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Is there anyone here who can speak to me about school direct (primary)?

(18 Posts)
AvocadoLime Sun 02-Aug-15 12:07:44

I keep finding contradictory information online, so it would be much easier if someone in the know could just help me with a few questions! I am at an early stage in researching this, so sorry if I ask anything blindingly obvious.

A little background: I graduated with a high 2.1 in 2013 and have worked in several jobs (9 months of that has been spent on mat leave, but I'm hoping they wouldn't discriminate against that) since. I am about to start as a childminder as soon as my Ofsted application has finished, so will have experience working with children. I am planning to go into a local school and help when I have chance, too.

For a while now I have wanted to go into primary teaching. I have looked at PGCE vs. school direct options and, since I have a child to support and enough student debt already, I think that salaried school direct would be the most sensible option for me. I will have had 3 years of out of university experience by the time the placement would start, would that be enough or would I need to have had that before applying?

I have read that some schools will consider part time placements. This appeals to me because my DP works long hours and I would prefer to put my DS in nursery only part time. It would not be the end of the world if I had to put him in full time, he will just be turning 2 and there's a nearby nursery which starts from age 2 which I really like the look of, but of course I'd prefer to spend more time with him if possible! Does anyone know how common part time placements are and how realistic it is that I would be able to get one?

A funding question - with a salaried place, do you also have to pay some tuition fees like with an ordinary school direct place, or do you just get a salary and that's it? (Hopeful, possibly naive question! wink)

I also wondered about the applications process. I read online that you worked for a couple of schools, but I also read somewhere else that you apply directly to just one school. How does this work and who exactly am I supposed to be applying to? When are vacancies usually advertised, and where is the best place to find them?

I hope someone can help!

AvocadoLime Sun 02-Aug-15 12:13:33

Oh, I forgot to say, I was thinking of applying for the 2016 intake if my work experience is enough!

Scissor Sun 02-Aug-15 12:50:14

Just had a glance at the government website and agree is all quite overwhelming, however they do say you can register with them for advice and they also provide an 0800 number, you will not be committing to a 2015 entry if you do this, just using all their expertise.

TES forums are not as well trafficked as they used to be but can provide excellent support and advice (be aware ..it is the holidays!) I would try posting there as well.

As far as I understand salaried Schools Direct is similar to the old GTP programme where you are based in one school and will do a placement in a second.

The reason I can't be more specific is that there are differences in what is on offer in different areas so depending where you live you may find it more easy/difficult to find a placement, eg rural areas compared to high density urban.

All the best in your future.

AvocadoLime Sun 02-Aug-15 13:14:37

Great, thanks, I'll check them out!

DawnMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 02-Aug-15 13:26:05

Hi AvocadoLime,

Just wondered if you'd like us to move your thread over to our Staffroom topic? We're sure you'll get plenty more good advice there.

AvocadoLime Sun 02-Aug-15 14:15:18

Yes please Dawn! Forgot about that!

Pippidoeswhatshewants Sun 02-Aug-15 14:25:24

find out who your local providers are via UCAS here and talk to them. They will be happy to assist!

DawnMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 02-Aug-15 14:30:46

Thanks, we're moving it over now. smile

AvocadoLime Sun 02-Aug-15 14:52:50

I had a look Pippi. I'll make some phone calls tomorrow since it's Sunday today!

CharlesRyder Sun 02-Aug-15 15:23:03

IME the salaried School Direct places are like hens teeth and are likely to go to very highly qualified/ experienced people- I'm not sure child minding will give you enough directly relevant experience to get one as all the children you will be educating will be pre-schoolers.

My previous school has 6 salaried places a year (big school). These go to TAs within the school who have been employed by the school as 'Graduate TAs' for two years with the intention of then putting them through School Direct (this IMO is a great route into teaching). The only exception to this (so far, that I know of) is people career changing out of closely related professions (a SALT and ABA Tutor).

I would try to find out which school hosts the School Direct cluster in your area and phone them for advice. In the school I worked in there was a co-ordinator (we hosted his office) for all the local SD students- he would have been able to give detailed advice. There may well be someone in a similar role in your cluster.

TheTroubleWithAngels Sun 02-Aug-15 15:46:31

I would be extremely, extremely wary of Schools Direct. Another poster here calls it the wild west of school training and I agree with her.

You are completely thrown in at the deep end and left at the mercy of your mentor. It can be good, but most stories I have heard are hellish.

I realise you have a small child and don't want any more debt, but PGCE is a much better approach into teaching. If you have a science or maths background, you could be quite lucky with funding.

And yes, you will need huge amounts of experience in school (childminding isn't accepted as experience for my local uni), not only to get onto the course but to cope during it.

AvocadoLime Sun 02-Aug-15 18:19:59

Interesting, it's good to hear these things. Worth knowing about salaried places going to inside candidates. That's a shame because I thought the scheme was introduced as a way for people with other careers/responsibilities to get into teaching, not as an alternative to a PGCE for new graduates. Oh well.

I know all about getting a PGCE place - I had an offer for 2014 but I had to pass it by when I got pregnant with DS!

Maybe I could apply for both and see what options I get?

mumsneedwine Mon 03-Aug-15 11:18:30

Schools direct can be brilliant. If you already have classroom experience and behaviour management training it's pretty easy as it's basically teaching and v little study. But, if you've never stood in front of 30 kids and tried to get them to listen, I imagine it would be tough. I had 15 years HR & Training experience in the City so teaching teenagers was a nice change ! I'd suggest TA work or cover supervisor work before trying it. The OU do a part time PGCE. But you do have to pay (no fees for scho direct). However, nurseries for science, maths and mfl are pretty generous.

mumsneedwine Mon 03-Aug-15 11:19:36

Not nurseries ! Let's try bursaries

BerylThePeril44 Mon 03-Aug-15 22:45:53

I mentor school direct trainees. Our school works as part of a cluster so trainee has access to wide variety of training and experiences. School direct do still pay fees. In my experience salaried is extremely rare and mainly for those already employed in a school. Its a great way to train...lots of hands on experience. Good luck!

Effic Mon 03-Aug-15 23:18:01

Process :
A bit bonkers, keeps changing and likely to be different depending on the area. But basically there are two main routes - university led entry and teaching school led entry. In both cases, most (but not all!) of the time the university leads on the application to the programme - as in you apply to them and they decide whether you meet the the entry requirements ( a 2:1 or above, a basic English & maths competency test, a strong rationale as to why you want to teach and experience and/or what transferable skills you think you have) and if you pass through that stage you 'apply' to individual schools or more likely designated teaching schools (Google NCSL teaching schools) who you like the sound of. They then interview you and will either offer you a place or not but you can make multiple applications once you have done the university led bit. There are a few teaching schools who have dispensed with the university part and are running the whole thing themselves - you may want to check these out thoroughly because it means they have decided that they have the capacity to deliver the pedagogy and educational theory as well as the practical placement stuff - a tall order IMO.

Experience needed / amount of places / type of training:
I'm not doubting any of the very good advice given by pp but I think it must depend on where you are in the country. London may be one thing but elsewhere I know they are struggling to recruit school direct candidates. Funnily enough, Mr Gove and Mr Wiltshire's unending diatribes about how shit all teachers are has not made teaching attractive and recruitment is nosediving while there is a massive increase in folk leaving the profession. In my county, there are many really good schools (mine included) who wanted to recruit more candidates but didn't have enough applications. it can be the 'wild west' but done well, a lot of head teachers recognise that actually it is a fantastic opportunity to select candidates from the beginning who 'fit' your school and train them in your ways from the get go with the university still doing the essential theory stuff. This is where it is far more desirable that PGCE (much less time in the classroom & no choice who you get) or teach first (not enough time on theory / pedagogy & no choice who you get)! Most candidates that we have don't not have a lot of experience prior to applying - just a few weeks work experience mainly.

Hope this is helpful & good luck.

As an aside - childminding is nothing like being a primary school teacher so I would have a think about what you want to do/enjoy doing and where you think your skills lie. Early years care and development from 0-4 is a very specialist set of skills. Despite all attempts by idiot governments to 'make it like school', it really isn't. All they did was pile the stupid ott school style paperwork on to childminders. But the skills involved in early years caring and development are different and the job is different ( not better or worse or easier or harder!!) just different!

Effic Mon 03-Aug-15 23:23:29

Sorry - missed two things out. Yes - you still pay fees. You can take out student loan to cover them or I know at least one senario where they are taken out of the salary monthly.
Part time - I've not heard of this and frankly would think that would put you at a serious disadvantage against other candidates.

RevealTheHiddenBeach Tue 04-Aug-15 10:49:24

I've just completed schools direct in a school in a deprived area. They advertised 'no part time', but this year took on a part time SD person as they really wanted her and thought she'd be good. I had lots of experience in education but no experience in teaching (other than small group/1:1/1 off training sessions). For SD salaried route, in almost all cases, the school or cluster pay the course fees, I definitely didn't pay any apart from my PGCE top up (2K) but that was optional).

One thing I will say is that, especially in primary, my PT colleague found it quite difficult to get to know the children and to manage behaviour etc, as it was more tricky to build up relationships on 2 days a week! That may be much less of an issue in a different school, but in ours it was a real challenge.

I completely echo other posters' comments about the 'wild west' and agree that it depends almost completely on your school and mentor. I was extremely lucky and have a mentor who was wonderful and is now a firm friend. I took on a class full time from February, and was really well supported by the phase. However, other trainees in different schools who I knew had quite frankly crap mentors, and they really struggled - one person left. It's a bit of a roulette in that way.

Make sure you get to know the school well before you start - either through some volunteering or TA-ing, so that you have a bit of an idea of what you're letting yourself in for!

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