Train to Teach Trainees

Train to Teach


If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to get in touch via email:, or by telephone: 0121 585 5385. We look forward to hearing from you.

Why should I choose School Direct with Stour Vale?

Stour Vale offers School Direct teacher training courses for prospective Primary and Secondary teachers. We are committed to recruiting enthusiastic individuals who share our passion for learning, teaching, and improving the lives of children and young people (our trainees range from recent university graduates right up to mature career changers). Our aim is to ‘grow our own’ excellent teachers to work within our partnership of schools and the wider region, which in turn will have a positive impact on the lives of children across the local area.

A School Direct PGCE is a school-based training route with some time spent in university unlike a traditional PGCE (or Core PGCE) which is a university-based route with some time spent in school. Applicants who opt for our School Direct courses value the additional time spent in school over the course of their training year essentially observing more teaching and doing more teaching themselves. There is also the added benefit that they know the lead school that they will be based at for the majority of their training whereas, with a traditional PGCE, trainees often don’t know where their school placements will be until the course actually begins. Should they have the capacity to do so, many of our trainees gain work experience in their lead school before the course begins.

Our School Direct courses are coordinated across a local partnership of schools, which enables us to effectively manage and support school placements and professional studies programmes. We also work very closely with our university partners to ensure that the school-based aspects of the course, as well as the university-based aspects, complement each other and ensure that our trainees’ experience is rigorous, robust, and most importantly, enjoyable! Combined with the university aspects of our courses, successful applicants are trained and supported by a combination of expert lecturers and serving teachers from a breath of different schools and contexts.

As Stour Vale’s School Direct partnership includes a wide variety of Primary and Secondary schools across Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, and South Staffordshire, we have excellent local links. We also work with a range of other MATs, universities, SCITTs and colleges across the West Midlands. We pride ourselves on the bespoke support that we are able to offer our trainees, from initial teacher training enquiries, the interview stage, school placements, applying for jobs, right through to gaining QTS and preparing for life as an ECT. We like to maintain professional links with our previous trainees and many of our former trainees currently work in Stour Vale schools.

If you have questions or would like to find out more about us and our courses, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would love to hear from you!

What qualifications do I need to apply?

For Primary, you need to have a degree and GCSEs (at least a C or 4) in English, Maths and Science.

For Secondary, you need to have a degree related to the subject that you wish to teach and GCSEs (at least a C or 4) in English and Maths.

A minimum of a 2.2 is required although, in rare circumstances, a third class degree may be accepted for candidates with a significant amount of prior school experience.

We accept applications from candidates with pending GCSEs. GCSE equivalency tests are available through our university partners.

For more information, or to discuss your individual circumstances with us, please get in touch via

What else are you looking for?

A passion for working with young people is essential. Prior work experience, either in a school or working with the age range that you wish to teach  (such as Girl Guides, youth clubs, sports teams, etc) is desirable.

A passion for your subject, particularly at Secondary, is also essential.

What are the costs? Is funding available?

All of our School Direct courses are unsalaried.

Tuition fees of £9250 apply and are paid to the HE provider. Tuition fees and maintenance loans are available through Student Finance. Training bursaries are also available for some Secondary subjects.  

For more information on funding your training, please visit:

Do you offer salaried positions?

Unfortunately, we do not offer salaried training positions. All of our School Direct courses are unsalaried.

What if I want to teach a subject at secondary and my degree isn't in that subject?

Related degrees need to contain a significant amount of the subject that you intend to teach. If you are unsure if your degree contains enough of a particular subject in order to go on to teach it, it is useful to have a copy of your degree transcript. A-levels in the subject that you wish to teach, whilst not essential, are desirable. 

Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses (SKEs) are available for successful applicants who need to improve aspects of their subject knowledge before their training begins.

Please get in touch via to discuss your individual circumstances. We are more than happy to help.

How can I get school experience?

We are happy to support prospective applicants to gain work experience in school. Please get in touch with us via to discuss the potential arrangements. 

What is the difference between a PGCE and QTS?

All of our School Direct courses result in a PGCE with QTS.

A Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is a higher education qualification. Usually, a PGCE awards 60 credits that can be applied to a future Masters qualification. In England, there are two routes to gaining a PGCE – either on a university-led teacher training course or school-led courses such as School Direct.

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is a legal requirement to teach in many English schools and is considered essential for teachers in the majority of schools in England. Even in schools where QTS is not a legal requirement, many schools use QTS to assess the quality of candidates for teaching jobs. 

What happens at the end of my training course?

At the end of your training, you are assessed against the Teachers’ Standards. If you have met those standards at an appropriate level, you will be awarded QTS. You will then be able to work as a qualified teacher in England and start your two-year Early Career Teacher (ECT) induction.

Stour Vale provides support for our trainees to help them gain employment. This includes Professional Studies sessions, tips for interviews, and support with drafting applications. As we have excellent links to a wide range of local schools across the Black Country, we are well-placed to bring upcoming jobs to our trainees’ attention.  

Often, our trainees go on to gain employment in one of their placement schools and there are a number of our former School Direct trainees working in our schools today. In fact, some of our former trainees, a few years later, have gone on to become mentors for our subsequent trainees!

For all enquiries, call us on 0121 585 5385 or email