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Initial Teacher Training FAQs

Below you will find a range of questions that applicants have asked us over the years.  The responses contain information extra to the details found in the other sections of our web-pages, and should hopefully complement the other information to give you a well-rounded view of the course and the training route as a whole.  If you have a question that is not included in the list below, please let us know as we would very much like to make this information available to you, as well as to other future applicants.


What is the difference between St. Anthony's teacher training and a Provider-Led PGCE?


Both St. Anthony's Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and a Provider-led PGCE will provide you with the same outcome: a PGCE with QTS.  The real difference however is in the time you get to spend training in school and the essential 'hands-on' experience of teaching you are able to gain.  Our course provides this from the first week of training, allowing trainees to spend two days a week in school before progressing to full-time school-based training, once the Stage One placement begins.  Many people prefer the school-led route as it offers them more experience through immersion in school life and allows them to gain a greater range of knowledge and practical skills in the relatively short duration of the course (traditional teacher training courses take three years for the student to train to be a teacher!).


What is the difference between St. Anthony's ITT and SCITT?


St. Anthony's ITT and SCITT are very similar as they are both school-based routes into teacher training led by a partnership of schools. Often, a school-led course shares training and assessment with a university provider.  This allows a school-led course to offer a more academic and therefore more desirable qualification.  A SCITT course is run solely by a network of schools with little input from an academic partner except through the actual final award itself.


Both routes will award QTS, but a school-led course usually awards a PGCE whereas only some SCITTs offer a PGCE. 


What is QTS?  And is that different from a PGCE?


QTS stands for Qualified Teacher Status and it means that you have met the statutory requirements (The Teachers Standards 2012) for teaching in England.  Our PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) includes QTS but is also an academic qualification recognised around the world.  Our PGCE also gives you 60-course credits towards achieving a Masters in Education.


If I Train in a School Partnership, can I only work within partnership schools when qualified?


No, your PGCE is accredited and verified by Leeds Trinity University and qualifies you to work in any school in the age range for which you have trained, in any location in which the qualification is accepted.


How much of the course will I spend at University and how much in School?


The majority of your course will be spent in school (you will spend your school-based training in two different partnership schools).  Initially, prior to the first school placement, the course timetable usually requires trainees to spend two days a week at University followed by one subject-related day of training (Continuing Professional Development or CPD training).  The remainder of the week is spent in a host school.  Once the stage one placement begins, all your time will be spent in school except for the odd University day and CPD training session in other partner schools.


Is the qualification the same for all routes run in partnership with Leeds Trinity?


Yes, in all courses run in partnership with Leeds Trinity University, where trainees are studying for a PGCE,  a Level 7 PGCE with QTS will be awarded if successful.  


Will I be taught different things in different routes?


No, whether you are studying on the school-led route or on Trinity's provider-led route, you will learn the same things, although sometimes in slightly different contexts.  All routes involve some time learning at Leeds Trinity University.  Indeed for the first part of the training, before placements begin, trainees on school-led route may find themselves in lectures also attended by trainees on other courses.


Can I teach in either Primary or Secondary schools?


Technically, your QTS status allows you to teach at any level, so if you have achieved a PGCE in Primary 5-11 with Qualified Teaching Status, then you are permitted to teach in a Secondary school.  However, in reality, most schools will employ specialists in the age range they are responsible for.  Therefore if you have a Primary PGCE with QTS, it is unlikely that a Secondary school will employ you if they have other, Secondary PGCE-trained candidates with the subject specialism they are looking for. 


Often the key to success in making the transition between the two levels (Primary and Secondary) is a good range of experience in the age range you are applying for.  Therefore, if you have trained as a Secondary teacher and wish to become a Primary teacher, it is likely that you would need to spend some time working in a Primary school before being employed as a Primary teacher.  Often the best way to gain this experience is to work within the age range you are interested in teaching.  Some schools will allow you to gain this experience as an unpaid volunteer.  Alternatively, you may be lucky enough to secure a Teaching Assistant role within the age range you wish to teach. 


Another good way to build up experience in the age range you wish to transition to, is to seek employment in a teacher cover agency and ask specifically for assignments to Primary schools.


Can I teach all the age ranges in Primary if I take the Early Years (3-7) course?


If you pass the St. Anthony's ITT PGCE with Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) then you are qualified to teach at any level (even Secondary).  The Primary 3-7 course gives you a specialism in the early years of education and is often suitable for trainees with a background in this age group.  For example, former nursery workers or leaders often apply for an Early Years course due to their experience and interest in the age range.  Equally, someone studying the Primary 5-11 age range can apply for a job in the 3-7 range, unless an Early Years specialism is required by an employer.


I don't have one of the required GCSEs - can I still apply?


Yes, GCSE equivalency tests in the three required GCSEs: English, Maths and Science are accepted by Trinity, but only from outside agencies that they approve.  To find out more information about this, please contact Trinity's Student Admissions department directly:


Will I be able to spend one of my school placements at St. Anthony's?


Although we would love to have all our trainees under the same roof, it would be physically impossible to have everyone train at St. Anthony's.  Therefore, St. Anthony's will place each of its trainees in partner schools that are either good or outstanding and which, in many ways, share the same values and goals.  One or two trainees may be selected to train in St. Anthony's, but this selection is impartial and based on a range of criteria designed to give trainees the best experience possible.


Can I train in a school near to me or can I choose the school I want to train in?


St. Anthony's works in alliance with a range of other Primary schools across the region.  When choosing a placement for a trainee, we call upon our partner schools to provide places in the different age ranges the trainees are required to teach.  Occasionally, where we see a need for an extra school, we will approach a school outside our partnership to see if they can offer a placement, however, this is achieved through the local education authority, diocese, or personal links with other colleagues, and not through the reference or relationship of a trainee.


When assigning schools to trainees, we always try to select establishments that will offer the best experience.  This means that trainees should be able to reach their placement school in good time by private or public transport (the journey time should take no more than 25 minutes) and also be able to experience two contrasting environments, as well as training in a well-supported, comfortable environment where they will receive the best in mentoring and support.  When considering trainees for a particular school we try to match their personality and experience to their particular school, so that they will feel more at home.  In addition, we also take into consideration other factors such as child care. 


Finally, it is important to emphasise that the best, impartial experience is achieved at a school without ties or links to a trainee.  Therefore, we would always discourage a trainee from seeking a placement at a school they may have worked at or may have children studying in.  We will always try to select a school that is fresh to the trainee, therefore offering a 'clean slate' and an impartial outcome.


Do I have to be a Catholic to train with St. Anthony's?


No, we accept trainees from any faith or denomination.  Although the Catholic Faith is central to everything we do at St. Anthony's, we are a multi-faith school and actively encourage and support an interest in and a positive view of other faiths.  Similarly, we accept staff and trainees from a wide range of other faiths and beliefs.  All that we require is that our trainees accept and support the teaching of the positive values and philosophies of the Catholic faith whilst in a Catholic faith-based school.


If I already have a teaching qualification, can I take the School Direct Course?


The answer to this depends on your teaching qualification.  If you have taken a teacher training course and been awarded qualified teaching status (QTS), then the answer is no, you may not take a new teacher training course that leads to the QTS award.  However, if you have a teaching qualification that doesn't have a QTS, then you may take a teacher training course which leads to the QTS award.  Therefore, someone who has a PGCE with Qualified Status cannot take any teacher training course that awards QTS, even if it is a course at a different level.  So you cannot take a Primary age range course if you have taught Secondary English for example.  Similarly, if you have gained a qualification such as a non-teaching PGCE or even a teaching qualification such as a Post Graduate Diploma of Education (PGDE) you may be allowed to take a course that awards QTS.


When do I need references when applying for a course?


You will need to provide the names and contact details of two people who can provide a reference for you when you first apply.  Where possible, one of these referees should be able to provide an academic reference relating to your time in university or college.  However, if you have been in employment for some time before coming to teacher training, it is more likely that you will have to provide references from an employer rather than an academic source.  Each individual situation will be taken into account and not having an academic reference will not stop you from joining a course.


Once you have been through the interview process and have received an offer of a place on a particular course, you must ask your referees to provide a reference as soon as possible.  Your referees will receive guidance from Apply, explaining exactly what they will need to refer to when writing your reference.


Finally, when your references appear live on your application, your course provider will be alerted by Apply and will be able to read the references.  Once your course provider has approved your references, your offer will appear on your application, ready for you to accept.


What has happened to School Direct?


Following recent government legislation, the initial teacher training course labeled as 'School Direct' has ceased to exist.  This is in line with the abolition of the Teaching Schools programme and the centralising of all previous Teaching School functions to one major school partnership.  In the West Yorkshire region, this central organisation is known as the Leeds Teaching Hub, which is overseen by the Ruth Gorse Academy.  However, within this, the central hub has allowed certain successful schools to retain their own independent teacher training course.  St. Anthony's is therefore very pleased and honoured to retain its courses.  Each course will go ahead as usual, utilising the same basic structure and providing exactly the same outcome as previously.  Only the name School Direct has been removed from all documentation relating to the training.


So in essence, its a case of 'a rose by any other name'.  We don't call our training School Direct anymore, but the same outstanding teacher training will occur as it has done in the past 8 years, offering exceptional trainee teachers the opportunity to train in a 'hands-on' manner, and to eventually become outstanding members of the profession.

Glossary of teaching terms and acronyms


QTS - Qualified Teacher Status


NQT - Newly qualified Teacher


PGCE - Post Graduate Certificate in Education (level 7) or Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (level 6)


ITT - Initial Teacher Training


TRA - Teaching Regulation Agency


DfE - Department for Education


SCITT - School-centered Initial Teacher Training


CPD - Continuing Professional Development