School Direct PGDE

The University of Sheffield is working 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 traditional 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 T.S.A

Silverdale School

Sheffield Geography, Mathematics

ALTIUS - Derbyshire Teaching School Alliance

St Mary's Catholic High School

Chesterfield English, Mathematics, Geography, History, Languages, Biology, Chemistry, Physics

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 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 71% having degrees of 2.1 or above. A very high proportion of students gain QTS with 120 masters credits and enter the teaching profession.