Get in to teaching

Initial Teacher Training at Thorndown Primary School

Thank you for your interest in the School Direct route into teaching.  We warmly welcome your application and the following information will help guide you through the process.

All our staff are exceptionally skilled and passionate practitioners and you are welcome to visit us to discuss your chosen career.

From September 2020, Thorndown Primary School is becoming a Lead School for School Direct Teaching training. In partnership with the University of Bedfordshire, we are able to offer a PGCE with QTS based in primary schools in St Ives and Huntingdonshire. This alliance of a variety of school enables us to offer a variety of placement contexts and provide a truly rounded teacher training experience.

What is Schools Direct?

School Direct is a route into teaching which moves the focus of study from a university based course to a school based course.

Whether you’ve just finished a degree, or have been working in a career for many years, the School Direct route enables you to learn to teach, whilst actually doing the job, maximizing the time spent in school.

With the University of Bedfordshire, we offer a self-funded School Direct route into teaching. The course results in QTS status. You will train in a St Ives or Huntingdon school four days a week, learning “on the job” and then spend every Friday at the University of Bedfordshire Campus in Bedford.

You will get to know your class and school very well and your teaching workload will build up gradually, meaning you will not be teaching a class until you are ready. You will spend your first term in one school and then the next two terms in your main host school. This will ensure you gain a breath of experience.

Our programme aims

  • the majority of the school year based in one main host school from our alliance of schools in St Ives and Huntingdonshire
  • a second school placement in a school differing in context to your main host school;
  • highly trained and experienced in-school mentors;
  • strong support provided by the University of Bedfordshire and a trained mentor from Thorndown
  • networking opportunities with trainees from other schools;
  • a personalised approach to your training;
  • support to secure a teaching position on completion of the course within the local area or beyond.

The training programme we have designed will build your confidence and subject knowledge and give you the necessary skills to become an effective classroom practitioner. Throughout this time you will be supported by a highly-trained mentor in school, who will hold weekly meetings to review your progress and set targets. As your confidence grows, you will deliver parts of lessons on your own, taking on more responsibility until you are teaching full lessons.

As part of your further development you will undertake one other placement at another school, usually in a different context to your ‘home’ school. There will also be the opportunity to spend a varying amount of time at other schools to further enhance your learning through experiencing a diverse range of educational settings.  Our placement strategy is aimed at giving you the best preparation possible for a successful teaching career.

What do I need to apply?

Placements on the training programme will be conditional to:

  • a degree qualification from the UK (or equivalent). Please notes preference will be given to applicants with a 2:2 classification or higher
  • Relevant experience in the age phase you would like to teach.
  • A good understanding of issues in education
  •  GCSE English and Maths Grade C or above (and Science grade C if you are applying for a Primary place)
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance .
  • successful completion of Government skills tests.  Further information, including how to book the tests, can be found at
  • Occupational health screening to show you have a suitable level of health to work.

We welcome school visits, so please do call us if you are interested in applying and want to meet us and look around.

Tuition Fees

Trainees on a School Direct Training Programme will have to pay tuition fees to cover the cost of the course, but home and EU trainees will be eligible for a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of these fees. This route into teaching is for high quality graduates who want to be part of a school team from day one.

How do I apply?

Full details of how to apply for School Direct places can be found at the UCAS teacher training website 

When searching for places, our primary places on UCAS will be found under the Lead Teaching School which is  Thorndown Primary School  postcode PE27 6SE. UCAS code 2LV.

Prior to our application window opening, we strongly suggest you:

  • Begin obtaining two references to support your application.
  • Organise and sit the Skills Tests.
  • Ensure you have recent work experience in a school (with the age range you wish to teach.) This will prove invaluable when writing your personal statement and during the interview process. One way to gain experience can be through the School Experience Programme (SEP).
  • If you have any further questions in relation to the School Direct programme please contact our Teaching School Director Vicci Godbold by emailing

What happens to my application?

All applications are processed by the University of Bedfordshire/ Thorndown Primary School who will shortlist and invite candidates to interview if their application is successful and meets the University criteria. If an applicant is accepted, they will then be allocated to a school in our alliance or in Huntingdonshire that has requested a trainee, in line with their year group or key stage requirements. We are always willing to work with any school, especially if they are keen to host a particular applicant.

Come and meet us

We hold several opportunities to meet the Schools Direct team. We hold open evenings and open mornings throughout the year. However for any enquires please contact the school office at and speak to Vicci Godbold 01480 375103