About the course
Astra trainees on the English course are prepared to teach across the full 11-16 curriculum, including literature, drama, literacy, language, media, writing and the role of technology in education, along with Sixth Form experience.
The Astra approach has at its core the principle of developing trainees as reflective professionals who have strong practical classroom skills and excellent subject knowledge. Trainees learn how to use current theory to inform their classroom practice and attention is paid to ensuring that trainees have a detailed understanding of English as a school subject, as well as outstanding skills in learning to plan and teach lessons which are creative and engaging.
Subject studies are taught by a team of highly experienced practising classroom teachers who have worked with trainees over many years, with experience of teaching at school and university level.
Astra trainees spend four days per week in their placement schools (minimum of 120 days across the year). All training and assessment will lead to the award of Qualified Teacher Status by the DfE.
Primary and secondary trainees across all subjects are assessed against the Teachers’ Standards, based on the evidence of teaching, wider contribution to school life and the ability to reflect on and evaluate these experiences. Progress is monitored through weekly reflections on progress, objective setting, regular lesson observations and two QTS assignments.
Weekly QTS Professional Studies will develop understanding of education essential for entrants to the teaching profession, providing consideration to whole-school issues, such as behaviour management, special educational needs and educational theories that contextualise the teaching of your subject. Secondary subject studies also focus on the teaching of each subject, including its place in the National Curriculum; what is taught; how it is taught; how it is assessed; providing for young people with different backgrounds and abilities; teaching in accordance with examination specification requirements; and using ICT effectively to facilitate learning.
Salaried trainees are contracted to be an employee of their main placement school and are likely be accountable for up to a 50% timetable from the start of the course with time also allocated for observing experienced teachers, team teaching, working with small groups and getting involved in all aspects of school life.
There are three Teaching School Hubs operating on behalf of the Astra SCITT for both primary and secondary recruitment across our network of over 50 schools:
Astra SCITT/Amersham Hub - Amersham and surrounding area
Astra Aylesbury Hub - Aylesbury / surrounding area
Astra Marlow Hub - Marlow / Maidenhead
Candidates should apply via UCAS to their preferred Astra SCITT Hub, which will then coordinate the recruitment process. If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited for a first stage interview at one of our Hub locations.
The application and interview process for each hub is identical and is quality assured by the Astra SCITT.
Stage 1 will consist of a panel interview, delivery of a short presentation, and some written tasks. If successful at this stage, you will be invited to visit your potential main placement school to be observed leading a teaching activity with a small group of students (Stage 2); you will be told in advance about the content of the lesson you will need to plan, and the age group you will be teaching. Please note that applicants for salaried positions may be asked to teach a full lesson and/or complete other tasks which the employing school may specify.
How school placements work
We endeavour to match the right trainee to the right partner school for their main placement based on their initial preference, geography / distance from home, and areas of specific interest. This course is offered at the locations shown here. You will be given the opportunity to express your placement preference once you have submitted your application.
Trainees will have two placements; a main placement, where they spend the Autumn, summer and second half of the Spring terms. Trainees will also be expected to attend an induction day with their main placement school ahead of the September course start.
During the first half of the Spring term, all trainees complete a second, 5-6 week placement in a contrasting school (eg for Secondary this is usually Grammar/non-selective; for Primary, the placements are Key Stage 1/Key Stage 2). Secondary trainees will teach across the 11-16 age range (14-19 yrs for Business Studies ).
QTS studies take place with the SCITT every Wednesday, with the other four days per week being spent in school (minimum of 120 days across the year). Bursary-led / unsalaried trainee timetable allocations is approximately 30% in the first term, rising to a maximum allocation of 75% in the final placement out of the four days in school. Salaried trainees on contracts with their employing school will be expected to teach a 50% in their first term.
Astra has over 50 partners signed up to the SCITT Partnership Agreement which demands that each school supplies dedicated and high quality one-to-one Mentor support and in-school Professional Studies to complement the core QTS programme offered by the SCITT each week. Trainees will also be expected to attend events such as parents’ evening and contribute to report writing during the year. While there is no guarantee of permanent employment with placement schools, a considerable number of our trainees do go on to secure NQTs positions within our partnership.
The salary for a Salaried trainee is usually the minimum point of the Unqualified Teacher pay scale. The course fee on this route is paid by the main placement school.
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.
- at least grade 4 (C) (or equivalent) for GCSE Maths and English.
- Degree: 2:2 or above, although for QTS-only programmes we will consider applicants with a third class degree who can demonstrate an aptitude for teaching, dependent on the subject/specialism. Your degree should ideally be in or closely related to the subject you intend to teach.
Candidates should have the potential to become outstanding teachers, demonstrated by strong subject knowledge; ability to communicate with enthusiasm about learning; ability to reflect on experiences of working with young people, and knowledge of the curriculum and educational issues.
Other requirements include being ambitious to teach at a good or outstanding level; highly motivated (with the ability to also motivate students); high professional standards; a willingness to play a part in the wider school life; commitment to professional development, and strong communication skills.
Further experience of working with children, for example helping with a youth/sports club is desirable.
For secondary trainees on the 11-16 programme we require the ability to teach up to A Level in your subject. Candidates will be required to have an Enhanced DBS check, and health clearance Requirement to complete a funded Subject Knowledge Enhancement course will be determined at the point of offer.
Hard copy evidence of all required academic qualifications will need to be provided before an unconditional offer can be made.
About the training provider
The Astra SCITT offers a talented and dedicated team of subject-based Mentors, a professional working environment and forward-looking technology systems for the 21st century teacher. We offer a highly personalised support to all trainees from the moment of appointment to course completion, as well as a package of CPD opportunities beyond the training year. At Astra, we see you as an individual and as a leader of the future. Our School Direct salaried programmes are offered as QTS-only in a wide range of subjects and phases.
From the beginning of your training year you will be treated like a member of staff at your designated school, attending staff meetings, parents’ evenings and development days.
Your main placement school will be one in our wide network across Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire or Hertfordshire. See our website for a full list of our schools. During your training, you will be assigned a Mentor, subject Tutors and ITTCO; these colleagues will monitor your progress and support you on your learning journey. Our staff are experienced teachers and are required to undertake a rigorous training programme.
Weekly Professional Studies sessions take place every Wednesday, hosted at a range of our partner schools.
About the accredited body
The Astra SCITT is a diverse, supportive network of over 50 schools, founded on the core principles of ‘Excellence; Collaboration; Innovation; Support’. We are rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted in all categories. Since 2016, we have recruited and trained high quality teachers for local primary and secondary schools. On average, our trainees achieve a 96% completion rate, with 97% of the 2017/18 cohort being employed within 6 months of gaining QTS, above national benchmarking. Trainees demonstrate excellent practice across all Teachers’ Standards, the majority judged as ‘outstanding’. For the optional PGCE Masters qualification, we are partnered with Goldsmiths, University of London.
Training with disabilities and other needs
Astra trainees will be assessed through our Occupational Health service before starting the course in order to ensure they meet the “Fitness to Teach” requirements. This is also to help us identify any additional needs which will require support during the programme.
We are experienced in making necessary adjustments to help facilitate trainees with disabilities and other conditions, including dyslexia (eg making training slides available in advance where possible), physical, hearing and visual impairments (eg providing handouts on specific coloured paper; supporting the use of specific software); and mental health conditions, to ensure they are not disadvantaged in any way. If a preferred main location was not fully accessible for a trainee, we would find an alternative wherever possible.
Astra gives all trainees full access to an Employee Assistance Programme which can provide counselling and other support and advice as well as access to counselling support, where appropriate.
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.
Dr Challoner's Grammar Sch, Chesham Road, Amersham HP6 5HA
Support and advice
For questions about this course you should contact the training provider using the contact details above.
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