Applying for the secondary School Direct Route – helpful advice by ​Phil Ruse

27 January 2022 |

Having been involved with leading and recruiting to our School Direct training programme for a number of years, I would like to share some advice and strategies to help you best secure an interview and place on the training programme of your choice.

Firstly, do your research into the myriad number of different ways you could get into teacher training. School direct has the advantage of fully immersing trainees into schools and you spend a greater number of days in the school environment than on a traditional PGCE course. However, this doesn’t mean School Direct is always the best option. Do your research, speak to course providers and make the right choice based on your current experience and needs.

Many applicants come to teacher training having worked in a school, perhaps as a TA or a cover supervisor. This ‘in-person’ experience is invaluable and really allows an applicant to shine through an interview. We are not looking for a potential trainee to have all the answers, but we are looking for an engagement with the modern school environment that does more than rely on hazy memories from their own time at school.

One of the best ways to do this is to try and secure some school experience. Whilst this hasn’t always been easy or possible in recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dartmoor MAT schools are supportive of such requests and will try to create opportunities for school experience where possible. Please contact me directly via my email if this is of interest to you.

A final piece of advice is to do some research into the current national curriculum in your subject area. Potential trainees will be bringing some outstanding subject knowledge to the table, based on their degree and A level results. However, it is important to be aware of current curriculum expectations and key topics that are delivered in schools. Where gaps are identified a subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) can be sought before the commencement of your training year. No teacher is an expert in all aspects of their subject, and subject knowledge development should be an ongoing journey through your career.

I am frequently blown away by the life experiences and enthusiasm with which potential trainees come to the application process. This is one of the great privileges of my current job, where I can play a small part in helping to foster the next generation of teachers that will inspire our students. Hopefully the practical suggestions outlined above can compliment those skills and experiences and help you prepare for a successful application process and interview. I look forward to hearing from you!

​Phil Ruse, Secondary Teacher Training Lead