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 offer excellent teacher training in partnership with St Mary's University, with all courses resulting in a PGCE qualification.
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, and pastoral aspects such as the role of a form tutor. You will be fully involved in the life of the school attending parents' evenings and participating in school trips.
About the University Course
Courses last for one full academic year and involve two placements. Successful completion leads to a PGCE with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
The course covers all aspects of English, with an emphasis on practical activities for use in school. There is a strong emphasis on planning for the whole ability range to ensure that all pupils make progress with a focus on the impact of literacy, EAL and SEN on Secondary English teaching and learning.
English at St Mary's University
You will attend university training days with other School Direct and PGCE students. On the Tuition Fee routes you will carry out academic assignments leading to the award of 60 masters level credits.
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 attend an interview.
You will be interviewed at the university in the first instance. The day will consist of a formal interview and a number of tasks. Further details of the requirements will be provided if you are invited to interview.
Successful applicants are invited to tour their chosen school. You will have the opportunity to spend some time observing classes, meeting with members of the department and getting to know the school. For some subjects a short interview will be conducted at the school.
You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions about the Catholic Teaching Alliance, School and the School Direct Programme at one of the interview dates and where possible the CTA Co-ordinator will attend the university interview day.
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
Trainees will attend university for a number of weeks prior to their school placement. However, all successful applicants will be invited to attend an induction day at their chosen school in the summer term prior to starting the course.
University sessions are delivered in blocks at the start of each term. Trainees attend approximately 40 university days. As with all PGCE courses, you will be expected to attend all of the specified university sessions. The course runs from September to June and trainees will spend 120 days in school over the course of the year.
We offer an ABA placement structure and you will spend January to March in the spring term in a contrasting school. You will be allocated a Subject Mentor and Professional Co-ordinating 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.
We are able to offer contrasting placements in single-sex or mixed schools and in schools with sixth forms where your main placement school is 11-16. Where you have completed a placement in a single-sex school your second placement will be in a mixed school or a school with students of the opposite sex.
Your tutor from St Mary's 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
The course fees for 2020/2021 are as follows:
You’ll get a bursary of £12,000 if you have a degree of 2:2 or above in any subject.
You don’t have to apply for a bursary - if you’re eligible, you’ll automatically start receiving it once you begin your course. Find out about eligibility and how you’ll be paid.
You may also be eligible for a loan while you study.
Find out about financial support if you’re from outside the UK.
English PGCE applicants are expected to have a good degree in English (2:2 or above) or a related subject.
No specific subjects required.
A GCSE, or comparable qualification, at grade C (or grade 5 for GCSEs sat in 2017 onwards) is required in both English Language and Mathematics. GCSE equivalents tests are offered by St Mary's University.
Subject knowledge enhancement courses may be set as a condition in some cases, particularly when the degree is not clearly ‘in line’ with the subject you are applying to.
School Direct English
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.
- Two appropriate references (from an academic tutor or line manager) supporting your suitability for teaching.
- Satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
- Physical and mental fitness to teach.
St Mary's University would like all applicants to have made a fully informed decision about considering joining the teaching profession. As part of that decision making process, spending some time in school(s) observing what teachers do and beginning to give some consideration to how they manage learning can be really insightful and informative.
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, email@example.com.
For further information on the support provided by our university partners please see the links below.
King's College London
St Mary's University
University College London
School Direct students can access the services provided by UCL’s Student Support and Wellbeing team. You can find more information here
Apply on the UCAS website. You’ll need to register with UCAS before you can apply.
Visit Get into Teaching for guidance on applying for teacher training.
When you apply you’ll need these codes for the Choices section of your application form:
Training provider code:
Training programme code:
Choose a training location
You’ll also need to choose a training location – select the relevant location name on the application form.
Sacred Heart Catholic School
Camberwell New Road, London SE5 0RP
St Columba's Catholic Boys' School
Halcot Avenue, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7QB
St Thomas the Apostle College
Hollydale Road, Nunhead, London SE15 2EB
Support and advice
For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.
Get support and advice about teaching
Register with Get into Teaching, the Department for Education’s free support and advice service, for personalised guidance from teaching experts. They can help you to prepare your application, book school experience, and access exclusive teaching events. You can also call them free on 0800 389 2500, or speak to an adviser using their online chat service, from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.
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