Stay in touch with West Cumbria Teaching School Alliance

Secondary School Direct ITT

Secondary School Direct ITT image


  • Do you want to train to teach in West Cumbria and the Northern Lake District?
  • Are you interested in a career in Secondary teaching?
  • Would you prefer a school-based route into teaching that also offers the same qualifications as a more traditional university teacher training route?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then the West Cumbria and North Lakes School Direct Initial Teacher Training programme might be for you!

The West Cumbria Teaching School Alliance is recruiting now for School Direct Trainees for the academic year 2020/21.

Why train with WCTSA?

  • We offer a successful school based route into teaching in a stunning location.
  • We are a large alliance with many years’ experience in Initial Teacher Training and we can offer you Secondary phase placements in almost all areas of West Cumbria, including, Keswick, Penrith, Cockermouth, Silloth, Egremont, Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport.
  • Our training programme is designed, delivered and reviewed by practising school teachers who understand what teaching is all about – we use expertise from our alliance schools to deliver high quality, practical training on key educational themes.
  • As an alliance we offer excellent opportunities for employment – and indeed our trainees are highly employable and almost all choose full-time teaching posts in alliance schools.
  • The training year can be demanding but we have supportive and experienced mentors who guide you through the course – and feedback from the current School Direct cohort about their mentors and about the course has been very positive.

“The conferences and training sessions have been informative and the support of mentors has been excellent – in fact all school staff have made me feel welcome.”

“I believe I have had the best start to my teaching career.”

“I now feel more confident in my ability to teach and I have broadened my subject knowledge.”

Testimonials 2020

Why choose the WCTSA School Direct route into teaching?

  • At the end of the course you will gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), just like university-based routes, with 60 credits at Masters Level.
  • The course is structured so that your teaching increases gradually through the year.
  • You will experience the whole year in a school environment allowing you to spend more time learning how to teach rather than being told how to teach.
  • You undertake two teaching placements in alliance schools (autumn term in one school and spring and summer terms in another), as well as opportunities for optional KS2, KS5 or Special School enrichment placements, giving you a breadth of experience.
  • Our Secondary School Direct course is verified by the well-established and highly regarded CPTT (Cumbria Primary Teacher Training) also based in West Cumbria – the great advantage of CPTT is the fact that it is run by a board of head teachers. Who better to ensure that the learning provided meets the needs of future teachers? This also means that all schools involved in ITT are completely committed to your learning; they are not just taking students on placement – they run the course!
  • We are a small course by design and we only recruit a limited number of trainees each year. This small number means that we can offer individualised learning programmes and support to everyone on the course to a degree that is impossible on larger courses. We are confident that we offer a friendly learning experience of the highest quality and we warmly invite you to contact us and find out more about our PGCE & QTS programmes.
  • For additional information about the course and details of the WLTSA School Direct programme handbook and policies, please follow the link to the CPTT website.


Which subjects is WCTSA offering?

WCTSA offers a range of Secondary phase subjects, including:

Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Design and Technology, English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Physical Education, RE and Physics.

Please search under UCAS Teacher Training for current subject vacancies – we are listed under Cockermouth School.


Funding and Applications

  • Applications for School Direct are through UCAS Search under Cockermouth School (the named gateway school for the alliance)
  • Candidates from the UK and the EU will be eligible for a tuition fee loan
  • In addition, you could be eligible for a tax free bursary of up to £26,000 dependent upon your choice of subject, age range for the subject you wish to teach, and the class of degree that you hold.
  • All trainees who commence the course will have to pay tuition fees to cover the cost of the course. This is currently £9,250 for the PGCE and QTS.

Full details of all available courses and bursaries are available through UCAS (Teacher Training register).


Could you train to be a Secondary English, Maths or Science teacher?

We particularly need English, Maths and Science teachers in West Cumbria – if you have a Degree in another subject but you have a very good A level in English, Maths or one of the Sciences or relevant experience linked to teaching then please consider applying to our School Direct programme.

Visit the Get Into Teaching website to explore reasons why you should train to teach or to book on a Train to teach event

To arrange visits to schools to gain observation experience please contact  or visit

Contact Tina Beddoe ITT Coordinator

What is School Direct?

School Direct is a direct route into teaching, where successful applicants can follow a PGCE (with QTS) course. The main difference to the traditional PGCE course is that you will do a significant amount of your training within a school.

Find out more about School Direct


There are many success stories from the West Cumbria Teaching School Alliance. Here are just a few of them.

Read the testimonials

What is a Teaching School?

Teaching Schools have been established in order that schools and groups of schools take increasing responsibility for managing the school system…

Read about Teaching Schools

a brighter future in the northwest Lake District