About the course
Why should I join the CTA?
We believe that the single most significant factor of a child’s success in school is the quality of their teachers. The Catholic Teaching Alliance is, therefore, dedicated to developing staff with high expectations and a clear understanding of how to create a learning environment in which their students can flourish. Our focus is on developing teaching and learning through innovative ideas, creativity and intelligent collaboration. Our strong and supportive network is based on the shared values of our schools and colleges.
We at the CTA are passionate about developing a generation of outstanding teachers and want to provide as much support as we can to ensure committed, enthusiastic and capable people make it on to our teacher training scheme.
We run an extensive CPD programme including two Early Career Conferences in the autumn and summer terms and School Study Visits in the spring term, providing networking opportunities and the chance to observe teaching in other schools within the Catholic Teaching Alliance, in line with both your university studies and personal areas of development. Opportunities for school-based research and reflection, along with the sharing of outstanding expertise within a business-like model form the heart of our work.
An induction programme will be provided in school to supplement your university provision. The weekly sessions will cover a range of topics relevant to your training, including safeguarding; lesson planning, marking, as well as pastoral aspects. You will be fully involved in the life of the school attending parents' evenings and participating in school trips,
About the University Course
School Direct Salaried is an employment-based route into teaching and places are aimed at graduates with three or more years' work experience. Trainees are employed as an unqualified teacher and this route results in Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
The programme is a combination of school-based training and university-based training. Trainees will spend most of their time in school and will attend a maximum of 15 university days. You will also have full access to materials on the university portal which will support your ongoing learning and development.
The Primary School Direct Programme with the Catholic Teaching Alliance offers training for the 5-11 age group (with placement in Key Stages 1 and 2) .
Salaried School Direct at St Mary's
At the CTA we are looking for candidates who can support our shared vision: Growing Teachers, Growing Learners, Growing Schools.
When applying please select your preferred school. All applications are vetted upon receipt. Once your application has passed this process you will be invited to an interview at the location to which you have applied.
Interviews for the Salaried route are conducted at the employing school.
The day will include a tour of the school and a formal interview, conducted by the Head Teacher or a Senior Leader and the CTA Co-ordinator (where available). Time will also be spent teaching a class or small group of pupils.
You will be also asked to complete a number of tasks including a numeracy, literacy and phonics task. Further details will be provided if you are invited to interview.
You will have the opportunity to ask any questions about the Catholic Teaching Alliance, School and the School Direct Programme at interview.
After interview, the University and the Lead School will jointly reach a final decision regarding any offer.
Candidates usually apply to schools that are located close to where they live and we are happy to arrange tours and an observation day in your preferred school prior to application.
How school placements work
School Direct trainees start at their employing school during the first week of the autumn term. Term dates will be confirmed upon acceptance of an offer and you will be employed for one academic year.
All Primary School Direct Salaried trainees will complete two contrasting placements.
We offer an ABA placement structure with St Mary's University and you will spend 6 weeks in the spring term in a contrasting school. You will be allocated a Mentor in each school and both placements will be hosted in Catholic Schools.
Around half of the 38 schools within the Catholic Teaching Alliance offer training placements. Those who are able to support the main placement are listed for each respective course.
At the start of the training year, we will contact all registered trainees to confirm where you are living and to ask about the type of school that you would like to be placed in for your second placement. Where possible, we will try to accommodate your request and placements are arranged with a maximum commuting distance of 1 hour 15 minutes based upon the address provided. Travel time is usually significantly less than this.
Your tutor from St Mary's University will visit you in school on a regular basis and liaise with your school mentor regarding your training and development. Your university tutor will carry out your final assessment in school against the national Teachers’ Standards.
Additional information can be obtained from C.Barclay the CTA Co-ordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
All applicants following the School Direct Salaried route are paid a salary on Level 1 of the Unqualified Teachers' Pay Scale. Further details will be provided at the point of interview or can be discussed prior to application by contacting the CTA Co-ordinator, Clare Barclay via email email@example.com.
The employing school will cover the cost of the QTS fees for this course.
Trainees on this route are not eligible for a government bursary, student loan or other benefits associated with being a student (Student Oyster Card, exemption from Council Tax, entitlement to an NUS card with associated discounts).
Financial support isn’t available for this course because it comes with a salary.
If you choose a course without a salary, you may be eligible for financial support while you study, including bursaries, scholarships and loans.
Primary SD Salaried:
- 5 GCSEs at grade C or above including Mathematics, English and Science
- degree classification of 2:2 or above
- at least 3 years' work experience
- at least two weeks experience in the relevant KS classroom environment
- evidence at application of the ability to demonstrate a high standard of standard written English
- successful completion of skills tests in mathematics and English prior to commencement of course
- health and physical capacity to teach
- an acceptable Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS)
We are looking for individuals who have the capacity to develop into outstanding teachers. This requires a combination of personal and academic skills.
You should demonstrate awareness of what good teaching entails and show a desire to teach.
There are three main attributes required for teaching:
1) Subject Knowledge - you need to show that you have a specialist understanding.
2) An ability to communicate with an audience. Your class will be your audience and the relationship and command of this group is crucial.
3) Good Interpersonal Skills - you need to demonstrate that you can work well with others.
Candidates who have been working for a number of years should provide a reference from their current or most recent employer alongside an academic reference where this can be obtained. Two employer references will be accepted.
St Mary's recommend that you aim to gain some experience in a classroom prior to interview. However, we understand that this isn't always possible, as such, applicants who have experience of working with children and young people, at sports clubs, youth groups and voluntary work are asked to make reference to these activities in their application.
About the training provider
The Catholic Teaching Alliance (CTA) is a strong and growing alliance of 38 schools. It is a cross-phase partnership from primary, through to secondary and sixth form colleges. Our partner schools are based throughout South-East London and Kent covering Southwark, Lewisham, Bromley, Bexleyheath and Chatham. This diversity in type of school and location gives a richness to our shared work. Our shared vision is Growing Teachers, Growing Learners, Growing Schools.
Our schools have a long history of Initial Teacher Education and have offered School Direct places since the initiative began. We have selected several universities that match our ethos. By carefully selecting the right universities to work with we are able to offer you an excellent start to your career in education.
We offer both Primary Salaried and Tuition Fee School Direct places and are able to provide training in a range of secondary subjects. Some subjects are available with a choice of provider.
We run an extensive CPD programme for trainees and most secure an NQT position within the group of schools. We also provide flexibility as your career progresses, with opportunities to move between schools.
We would encourage applicants to contact us to arrange a school tour prior to application and we are happy to answer any questions that you may have. Please contact the CTA Co-ordinator, Clare Barclay for more information or visit our website here to find out more about our schools and the career opportunities that we are able to offer.
About the accredited body
Established in 1850 as a Catholic teacher training college, St Mary’s has a long-standing reputation for academic excellence and the granting of university title is an exciting milestone in its history. With an original intake of just six students, St Mary’s has now grown to around 6,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students across the four academic Schools. St Mary’s prepares its students for flourishing lives, successful careers and social commitment through excellent, research-enriched teaching in a strong community of mutual respect based on our Catholic ethos and identity.
School Direct at St Mary’s University
Training with disabilities and other needs
All School Direct trainees must meet the Secretary of State's requirements for physical and mental health, but few health problems past or present preclude applicants from teaching.
The activities that a teacher must be able to perform are set out in the Education (Health Standards) (England) Regulations 2003.
We welcome applications from people with additional needs and disabilities. Successful applicants will be asked to complete a fitness questionnaire prior to commencing the programme.
Within our group of 38 schools, we are able to provide support for a range of disabilities and other needs and are usually able to arrange appropriate school placements and additional support as required. We have trained applicants with dyslexia, physical, hearing and visual impairments, as well as students with mental health issues. If you have any questions about health, disability, or the support provided or wish to discuss your own requirements further, please contact the CTA Co-ordinator, Clare Barclay, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on the support provided by our university partners please see the links below.
King's College London
St Mary's University
Student Wellbeing Service
University College London
School Direct students are entitled to support from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) team. You can find more information here
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Support and advice
For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.
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