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Train to Teach

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What is Teach North West?

School Direct is a local initial teacher training model for local people, offering a flexible alternative to a further year’s study away from home. Our Teach North West programme, run as an alliance with the University of Cumbria, follows the same content structure as other PGCE courses, but with a much stronger focus on gaining classroom experience throughout the course.

If you find that you learn best ‘on the job’ and would prefer to do all of your training and practice at school, as an associate member of staff, then School Direct could be the best route for you.

Through our popular and highly effective School Direct programme Teach North West, in our three location hubs – Teach Bolton, Teach Merseyside and Teach East Manchester, we prepare our trainee teachers to rise to the challenge of ensuring every child has the best possible start in life.




Our School Direct programme is highly nurturing and trainee-focused; we ensure that each trainee receives a tailored programme to suit their needs, identified from their first meeting with us at interview. The course is overseen by experienced Programme Leads, facilitated by highly effective Mentors and has an exceptional record of achievement from our higher education provider, the University of Cumbria.

Our programme is well-established; we have been involved in School Direct teacher training with the University of Cumbria from its very first year and we are proud to celebrate a 100% employment record for students completing our programme.

Teach North West is run through a network of placement school partners throughout each of our three hubs. Some of these partner schools are themselves part of wider multi-academy trusts, teaching schools and alliances – giving our trainees a variety of professional networks to make use of from their first day. 

How does it work?

In comparing traditional university-based PGCE and School Direct courses:

  • Both require 60 days of training and 120 days of teaching in the classroom
  • Both cover the same subject and professional development modules
  • Both result in a universally recognised University of Cumbria PGCE qualification

Students who are already graduates, will study for a one-year University of Cumbria Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) at Masters level, which will give them Qualified Teacher Status to pursue a teaching career and 60 credits towards a Master’s Degree.

Our School Direct students will have training delivered twice a week, on location, by expert practitioners, with the aim of creating critically reflective professionals who are at the leading edge of research-informed practice.

Students will have three full-time placements over the year, in two good or outstanding schools, across both KS1 and KS2, and will increase the amount of teaching they do as they are ready, building up the amount of lessons taught gradually over the year, until they are confident in teaching the majority of the timetable and feel NQT ready.


Who are we looking for?

We have the highest standards for our initial teacher training courses and expect our trainees to demonstrate their commitment to the course from their interview, through to graduation.

We seek applications from candidates who:

  • Are passionate about educating children to increase their opportunities
  • Are good listeners who enjoy working collaboratively
  • Understand how to learn from their mistakes
  • Are ambitious and resilient in their drive to succeed
  • Take pride in their unique vocation

If this sounds like it could be you, take a look at our minimum requirements to apply:

  • A UK Bachelors degree or recognised equivalent qualification.
  • 3 GCSE grades A-C (grade 4 or above) in English language, mathematics and science (or equivalent).
  • An Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check – carried out on all successful applicants before starting the course.
  • School experience is not essential to apply for one of our courses – we are looking for your potential to teach. * Please note that the interview process will require you to deliver a mini-teach – a short lesson on a pre-chosen topic for a small group of pupils.

If you would like to prepare thoroughly, we would encourage you to speak to one of our Programme Leads to arrange some work experience, you can also take a look at the Get into Teaching website for more information.

Why study with Teach North West?

w-We look beyond course completion. Join us for your teaching journey and make a difference, from day one. Train to teach in your local school, meet new friends, start to build your professional network and make a difference to local children.

The Outstanding SS Simon & Jude CE Primary School, in Bolton, is the lead school in the successful Teach North West Alliance, and leads the Teach Bolton hub. Knowsley Lane Primary leads the schools within the Teach Merseyside hub, and Teach East Manchester is led by St James CE Primary in Gorton. We have been involved in School Direct school-based teacher training with the University of Cumbria from its very first year and we are proud to celebrate a 100% employment record for students completing our programme. 

Our personalised programme supports you to:

  • Become an experienced and confident teacher
  • Feel NQT ready
  • Identify your future leadership and career goals
  • Build effective professional networks

Within our partnership schools you will meet newly qualified teachers and former School Direct trainees, as well as National Leaders of Education, Specialist Leaders of Education and outstanding teachers – all ready with advice, support, experience and skills to kick-start your teaching journey.

Our partnership of excellent primary schools enables you to experience a range of settings, with the added benefit of specialist subject teaching input from leading staff in the partnership.

The key features of our Teach North West programme include:

  • Team Induction activity day at the start of the course.
  • Peer working with a small group of no more than fifteen School Direct colleagues.
  • A focus on your personal learning journey and well-being. We care about you and provide well-being workshops from expert practitioners each term.
  • A typical week consists of three days in placement and two days taught sessions.
  • Three blocks of assessed placements where you will be in school full-time.
  • Experience in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
  • Training, mentoring and coaching from highly experienced classroom practitioners.
  • Guidance and support from dedicated programme mentors.
  • PGCE modules delivered by University of Cumbria tutors.
  • A strong focus on broadening your pedagogical understanding.
  • Successful completion leads to the award of PGCE and QTS, by University of Cumbria, with 60 credits towards your Masters Degree.

Our Partner Schools

Our lead school is SS Simon & Jude CE Primary School in Great Lever, Bolton. Visit the individual school websites to find out more about our partner schools and the range of settings we work with:

St Paul’s CE Primary School

Sunning Hill Primary School

Harwood Meadows Primary School

Johnson Fold Community Primary School

Gorsefield Primary School

St Peter’s Smithills Dean CE Primary School

St Augustine’s CE Primary School


Our Teach Merseyside hub is led by Knowsley Lane Primary School, in conjunction with Willow Tree Primary and local partner schools.


Our Teach East Manchester hub is led by St James CE Primary school, in conjunction with Gorton Primary School, St Barnabas CE Primary School and local partner schools. 


How do I find out more and apply?

We would love to meet you, to book an appointment to chat with us about your teaching journey, contact our programme leads:

For Teach Bolton: Paul Morgan

For Teach East Manchester and Teach Merseyside: Christina Derbyshire

To apply through UCAS:
Provider Code: 14T   
Provider Name: Teach North West, SS Simon and Jude Alliance 
UCAS Course Code 2CXG
You then need to select your local campus.

Teach Bolton – Campus Code ‘-‘
Teach Merseyside – Campus Code A
Teach East Manchester – Campus Code B
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