Train to Teach

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We are currently accepting applications for 2018/2019

Interested in Teaching?

Introducing Arden Alliance 


Arden Alliance Coffee Morning Events

Drop in sessions for prospective trainee teachers with lots of questions about how and where to train to teach!

Friday 04th May 9.00am-10.30am

Friday 11th May 9.00am-10.30am

To register your attendance at either of these events click

For enquiries, email  [email protected]

Why train with us?

The Arden Alliance is passionate and committed to grow our own outstanding teachers through the PGCE School Direct programme. The core rationale for our programme is to develop the next generation of outstanding teachers to work across our alliance. We place our trainees in Solihull schools where they will work alongside outstanding practitioners and teach enthusiastic pupils. Our Subject Mentors, who take the lead in the training, are credible, professional teachers who recognise what makes outstanding teaching and learning.

Our course is highly personalised. You will be mentored by experienced practitioners and given the opportunity to observe outstanding teaching throughout the partnership. We will provide honest and open feedback on your progress as well as support, guidance and a well-structured training to programme to assist the attainment of the QTS standards and a Masters assignment.

We ensure our trainees feel well supported and confident with the next stages in their own development. Our teaching and learning culture at Arden is one of ‘talking teaching’ enabling us to promote and share good practice. We also offer extensive in-house professional development to all staff in addition to the School Direct programme.

From the beginning you will be treated as a full member of staff and will attend staff meetings and INSET opportunities, including full staff development days. You will be in school from the beginning of the school year so you will feel part of the team from day one.


School Experience Weeks

Arden Academy is delighted to be able to offer a limited number of week-long school experience placements to aspiring teachers. These weeks provide a unique opportunity to experience a school from the point of view of a potential teacher.

On our  ‘School Experience Weeks’ you will get the opportunity to; shadow a range of pupils across different year groups and subject areas, meet the teams in your chosen subject area, talk to current trainee teachers, and chat to pupils about life at the school and what it is like to be a learner at Arden. Exclusively, we also offer a chance to experience a mock interview with feedback and the opportunity to teach part of a lesson towards the end of the week, where candidates feel confident and are deemed competent. All of this will give you valuable insight and great preparation for your own application and interviews.

You will be assigned a mentor for the duration of your Experience who will ensure that you are able to maximise your learning during this exciting opportunity.

Our available weeks are:

1. Week commencing 16.04.18 - FULL

2. Week commencing 23.04.18 - Register by 06.04.2018 


Who is it aimed at?

  • Anyone who is interested in training to teach with the Arden Alliance and wants to learn more about us
  • Anyone who is considering teaching as a career and wants more information and experience


To apply please use the link below to apply for one of the weeks:

Our school experience weeks are very popular and have been rated as 'outstanding' by all who attend.

  • 'I really enjoyed my week at Arden; I found it extremely informative with regards to both the job role and the application process. I would definitely recommend it to anyone I know who is thinking about applying for teaching.'
  • ‘I learnt a great deal about the application process (PGCE etc) which was enhanced by having the chance to talk to NQTs from different routes/stages of their career. Furthermore, I was given the opportunity to observe really creative science classes (making stop motion videos of enzyme/substrate complexes) which inspired me more to make science fun for all students.’
  • The mock interview was extremely useful as it gave me an insight into what to expect in the near future. Additionally, being able to contribute to 2 lessons I considered a valuable experience as this gave me the chance to try out the lesson with one class and then adapt over break time according to the feedback given


For further information on school experience placements please contact:

Harriet Endley,

i/c School Experience Placements

Arden Academy, Station Road, Knowle, Solihull, B93 0PT
Tel : 01564 773348
Email: [email protected]

Completing the application form does not guarantee you a placement. In the event of high demand for candidates seeking school experience, you may also be invited to attend a short interview at Arden Academy. All school experience placement applicants will be responsible for any costs incurred in taking up the placement if successful.


About this training programme

School Direct PGCE

School Direct is a programme where schools or partnership of schools apply for trainee teacher places. This means that schools can choose the teacher training provider they wish to work with and have more control over what training is provided.

Schools recruit the trainees they want, and if possible the trainees will go on to teach in their school, or another school in their partnership, once qualified.

The School Direct Training Programme is open to all graduates and funded by tuition fees paid by the trainee, but you might be eligible for funding through tuition fee loans, generous training bursaries or scholarships. Although your training is based in a school, the school is not your employer, and in many ways your training will be similar to training programmes in universities and colleges. This is the option most applicants choose.

The School Direct Salaried Programme is an employment-based route into teaching for high quality graduates with three or more years career experience. The trainee is employed as an unqualified teacher by a school. Funding is provided to the school which partly pays for the trainee’s salary and training.



Applicants will know, prior to interview, which Alliance school(s) they are being interviewed for. If you accept an offer you will be based in your placement school for the whole year, except for a six-week placement in a complementary school during the spring term. During the programme you will be teaching groups of all age ranges and abilities. 

Training sessions and Masters support sessions are held at The University of Warwick and Arden Academy during the year. Trainees also attend the training provided by their own school. When the course is successfully completed you will be recommended for Qualified Teacher Status and gain a PGCE (The PGCE is 60 CATs at level 7 and 30 at level 6, resulting in a postgraduate certificate), with 90 masters level credits in Educational Innovation (the course requires you to complete the masters assignment successfully).

You will be assigned two mentors from the staff in your school, one from your subject area (subject mentor) and also a senior member of staff (professional mentor). Our mentors are outstanding teachers who are trained by The University of Warwick and the Arden Alliance. You will also have visits from University of Warwick staff.



There are six main assessment points during the year, where a trainee’s progress towards meeting the Teachers' Standards for QTS is monitored and targets are set.

Masters assignments - during the year trainees produce a series of written completion tasks and assignments that have to be passed for the PGCE award to be achieved with up to 90 credits towards the MA in Educational Innovation.



You will pay tuition fees of £9,000 to the University but if you are from the European Union you will be eligible for a student loan. If you are from the United Kingdom you can also apply for a means-tested maintenance grant and a maintenance loan.


Fees (School Direct Salaried) 

You will be paid a training salary by the school in which you train. This salary will be in line with the unqualified teacher pay scale.

You will not pay fees and you will not be eligible for a training bursary.

You may have to pay £2,000 to study the Masters module for PGCE; however, your placement school may agree to pay this fee.

Normally you can expect a training salary to be £16,298.


Entry Requirements 

You should be a graduate, with a degree of a 2:2 or above. You should also have a degree in which at least 50% of the subject content is in the subject that you wish to teach.  You must also possess a standard equivalent to a grade C in the GCSE examinations in English Language and Mathematics. If you do not have a C grade or above in GCSE English and Maths but you wish to apply to us, you can, but you will need to sit and pass equivalency tests in those subjects.

If you have an overseas qualification, we will check this qualification with NARIC.

In addition, it is expected that you have, or have undertaken, some school experience and a good understanding of issues in education.  If you need some school experience, please contact Michele Bull, PA to the Executive Principal at Arden: [email protected] 

You will be required to pass the professional skills tests in literacy and numeracy prior to entry.


What are the Professional Skills Tests?

The numeracy and literacy skills tests:

• Cover the core skills that teachers need to fulfil their professional role in schools, rather that the subject knowledge required for teaching. This is to ensure all teachers are competent in numeracy and literacy, regardless of their specialism.

• Are set in the context of the professional role of a teacher; all questions use real data and information which teachers are likely to encounter.

• Are computerised and can be taken at any of approximately 150 test centres throughout the UK.

• The number of resits allowed is limited to two per subject (three attempts).

• Practice materials are available online and candidates are strongly encouraged to practice before sitting the tests.

For more information and the practice material go to:



We are looking for highly motivated trainees who are committed to working with young people in our schools. You must have an excellent subject knowledge but also the ability to deliver this in an engaging and creative way. Successful trainees on our programme will need to be reflective, resilient and able to respond positively to feedback. Trainees on our course will also need to be able to exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence and be real team players.


Selection process

Application forms are considered by both the University and the individual schools involved with the Arden Alliance.

All successful applicants will be interviewed and this will normally take place at Arden Academy. The University and the Arden Alliance jointly design and manage the interview process with the school leading. 

Applicants who demonstrate professionalism, commitment, a realistic understanding of the pressures of the course and the profession, an awareness of the school in which they are intending to train, creativity, organisational skills and a clear recognition of the need to synthesise practical and academic learning through refection are most likely to succeed.


How do I apply for School Direct?

Details about routes available for teacher training and an explanation of how to apply: Applications are made on the UCAS website. Once your application is submitted training providers have 40 working days to make a decision and inform you. You then have 10 days to make a decision whether to accept one of the offers or not.


How do I complete my application for School Direct?

Filling in your application

Please read the advice below provided by UCAS:

Apply online

You make your application in our online system Apply.  There’s quite a bit to fill in but you don’t need to do it all at once – you can save and log back in any time.  We’ll give you an overview here of what you need to do. There’s more detailed help text within the Apply system which gives you step by step advice.


1. First you register to use apply.

Here you put things like your name, address and date of birth.

You’ll also need to accept the terms and conditions.

You’ll need a username which is the email address you’ve given us and you create your own password.

Then you’ll receive a personal ID. 

We ask you to sign and agree to a declaration that we and training providers can process and keep a copy of your application to collect data and detect and prevent fraud. You can request a copy of the information we hold. We make a small charge to cover administration costs.


2. Then log in to fill in the rest of your personal details

The information you’ve already filled in will show up automatically.

Then you’ll give some information like nationality and residential status.

If you’ve got a disability we’ll want to know about that so that training providers can make any adjustments you need.

Since you’ll be working with children we’ll need to know you agree to a Disclosure and Barring check or if you have any criminal convictions.


3. Some additional info (UK applicants only)

Here we ask about your national identity and ethnic origin. It isn’t used for selection but it’s very helpful for analysis.


4. Then you add your programme choices

How many choices you can make depends on whether you’re in Apply 1 or Apply 2.

• You use Apply 1 first and you can make up to three choices.

• In Apply 2 you make one choice at a time, but you’ll only use Apply 2 if you aren’t holding a place from Apply 1.

• You can only choose a programme that’s showing it has vacancies when you send in your application – you’ll need to check on the online search tool whether programmes have vacancies.


5. Your education so far

Here you’ll tell us about your secondary and higher education and the qualifications you’ve achieved so far or expect to achieve before the training programme begins.

• First tell us about your GCSEs and A levels or equivalent qualifications – particularly your GCSEs in English and maths, and in science if you’re applying for primary teacher training. Some providers will only consider applicants with appropriately graded GCSEs or equivalent in these subjects. Some will consider you if you expect to achieve them before you start the programme, and others may offer an equivalency test. Providers normally state their entry requirements in our teacher training programme search tool, as well as on their own websites. Contact them if you’re not sure if your qualifications are the equivalent of GCSEs.

• Then you need to tell us about your degree. Training providers need to know about the subjects you’ve studied and about the classification of degree you’ve got or expect to get.

• We’ll also ask you to select the highest qualification you have or expect to achieve before the training programme begins.

• If you’re applying for a place in England, we also need to know if you’ve passed the Professional Skills Tests.

• If you’ve got qualifications from outside of the UK, you’ll need to get a statement of comparability from NARIC. This can take some time so you should do this before you send in your application.


6. Your school and work experience

In this section you should list school and work experience.

• Include school names, addresses, start/ finish dates and total time spent in each school.

• Similarly for work experience or paid employment – include the company name, role, start/ finish dates and whether the role was full or part time.

• If you can’t fit all your jobs in, give the most recent.

• If you want to give more information about school or work experience include it in your personal statement.


You have to have three years’ experience of work for the School Direct (salaried) route.

• So if you’re applying for this option, make sure this shows clearly on your application.

• Training providers may be particularly interested in work you’ve done in a school, but all paid work is relevant.


7. Then you write your personal statement

This is your chance to show training providers why you want to be a teacher and why you’d make a great one.  You can only write one personal statement for all your choices so it’s important to make it as good as you can.


8. Then you get two references

You can’t send in your application until two references are attached to it.

• You give the names and contact details of the two people you have chosen and we ask them to provide a reference.

• We let you know when each reference has been received but you won’t be able to see them.

• We give referees two weeks to do this – if they take longer than that, we’ll send them a reminder and let you know.

There’ll always be some delay while you wait for references to be completed and you must bear this in mind when you’re deciding when to make your application.


9. Now you pay your fee and send in your application

You must pay the administration fee, whether you have made one, two or three choices in Apply 1. This also covers any choices you make in Apply 2.  You pay online using a debit or credit card which doesn’t need to be in your name but you must have permission to use it.


10. What if you want to make a change to your application?

If you change your mind and want to change one or more of your choices you can do this.  However

• You can do this only once.

• You must do it within seven days of sending in your application.


Your personal statement

There is a single application form for all of your choices and this includes a personal statement.

This is your opportunity to let your chosen training providers know about your qualities, skills and expertise and why you want to be a teacher.

You can only make one personal statement for all the choices you make in both Apply 1 and Apply 2. You can’t change it or do different ones for University or school-based choices.

The providers you’re applying to understand this, so they won’t be expecting you to say specific things about them or their programmes. However, if you’re applying for programmes in a particular subject or age group, it would be helpful to explain why you have chosen them and the skills and attributes you have that make them appropriate for you.


What to include in the personal statements:

You do need to think carefully about the things that all your chosen providers will want to know about you. You’ll probably want to include things like:

• Your reasons for wanting to teach

• Evidence that you understand the rewards and challenges of teaching

• Details of your previous education and how you have benefitted from it

• Experience of teaching such as visits to schools, classroom observation or working as a teaching assistant

• Any other work with young people such as helping with a youth club, working at a summer camp or running a sports team

• The range of relevant abilities and skills you can bring to teaching, for example, practical experience, managing people, working with or leading a team and communication skills

• Any reasons why there may be restrictions on your geographical mobility

• Why you want to study in the UK if you don’t currently live here

• Whether you’ve taken part in the School Experience Programme (SEP) or Primary Experience Programme (PEP) organised by the National College of School Leadership (formerly the Teaching Agency).

These are the things all training providers want to know whether they’re School Direct, a university or a SCITT so there’s no need to worry that you can’t write different personal statements.


How to write the personal statement

You can use up to 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text (including spaces). Some word processing packages calculate character and line counts differently from the UCAS Teacher Training system does, so you might need to redraft your statement if there’s a discrepancy between the counts.

Write in English (or Welsh if you’re applying to Welsh providers) and avoid italics, bold or underlining.

Get the grammar and punctuation right and re-draft your statement until you’re happy with it.

It’s a good idea to write your statement first then copy and paste it into your application.


Don’t copy

Don’t copy anyone else’s personal statement or from statements posted on the internet. Make sure your personal statement is all your own work.  We screen all personal statements across our Copycatch similarity detection system. If we find any similarity, your application will be flagged, you and all your choices will receive an email alert and this could have serious consequences for your application.


What information is needed to support my application?

Two references are needed. One academic and one professional i.e. someone that can comment on your suitability for teaching. If applying for the salaried route one reference would be from an employer. Ask the referees as soon as possible to make sure that they are willing to give us an online reference as paper copies are not allowed. Applications cannot be submitted to us until the references have been obtained.

If you have international qualifications you need to obtain a Statement of Comparability from NARIC. This can take some time, so you are advised to start the process before you submit your application.

Take the professional skills tests as soon as possible.

If your degree does not closely link to your chosen teaching subject, you are advised to take a subject knowledge enhancement course (SKE) before starting teacher training. These are only available in a few subjects: maths, chemistry, physics, languages, computing or design and technology.


What is involved in the interview process?

The Teaching School Alliance will be co-ordinating the recruitment process. The interview can take up to a full day. The interview will take place at a number of schools within the alliance. Full details of the interview process, including any written tests, venues and times will be sent to applicants at least a week in advance of the interview date. The interview will normally include a short teaching activity, usually between 20 – 30 minutes, delivered to a small group of pupils. Applicants will be informed about the topic for the teaching activity and the age group/ability of the students.

There are a set number of places available for each programme, allocated by the NCTL so we recommend that you apply as early as possible to give yourself the best chance of obtaining a place. We will close courses once we have filled all of the available places.


How can I gain School Experience?

Gaining classroom experience before starting your initial teacher training (ITT) can help you to be sure that a career in teaching is right for you. It can also support your application for ITT. Try contacting schools to ask if you can visit and complete some relevant work experience.


Schools in the alliance 

As well as Arden Academy, other schools in the alliance include:

Alderbrook School

Balsall Common Junior School

Bentley Heath Church of England Primary School

CTC Kinghurst Academy

Dorridge Primary School

Knowle Church of England Primary Academy

Light Hall School

Lode Heath School

Park Hall Academy

Smiths Wood Primary Academy




Lead school 


URN: 136333

Contact: Mrs C Robinson

email: [email protected]