Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

Why School Direct Is the Perfect Mix for Kimberley

Changing career to become a teacher is a big step. Kimberley Tinsley left a 13-year career working as a children’s Speech and Language Therapist in the NHS to join our School Direct Primary PGCE. And she is enjoying every moment.

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Routes into Teaching at the University of Derby. Find out more about becoming a teacher and the wide range of courses we have to offer.

If you’re passionate about embarking on a teaching career, the PGCE Primary (School Direct) enables you to immerse yourself in practical experience from the outset.

Fully prepared for a teaching role

School Direct courses have high levels of employment and student satisfaction. You will be recruited as a trainee and based mainly in one of our Academic Partners, so you will become a valuable part of a school team from the start.

With intensive support in the classroom and the guidance of University experts, you will be fully prepared for the practical demands of primary teaching. This includes teaching the core subjects as well as the wider National Curriculum subjects.

As part of the course, you will undertake three assessed teaching placements to broaden your experience. You will be supported throughout by expert colleagues including our trained school mentors, subject specialists and link tutors.

You will also spend time at the University to develop your understanding of what it takes to become a great teacher.

A first class learning experience

With a rich heritage in teacher training dating back over 150 years, we have a strong reputation for nurturing successful, confident and forward-thinking primary teachers.

In our 2015 Ofsted inspection, we received an ‘outstanding’ rating for the quality of our work. Our Primary Leadership Team was praised for putting students at the heart of all they do and for ensuring they have excellent career outcomes.

Our students were described as “highly motivated and passionate about working with children,” keen to be fully involved in the everyday life of schools.

The power of partnerships

As one of the major Initial Teacher Education providers in the East Midlands, we have longstanding partnerships with more than 400 schools across the regionand beyond, including rural, multi-cultural and inner city schools.

For the School Direct course, we have joined forces with a network of partner schools which work in clusters to support you on placement. Ofsted described our relationships with these partnership schools as ‘excellent’.

Specialisms to suit you

You can tailor your studies to match your own interests and career plans. Depending on your preference and any prior experience, you can choose to specialise in teaching Early Years (3–7 year olds), Primary (5–11 year olds), or SEND.

Each route includes a placements in a host school appropriate to your chosen route to help you advance your teaching and learning skills in specific areas.

If you choose to specialise in SEND you will focus on a diverse range of topics including SEND policy and legislation, effective inclusive practice, and meeting the challenges of teaching in the SEND sector.

Relevant, up to date and challenging

At a time when rapid policy shifts are transforming the educational landscape, we will help you to meet the challenge of change in the modern classroom. Ours is an intellectually stimulating course which will keep you up to date with all the latest developments, including the Core Content Framework.

You will be taught by a highly competent and qualified team of tutors, including published authors and influential researchers whose work is helping to shape the future of the profession. 

Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

You'll study modules such as:

There will be an opportunity for you to engage with teacher inquiry in a chosen subject area. 

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

You will be recruited as a trainee and based mainly in a school, within one of our academic partnerships. Located across the Midlands, they will work together in clusters to support you on placement. The placements and enhanced school opportunities will provide you with challenging and exciting experiences.

You'll also spend time at the University, working in our excellent facilities with University and school-based expert colleagues, in order to develop your growing understanding of what it takes to become a great teacher.

How you're assessed

All assessments relate to your school placements; you will complete three assessed teaching placements, two in your main school and one in a second school, and additional enhanced school opportunities, which will provide you with the challenging and exciting experience you need. There will be in-depth teacher enquiry on school-based issues.

You'll also have the opportunity to reflect on and discuss your developing subject knowledge of the core and wider curriculum subjects, as well as developing your skills in research-informed practice.

Who will teach you

Jo Baines
Programme leader

Jo Baines is the Programme Leader for the Primary School Direct Programme at the University of Derby. Jo is passionate about the teaching of reading and writing.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

For entry on to any Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programme, there is a minimum requirement nationally of a Grade C (Grade 4) or above in English Language, science and mathematics at GCSE).

Applicants must have an Undergraduate Honours degree or equivalent.  The minimum classification is 2:2. A 3rd Class degree may be considered if there were extenuating and exceptional circumstances that may provide a context for the classification; in this instance the candidate will be asked to attend a panel to discuss the outcome. This may include the need for Level 7 support and guidance for masterly reading and writing, as supported by the PAT system. 

There are a range of equivalencies and you should check with the School Direct admissions team. Please contact if you need clarification.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is required at the point of accepting a place at the University. The Disclosure and Barring Service was established when the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged in 2012 and will now provide the criminal records checking service for this course.

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

You must apply for this course through the Department for Education. You can apply for 2023/24 entry on the GOV.UK website.

Your application will be processed by the academic partners you've chosen to study at. For 2023/24 our partners are:

For admissions enquiries, please contact


There are few professions as important and satisfying as teaching. Successful completion of this course gives you the ideal springboard into a worthwhile career: a PGCE, Qualified Teacher Status, 60 credits at masters level and substantial practical experience.

The School Direct route is a popular choice for students who would like to secure a role in the network of schools where they train and we pride ourselves on producing highly employable graduates. Ofsted said: “Many trainees gain teaching posts before they finish their training and almost all have obtained a teaching post within a very short time of leaving the University.”

In a profession with lots of opportunities for career progression, we also give you a stepping stone towards a masters degree. With your 60 credits at masters level, you can ‘fast track’ to stage two of a masters degree and accelerate your professional development. Our MA Education is an excellent option, especially if you have your sights set on more senior roles such as head teacher or deputy head teacher.

As an early career teacher, you can also benefit from the University’s continuing support as you take your career forward. We offer a range of resources, subject updates, events, conferences and development opportunities to ease your transition into professional practice.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

Included in your fees
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.