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Forest of Dean Schools Direct

We are delighted to offer students a practical based route to achieving Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and PGCE with our Schools Direct Programme.  Having QTS enables you to teach in state schools anywhere in England although once you are qualified, we would love you to teach in our schools!


Who We Are

Forest of Dean Schools Direct is an exciting one-year primary teacher training programme delivered with schools in the West Gloucestershire Schools’ Partnership and the University of Gloucestershire (UofG).


We are based in the idyllic Forest of Dean where Star Wars and Dr Who were filmed, and which also provided JK Rowling with the inspiration for Harry Potter!  The Forest is a rural area between the Rivers Severn and Wye, where 31% of the population live in four market towns, the remainder in small widely scattered settlements.  However, this idyll masks the fact that some areas are in the 10% most deprived wards nationally for Education, Skills & Training and Income Deprivation Affecting Children and there is a real need to raise aspirations of Forest children at an early age to make an impact in their adult life.


To make this happen, Forest of Dean Schools Direct works in partnership with schools in the West Gloucestershire Schools Partnership and the University of Gloucestershire, to design and deliver our Schools Direct Programme to train future teachers.  The emphasis on ‘partnership’ is fundamental in our intention to produce highly skilled confident teachers who can make a difference to the lives of children in our schools. This approach has led to 100% of our previous students rating our programme as Very Good / Good and 95% of our graduates employed in Gloucestershire schools.


Feedback from previous students is in italics below but a quote from one recent student says it all:


I have loved this course and will be recommending it to so many people. Thank you for helping me grow and believing in me, even when I doubted myself. I have grown in confidence and self-belief and am now ready to teach!”


So - why go anywhere else?

What We Provide


All our placements / phases take place in the beautiful Forest of Dean.  You will be teaching children aged from 5-11 years and placements are provided across many of our partnership primary schools.  When placing students, we consider individual requests for placements alongside the strengths and previous experience of our students to ensure you are in placements which provide the best learning environments for your needs.


Unlike PGCEs, School Direct students are based in school from the start enabling you to feel part of the team and a member of staff. Our programme comprises three school placements which will cover Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 in at least two separate schools.  We also ensure that you gain experience of teaching in mixed-age classes as well as working in different types of schools such as Church and academy /grant-maintained schools. 

"Being in school from the very beginning of each placement gives real hands-on experience from the start – gives lots of opportunity for observing other teachers."

Developing Phase / Placement 1 (September – December 2023):

You will observe and reflect on your practice and with support, plan, teach and assess groups and whole class, with 60% teaching by the end of term.


Broadening Phase / Main Placement (January – Easter 2024):

Planning, teaching and assessing the whole class with increasing independence with 80% teaching responsibility for final 4-5 weeks.


Enhancing Phase / Enhanced Placement (April – June 2024):

An opportunity for you to pursue personal targets and develop the range of your experience whilst continuing to undertake an 80% teaching commitment.


Across the year, visits will also take place to other settings including a secondary school, an alternative provision school, a pre-school and a special school.  This will enable you to see at first-hand how children are taught in other settings.

"I have loved how we have been able to spend so much time within schools.  This has really helped me to develop my skills and confidence in teaching.   Also, it has been incredibly useful in allowing me to apply everything I learn in CPD to my role immediately/the following week."

CPD Programme

Although you will spend most of your time in school, you will also attend regular Continuous Professional Development (CPD) sessions delivered by our teachers and specialist experts plus some sessions at the University of Gloucestershire campus in Cheltenham.


Our comprehensive CPD programme equips you with the tools, subject knowledge and understanding to teach all aspects of the curriculum from Maths to Music and all aspects of pedagogy!  This coupled with our school-based approach, enables you to develop your professional skills in diverse and supportive settings, allowing you to put theory into practice in the classroom and once you are qualified as a teacher, hit the ground running!

"The amount of high-quality cluster CPD provided by specialists and current teachers made CPD sessions useful and relevant to teaching today. The sessions covered everything I felt I needed training in and things that I hadn’t even thought about and gave me much more confidence in subjects like science and maths "


You will have a school-based mentor in each placement school who will meet you on a weekly basis to monitor and review your progress, regularly observe your teaching and provide written/verbal feedback. In addition, you will meet with our programme lead mentor (who oversees the training programme) and our other students on a weekly basis to share your experiences and participate in CPD.  You will also have a UofG link tutor who will visit you in school to observe your teaching and assess your progress.


This supportive approach enables your subject knowledge, pedagogy and development as a reflective and professional practitioner to be assessed.

"I felt very well supported and that my well-being was prioritised throughout the course. When I raised a concern or mentioned that I was anxious or struggling with something I was given help and advice immediately."


Formal assessment takes place throughout the year - there is no final written examination. Assessment is by assessed practical teaching against the Teachers’ Standards, (you will be required to maintain a portfolio of evidence to support this) and two assignments set and marked by the UofG. This will lead to the award of Qualified Teacher Status and a PGCE. In addition, you will have gained a wealth of knowledge and skills to use in your future teaching career!

What We Want From You


We are looking for students with a 1st or 2:1 degree awarded by a university in England, Wales or Scotland, or a recognised equivalent qualification. We will consider applicants with a 2:2, should they be able to demonstrate their passion for getting the best out of children and / or who have relevant experience in teaching / education or working with children.


You’ll need to have achieved a standard equivalent to GCSE grade C/4, or above in English, mathematics and science – evidence of this will be required before you start the programme.  If you don’t have GCSE English Language, Mathematics or Science, you must obtain GCSEs (or nationally recognised equivalent qualification through Equivalency Testing in these subjects before the programme begins in September 2022.  You will also need to include this information on your application.


You must be able to demonstrate an ability to communicate clearly and grammatically in spoken and written Standard English.


Personal Qualities

We are looking for the next generation of stand-out teachers - students who are passionate and excited about making a difference to our children and our schools. We want people who:

  • Are confident and able to engage with children
  • Have excellent communication and organisational skills
  • Are committed to working hard and being professional
  • Can establish good working relationships
  • Have a commitment to a professional team and to excellence in education
  • Are flexible – crucial in an active and constantly changing educational environment


Is this you? If so, come and join us!


Interview process

Once you have submitted your application, a panel of headteachers / senior leaders will assess your application looking for, amongst other things, evidence of a passion for teaching, professionalism, ability to engage with children and a good standard of written English.


Suitable candidates will be invited to attend a selection process in one of our host schools or online if the COVID-19 situation dictates. The selection process will include interaction with children, written tasks and audits in mathematics and English, and a discussion with an interview panel of headteachers/senior leaders from our schools.


We have designed our recruitment process to obtain as much information as possible about our potential students to ensure that successful applicants and placements can be suitably matched, enabling our students to develop into future teachers.


Once you have been offered a place on our School Direct Programme, depending upon your previous experience and development needs, you may be expected to undertake a school experience placement in one of our schools before starting the programme. During this experience, you will be expected to use the professional teaching standards to shape how you work with the children. This will help you in starting to develop self-reflective skills (essential in teaching) and to be clear in understanding your professional responsibilities as a teacher.



For 2023/24 all offers made will be conditional subject to the following

  • Verification of Degree qualifications (minimum 2:2)
  • Verification of GCSE English/Maths/Science (minimum Grade C / 4 or equivalency test)
  • Satisfactory Safeguarding checks including the receipt of a ‘satisfactory’ Enhanced DBS return including children’s barred list information.  This will check details of any cautions, convictions, reprimands, or warnings recorded against your name (even where they would generally be considered spent) or will confirm that you have none.  This will allow our schools and the UofG to assess your suitability for access to these vulnerable groups. 
  • Satisfactory completion of Declaration of Health Questionnaire signed off by the university doctor.
  • Verification of two references - if you currently work in a school, one of these should be your headteacher.
  • Satisfactory Certificate of Good conduct, where applicable, for those who have lived or worked abroad.


Other Requirements

Forest of Dean Schools Direct is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of vulnerable children/adults and expects all our students to share this commitment.


Training with Disabilities and Other Needs

The schools within the Forest of Dean Schools Direct Programme are actively inclusive and promote positive attitudes towards children and adults with disabilities.


It is our policy to discuss any specific requirements with students individually, but we have experience with helping students and staff who attend our training with support in areas such as dyslexia and visual impairment.  In addition, we can accommodate staff and students with physical disabilities in most of our schools.


As part of the Schools Direct Programme, our students receive support with well-being which puts the role of teaching into context and provides strategies to help them look after themselves and have a good work-life balance.


Excited About Our Programme & Want More Information?

Please get in touch:


Leigh Grantham on



01594 842172


To start your application:

Go to our webpage on the DfE Get Into Teaching website:


Forest of Dean Schools Direct 


Scroll down to the bottom and press "Apply for this Course"



So – what are you waiting for?

Come and join us!