Thinking of a career in teaching?

School Direct is an exciting training route for graduates interested in teaching at early years, primary or secondary level. Working in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, our Wirral-based Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programme is delivered in schools, by teachers.

About Us

Weatherhead High School, a World Class school, leads the Weatherhead Teaching School Alliance (WTSA), with our strategic partner, St. George’s Primary School, leading on delivery of Early Years and Primary training.

WTSA is a partnership of Early Years, Primary and Secondary schools on the Wirral peninsula who have an excellent reputation for working collaboratively to deliver high-quality School Direct PGCE training.

Primary and Secondary PGCE with QTS are offered through School Direct programmes (Tuition Fee and Salaried), in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

Train to Teach with the Weatherhead Teaching School Alliance

Our School Direct PGCE trainees spend the majority of their one-year full time training programme in the classroom, getting to the heart of what outstanding teaching looks like.

From the start of the course, our trainees enjoy a rigorous training programme, delivered by highly-skilled teachers and supported by excellent school-based subject and professional mentors, and by experienced LJMU Liaison Tutors.

WTSA draws on the vast experience of our teaching teams to provide regular professional skills sessions where trainees across the Alliance have a chance to learn together as a larger group.

Our trainees are assigned a home school where they develop their teaching, and an alternate 6-week placement in a contrasting school within the Alliance during Term 2 of the course. All our Alliance schools are experienced in providing ITT and excel at developing and training their staff.

We recruit and select our own trainees and, whilst we cannot guarantee employment, it is our aim to employ the majority of our trainees within our alliance of schools, offering excellent opportunities for career development.

Partner Schools

The Weatherhead Teaching School Alliance comprises the following Wirral-based schools for our School Direct tuition fee course:

Primary Schools – Wallasey Primary Alliance

Liscard Primary School

Park Primary School

St. George’s Primary School

Secondary Schools

Birkenhead High School Academy

Clare Mount Specialist Sports College

The Mosslands School

Weatherhead High School

West Kirby Grammar School

Wirral Grammar School for Girls

Train to Teach Places for 2021-2022

All our places for 2021-2022 have now been filled. If you would like information about 2022-23 please do not hesitate to contact us.

Entry Requirements

Two Training Pathways – tuition fee and salaried routes.

  • Tuition fee training is for high-quality graduates who want to be trained as part of a school team from day one.
  • Salaried training is an employment-based route for high-quality experienced graduates with work experience in a school environment or a related subject area. You will earn a salary while you train and be expected to assume classroom teaching from the onset. Before you apply, you must have a school willing to support you and to employ you whilst you train.

ENTRY onto all routes will require:

  • A minimum of 10 days of school based experience either undertaken, or booked to take place. Please acknowledge whether you have, or plan to gain, experience in your application form. This is currently COVID restriction dependent.
  • You will also be required to meet the Department for Education’s standards for physical and mental fitness to teach and clearance to work with children. Further information, including a Declaration of Health questionnaire and details of how to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure will be sent to you after you have firmly accepted an offer.

ADDITIONAL Entry Requirements – Primary

  • Ideally we are looking for applicants with a least a 2:2 degree.
  • Your degree can be in any field for primary places.
  • You will need grade ‘C’ or above in GCSE Maths, English and Science.

ADDITIONAL Entry Requirements – Secondary

  • GCSE grade C minimum (or equivalent) in English and Maths
  • A first degree in a relevant subject / discipline
  • A minimum degree classification of 2:2

ADDITIONAL Entry Requirements – Salaried Training

  • As well as the above requirements, you will need a minimum of 2 years experience working in a school based setting and you must have a school willing to support you and to employ you whilst you train.

Those that do not meet the required baseline criteria will be rejected at the application stage.

Your offer is conditional on completing ALL conditions of entry. These will be made available on UCAS.

Funding and Finance

  • If you are on a postgraduate ITT course which is not salaried, you will have to pay tuition fees.
  • Tuition fees are paid by salaried routes, but this can be part of your salary offer (this does vary).
  • Tuition fees for 2021/22 are £9,250.
  • Home and EU students may be eligible for a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of tuition fees charged.
  • Bursaries are available for trainees on eligible postgraduate courses in England – please see DfE guidance.

Teacher Training Scholarships

Graduates with a 2:1 and above, who have the potential to be inspirational teachers can apply for a scholarship with the appropriate professional body. As well as the financial award, scholars will receive a package of additional benefits provided by the professional bodies – please see DfE guidance.


Click here for information of funding for postgraduate teacher training from the Department for Education.

How to Apply for Teacher Training

Teacher training places for 2021/22 with the Weatherhead Teaching School Alliance are available to view here.

Applications are now open on UCAS Postgraduate Teacher Training.


Step 1: Find Postgraduate Teacher Training Courses

Postgraduate teacher training courses can be found on the Department of Education’s website for courses in England.

The Weatherhead High School provider code is 21D.

Step 2: Your Personal Statement

When completing your application form, you will need to prepare a personal statement. This is your opportunity to let us know why you want a career in teaching and to let us know what skills and training you have. Get into teaching has advice on how to make your personal statement stand out.

Step 3: References

You will need two references for you Teacher Training application. We recommend letting your references know in advance, so not to delay your application. Find out more about requirements for references.

Step 4: Apply

Applications are done via UCAS, which opened on 13th October 2020. It is a competitive process and even though the UCAS window is open from October to mid June, we strongly recommend applying as early as possible as the number of allocated places fill extremely quickly.

Interview Process

Remote Interviews via Zoom

Candidates who meet the criteria will be invited by email to attend a selection process to show their potential for the course. There will be a number of activities to be undertaken for this process.

Student Task

Advance preparation of a 30 minute lesson on a topic of your choice.


A 5 minute presentation relating to the title ‘What makes an outstanding lesson?’

Formal Interview

This is a set script of questions with specific assessment criteria for each.

Face to Face Interviews

Candidates who meet the criteria will be invited by email to attend a selection process to show their potential for this course.

There will be a number of activities to be undertaken during the process.


A 5 minute presentation relating to the title ‘What makes an outstanding lesson?’

Student task

A 30 minute lesson, around a topic of your choice that links to your subject area.

Lesson observation

You will be asked to observe and analyse a lesson.

Formal interview

This is a set script of questions with specific assessment criteria for each.


After the selection process candidates will be informed of the outcome within 48 hours.

We are looking for candidates who are:

  • Dedicated to pursuing a teaching career
  • Passionate and enthusiastic about their subject
  • Organised, punctual and willing to give your own time to the school and its students
  • Able to reflect on their own practice, accept guidance and constructive criticism
  • Able to guide and drive your own learning, using initiative and by being proactive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I look to gain from School Direct?

If you complete the School Direct training programme successfully you will gain a PGCE with 60 Masters level credits. From here you can take up employment and continue with your studies as an Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT).s.

How is the School Direct programme funded?

If you are offered a place on this programme, tuition fees of £9250 will be applied.

There are a number of tax free bursaries or scholarships that you may be eligible for, in addition to the loans offered through student finance. Bursaries and scholarships are dependent upon a number of factors, including, degree specialism and classification.

Full details of bursaries and scholarships can be found on the Teacher Agency

Details of student finance can be found on:

For specialist/shortage subjects such as Physics, the Insititute of Physics (IOP) offers up to £28,000 funding to support Physics teacher training. Visit for more information.

Will I get thrown in the deep end, teaching classes by myself early on?

You are part of a team from the start and receive intensive support from experienced teachers in the classroom. You won’t be teaching classes unsupported until the school thinks you are ready, and opportunities will exist to build networks with fellow trainees.

Will I only train in one school? I want something broader than this.

To become a qualified teacher, you have to take training placements in two schools. Trainees will train in at least two schools – and will usually spend time in other schools too.

As part of our School Direct programme, we try to ensure that our associate teachers train in a contrasting school from their home school, for their alternative placements.

Is there academic or theoretical training? Will I get a PGCE?

You will spend plenty of time in academic training, comparable to the university-led route. Most school-led courses result in a Master’s-level qualification such as a PGCE as well as qualified teacher status (QTS).

Don’t most people just go to university to do teacher training?

School-led routes into teaching have been around for many years, and have very high rates of trainee satisfaction. This year half of postgraduate teacher training places were school-led.

Will I receive the same level of financial support that I would following a university-led path to teaching?

You could get a £26k tax-free bursary to train as a teacher on both school-led teacher training and a traditional university-led path. With an option to earn a salary on School Direct (salaried), this route is suitable if you are already working at a school, or have work experience that you can demonstrate transfers to teaching.

Trainees on the salaried programme are recruited and employed directly by schools, and often continue teaching in their school following training. The amount you earn will be dependent on the school you train in and the subject you’re teaching.

Remember, tax-free bursaries and scholarships are available in some subjects on both school-led and university-led courses. On a School Direct (salaried) course, you’ll be paid and taxed as an unqualified teacher, so you should compare the bursary rate for your chosen subject with the salary on offer via School Direct (salaried) to work out which route would be best for your circumstances.

Is School Direct is the same as Teach First?

School Direct is different from Teach First – Teach First trains 2,000 outstanding graduates in selected challenging schools. You apply directly to Teach First. School Direct has around 17,500 places available in schools of all types across the country. You apply for School Direct through UCAS Teacher Training.

Are SCITTs the same as School Direct?

SCITTs are schools which have been given government approval to run their own training courses. They can be searched for under ‘SCITT programme’ on UCAS. Many SCITTs and around 8,000 schools also offer School Direct programmes, which can be searched for under ‘School Direct training programme’ and ‘School Direct training programme (salaried)’ on UCAS.

How does School Direct differ from other graduate training routes into teaching?

School Direct is an initiative which replaces the graduate teacher programme and gives schools greater control over recruiting and developing new entrants to the profession. It shifts responsibility for teacher training away from university PGCE courses and towards schools, although training schools are still expected to have a university partner.

The Association of School and College Leaders has produced a route map into teaching to help address the lack of clarity over the array of routes into the profession.

Contact Us



0151 631 4415 or 0151 631 4400 ext 265