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Polaris School Direct Programme – FAQs


Why should I choose Polaris?


Put simply, we offer quality, local, individualised training. We have 15 great schools in our alliance including in York, Ryedale, East Riding, East Coast, Northallerton and Richmond areas. We also work in partnership with other great schools in each area to ensure high quality placements for our trainees. We endeavour to place you in schools that match your individual circumstances and we continually monitor the quality of in-school placements throughout your training year.

The out-of-school professional training you will receive from Polaris and York St John tutors is as good as it gets: current, research-based, practice-led and delivered by some of the best practitioners in our region.

Our pastoral and well-being record is superb. We have a fantastic team in place to support you during your training year and, should you get a job in one of our schools, beyond.

Many of our trainees go on to secure jobs in our schools. We have past trainees who are now training to be subject and SEND leaders and even mentoring our new cohort.


How long does the programme run for?


Our programme is full-time and runs from September to mid-June so it’s just over ten months in total. Each year, some of our trainees are asked to work in school as unqualified teachers for the remainder of the summer term once the programme has ended.


What qualifications will I gain?


You will gain QTS and PGCE at the end of your training.


What ages will I be qualified to teach?


Your training will focus on either the 3-7 or the 7-11 age phase. However, you may choose to have placements across two phases and you will be qualified to teach both.


How do the school placements work?


You will have three teaching placements in two contrasting schools. Our school placements are organised around an ABA structure: you’ll be based in school A for the majority of your training, where you will complete two teaching placements in different classes. You will also benefit from a 6-week contrasting placement in a different school (school B).


We believe that the key to a successful PGCE year lies in providing our trainees with the best possible school placements. We will aim to ensure your placements are relevant to your interests, prior experience and locality. We will work hard to ensure that whilst you are in placement, you are trained by good and outstanding teachers to the highest standard possible.



What about training away from the classroom?


You’ll come to regular ‘hub’ days at St Mary’s in Malton, where you will receive quality professional training from specialist leaders and tutors across our alliance of schools to develop your knowledge of the primary curriculum and the core principles around excellent primary practice. To underpin and enhance your practical teaching experience in the classroom, you will also attend approximately twenty training days at York St John University across the year.


Is this a very academic programme?


No. School Direct is a practical route into teaching and the majority of your training year will be hands-on. That said, there is an important theoretical and academic element to our programme: the PGCE element of the course consists of two, Masters level assignments. These are carefully designed to support and underpin your growing experience and practice in the classroom.


What qualifications do I need?


School Direct is a postgraduate qualification so you need to have already completed a degree in any subject. In addition, you need GCSEs in English, maths and science – grade C(4) or above. Equivalency tests are available if you don’t have these.



How do I apply?


You can apply to our programme using the Department for Education’s Find postgraduate teacher training programme, accessible through the UCAS website.

Where can I find out more?


You can visit our website for more information about our programme. Even better, get in touch via email or telephone and we will arrange a visit or a chat. We are always happy to tell you how brilliant our programme is.