School Direct PGDE

The University of Sheffield works in partnership with four clusters of schools to offer an additional route to a PGDE called School Direct. This route sees you working closely within a cluster of schools to complete your course.

School Direct runs alongside the Provider led PGDE and leads to the same qualification.

The main differences between the traditional PGDE (Core) and School Direct are:

  • You will normally have your two school placements in the schools within the cluster to which you are attached, rather than in any school across the partnership.
  • The schools in your cluster will have a greater input into the PGDE programme throughout the year.
  • There may be a possibility of securing employment within the cluster of schools to which you are attached, subject to availability and suitability.

We are working with four school clusters:

Lead school Location of cluster Subjects offered

Aston Community Education Trust (ACET)

Aston Academy


English, Geography, Mathematics, Languages, Biology, Chemistry, History, Physics with Maths

The Mercia Learning Alliance

King Ecgbert 

Sheffield English, Geography, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, History, Biology, Physics with Maths, Languages

Sheffield TSA

Sheffield Teaching School Alliance

Silverdale School

Sheffield Geography, Mathematics

Ashfield School ITT

Ashfield School

Nottingham English, Geography, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, History, Biology, Physics with Maths, Languages

Structure of the School Direct PGDE

Photograph of PGDE students

In the University based part of the course, student teachers spend roughly 75% of their time in subject groups and 25% in cross-curricular Educational and Professional Studies (EPS) groups. Secondary school experience commences during October, with student teachers returning to the university on Fridays to share and reflect on experience. A longer period of school experience takes place from the end of January to the end of May. Student teachers complete four assignments at Masters level, exploring issues and school experience through research investigations and critical reflection. In the summer term, student teachers undertake an Enrichment or Enhancement Experience in a different educational context.

As part of the School Direct cohort you may be offered additional experience within one of your cluster schools.

Recruitment and selection

The School Direct PGDE course attracts a large number of applicants. Interview procedures and selection criteria have been agreed between the lead schools in the cluster, and all interviews take place in one of those schools. You will be interviewed in a school by a University tutor and a member of staff from the School Direct team. The majority of students have good qualifications in their subject specialisms with around 70% having degrees at 2.1 or above. A very high proportion of students gain QTS with 120 masters credits and enter the teaching profession.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Some elements are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.