. through two formal assignments for the award of the PGCE (M) or two additional assignments for PGCE (H). 

The External Examiner will be responsible to the relevant university assessment boards. 

Student Staff forum 

SDF subject representatives will report to the University Secondary PGCE Student Staff forum twice in the academic year, once in January and then again in June. The minutes are then fed back to the full SPB as well as Monitoring & Quality Assurance (M&QA) Link Tutor meetings. 

Programme Board 

Student representatives will report to the University Programme Boards twice in the Academic Year. 

10. Partnership Staffing 

School-based staff where possible will contribute significantly to the recruitment and selection of trainees alongside university subject staff. 

The Partnership will ensure that schools provide appropriate experienced staff for mentoring and the Partnership will ensure appropriate training for such Mentors. Please see the portal for all mentor training opportunities. All Mentors MUST have undertaken designated mentor training modules and undertaken joint lesson observations with M&QA Link Tutors as part of their training. An Early Career Teacher (ECT) would not usually be expected to take the role of mentor. 

University M&QA Link Tutors will liaise with PCMs in alliance schools on a termly basis to ensure individual training needs are met. 

Certification of Partnership Staff 

Many school-based staff have significant experience of working as Mentor and/or PCM. The current Partnership has a wealth of expertise in providing effective training for such staff. St Mary’s is a regional leader in providing certification of the effective work of mentors. 

10. Assessment 

For all trainees, judgements and decisions relating to progress and attainment will be the responsibility of the Mentor working with the PCM and the University M&QA Link Tutor (as the accredited provider) and will operate through the PGCE Examination Boards. 

Recommendation for QTS: 

All trainees in their final placement must be assessed as ‘Met’ in each of the eight Teachers’ Standards to be recommended for the award of QTS. This will be monitored and assessed through use of the training documents and Assessment Profiles used by the St Mary’s PGCE trainees and processed through the St Mary’s Examination Board. 

11. Course structure 

Please see Appendix 2 for Timetable 

For School Direct Tuition Fee trainees the structure will follow exactly that of the St Mary’s University core PGCE (M) QTS programme. 

NB Under St Mary’s academic regulations, students are entitled to request a leave of absence (LOA).  Should this occur, a review meeting will be convened with the student, a representative from St Mary’s Partnership team and the School Direct Alliance.  The date and location of their outstanding assessed school placements will be agreed at this meeting. 

12. Safeguarding 

St Mary’s University will undertake an enhanced DBS check of all trainees including a check of the children’s barred list. The outcome of this check will be formally notified to the school. 

Schools do not have to (but may wish to) record this evidence on their single central record (DfE Keeping Children Safe in Education). 

Please note: St Mary’s would be deemed non-compliant in sharing a trainee disclosure as it is an offence under the 1997 Police Act punishable by fine and / or imprisonment AND for the school to obtain such information (NCTL / DfE update January 2015). 

Where a school or college allows an individual to start work in regulated activity before the DBS certificate is available, they should ensure that the individual is appropriately supervised (DfE Keeping Children Safe in Education). 

If St Mary’s University removes a trainee from a programme because that trainee has harmed or poses a risk of harm to children, advice will be sought from and a report will be sent to DBS. 

There are some convictions, offences, cautions and warnings that would not pose a barrier to a trainee joining a programme of ITT. Cases where disclosures are made will be considered by the Head of Admissions and the Registrar and where necessary, the HoD Partnerships and the Head of the Institute of Education. These will then be anonymised and discussed with strategic partners to ensure transparency. 

It is the responsibility of the trainee to inform St Marys University if there are any changes to the content of a DBS. Failure to do so could result in termination of programme. 

St Mary’s full Safeguarding Policy for ITT can be found on the Partnership Portal (accessed at using the password: partnership). 

13. Withdrawal from the Agreement 

Either partner may, following consultation, withdraw from trainee placements if there is evidence of: 

  • a change in circumstances which would affect the quality of the training experience provided; or 

  • a change in circumstances, which make collaboration between the partners in respect of trainee placements impractical. 

It is understood that all partners will do their utmost to avoid late cancellation of placements and that withdrawal during a placement is reserved only for exceptional circumstances. 

14. De-selection 

University M&QA link tutors may de-select departments after consultation with the HoD Partnerships and the Lead School Manager in any Partner School if there is evidence of an inability to meet the Quality Assurance demands within this Partnership Agreement. 

15. 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. 



Appendix A: Roles and commitments 

The University will: 

  1. provide a Programme Lead and M&QA tutor to ensure the fulfilment of the responsibilities of the University, which are specified here; 

  1. participate in all matters related to publicity and admissions procedures for the course; 

  1. handle all administrative matters related to course accreditation, inspection, assessment and examination procedures and quality assurance; 

  1. work with Lead Schools to manage and co-ordinate the course; 

  1. provide training opportunities for all staff involved in delivering the course; 

  1. share the University-based programme content; 

  1. collate information on trainees' academic background, initial audit and interim and final assessments, and facilitate discussion of these between Partner Schools and the University; 

  1. provide personal guidance and support for trainees through academic staff tutorials and access to expert counselling, if required, through Student Services and/or the Students Union; 

  1. provide trainees with training in awareness of their legal status in school and of e-safety procedures in schools and subject classrooms; 

  1. ensure that trainees undertake DBS clearance and provide partners with confirmation that the DBS has been undertaken; 

  1. ensure that trainees undertake a ‘Fitness to Teach’ assessment; 

  1. monitor the Partnership School’s contribution to training through the Professional Studies programme; 

  1. ensure that all procedures are carried out for the final assessment of trainees for the award of the PGCE and Qualified Teacher Status, and for the completion of an NQT transition document; 

  1. closely monitor trainees work life balance to protect the trainee’s well-being and challenge unnecessary workload demands; 

  1. adhere to the Partnership procedures in course materials relating to trainee concerns. 

  1. in conjunction with the Lead School monitor the alliance schools' contribution to training, offering extra support where required to ensure that training provided is of a high standard; 

  1. organise internal and external moderation procedures, and in collaboration with the Lead School investigate quality issues raised through such moderation. 


The University Partnership Office and Link tutor will: 

  1. provide school-based staff with relevant subject and course documentation; 

  1. provide trainees and school-based staff with communications from University; 

  1. visit trainees on at least two occasions during each of the School Experiences to observe, support and carry out a QA check of the placement; 

  1. discuss trainee progress in relation to the Teachers’ Standards for QTS; 

  1. provide support for the award of the St Mary’s University PGCE. 


The Lead School will: 

  1. ensure that all trainees are provided with clear guidance in respect of the safeguarding of children; 

  1. provide a senior and experienced member of staff, taking leadership of ITT, to fulfil the role of the Professional Coordinating Mentor (PCM) and make appropriate provision for all school placements; 

  1. provide St Mary’s placement office with details of all placements by 30 September 2021; 

  1. ensure that all staff receive appropriate on-going training and support to fulfil their roles in ITT; 

  1. ensure that staff training encompasses equal opportunity legislation as it applies to their roles in ITT; 

  1. provide outstanding mentors who have the appropriate subject knowledge and understanding, the pedagogical skills, and the interpersonal qualities, willingness and time to support trainees; 

  1. ensure that trainees are placed in diverse settings that include challenging socio-economic placements or experiences in schools; 


The Alliance School will: 

  1. act as the first point of contact with the Lead School managers and administration in co-ordinating all aspects of the training and assessment of the ITT programme; 

  1. provide a programme of induction to the school and training in whole-school issues; 

  1. provide induction into class procedures, data resources and specifications as appropriate; 

  1. receive and approve the trainee teacher’s lesson plans in good time and provide appropriate feed-back in time for the trainee to make agreed amendments; 

  1. ensure that the trainee is formally observed once a week and is provided with written feedback recorded on Abyasa; 

  1. jointly observe with the University Link Tutor and/or host mentor as appropriate; 

  1. identify in the trainee profile areas for development for the next phase of training and work with the trainee to set targets and agree a plan of action; 

  1. monitor progress on the trainee profile on Abyasa during the School Experience; 

  1. oversee the assessment and recording of pupils’ progress undertaken by the trainee; 

  1. provide appropriate training and support for trainees including a guaranteed private meeting each week (approx. 1 hr) between the mentor and trainee, the outcome of which is recorded on Abyasa; 

  1. co-ordinate the evaluation of school-based training by trainees and mentors and liaise with the Lead School management as appropriate; 

  1. have responsibility for implementation and review of school experience activities; 

  1. manage the school-based aspects of any ASP (additional support plan) issued ensuring that trainee, Lead School mentor and University Link Tutor are informed, in good time, of the concerns, targets, time-frame and outcomes agreed; 

  1. provide access to information on the school’s use of a range of data to support pupils’ learning and progress, such as target-setting; assessment and transfer information; 

  1. include trainees in parents' meetings, reporting to parents, and the school’s professional development programme; 

  1. keep the Lead School manager informed of any developments in school that might affect adversely the quality of the trainee experience in school; 

  1. assess the progress against the Standards at the end of each practice together with the partnership tutor as appropriate and agree grades. 


Appendix B: ITT criteria 

Entry Criteria 

All accredited ITT providers must ensure: 

C1.1 All entrants have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 (see note 2) in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics, and 

that all who intend to train to teach pupils aged 3 to 11 additionally have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 in the GCSE examination in a science subjectC1.2 That, in the case of graduate programmes of ITT, all entrants hold a first degree of a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent qualification. 

C1.2 All accredited ITT providers must ensure that, in the case of graduate programmes of ITT, all entrants hold a first degree of a United Kingdom higher education institution or equivalent qualification 

C1.3 That all entrants, as part of the provider's selection procedures, have taken part in a rigorous selection process designed to assess their suitability to teach. 

Training Criteria 

All accredited ITT providers must ensure the following: 

C2.2 No training programme should cover fewer than 4 consecutive school years. 

C2.3 All accredited ITT providers must ensure that training programmes are designed to provide trainee teachers with sufficient time being trained in schools (see note 5), early years and/or further education settings to enable them to demonstrate that they have met all the standards for QTS. This means they would typically be structured to include at least the following periods of time to be spent in training in schools, early years or further education settings: 

a four-year undergraduate programme - 160 days (32 weeks) 

a one, two or three-year undergraduate programme - 120 days (24 weeks) 

a secondary graduate (non-employment-based) programme - 120 days (24 weeks) 

C2.4 That each trainee teacher has taught in at least two schools. 

NB It is unlikely that any trainee, however experienced, would be able to demonstrate achievement of all the standards for QTS over a period of less than six consecutive weeks of training in a school in which their teaching is regularly observed and assessed.  

Management and Quality Assurance Criteria 

All accredited ITT providers must ensure the following: 

C3.1 That their management structure ensures the effective operation of the training programme. 

C3.2 That partners establish a partnership agreement setting out the roles and responsibilities of each partner. 

C3.3 That they comply with all current legislation relevant to ITT. 

C3.4 That they monitor, evaluate and moderate all aspects of provision rigorously and demonstrate how these contribute to securing improvements in the quality of training and the assessment of trainees. 

Appendix C: Financial Arrangements 22-23  


St Mary’s University agrees to distribute monies as follows: 

  1. In total from the £9250 fee paid by the trainee, a total of £3000 per trainee will be paid to the Lead school.  This will be paid upon invoice from the school in 3 payments over the year (October, March and June) as long as the trainee remains on the course. 

  1. The £3000 will include monies for the Lead School to pay alliance school costs for placements.