School Direct

Dear Enquirer,

We would normally hold open days during the academic year. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions this is not going to be possible. If you have any questions regarding the training at Balcarras after you have read the information below please contact Mrs Rebecca Atkin directly at

We have been allocated places in English, maths, physics, chemistry, biology, Modern Languages, geography, history, computing and design and technology (product design and not textiles or food) to train from September 2021. All these courses are full time. We are also offering part-time courses in English, maths, physics, chemistry biology, and computing.

Balcarras will work with GITEP, the Gloucestershire Initial Teacher Education Programme, to ensure that we provide each person recruited with the best training possible. We are pleased to be able to say that this is also in conjunction with the University of Bristol.

To qualify for the scheme you should be a graduate (preferably 1st or 2:1)

  • English – you would need a degree in English
  • Maths – you would need a degree in maths or engineering
  • Physics - you would need a degree in physics or engineering
  • Chemistry - you would need a degree in chemistry, forensic science or biochemistry 
  • Biology  - you would need a degree in biology, zoology or biochemistry 
  • MFL (we do French, Spanish and Russian but might be able to accommodate Italian or German as well) – you would need a degree in the appropriate language
  • Geography – you would need a degree in geography
  • History – you would need a degree in history
  • Computing - you would need a degree in computer science
  • Design and Technology – you need a degree in a relevant design subject or engineering for Product Design. We are not offering places in food or textiles.

Please peruse our website and that of School Direct (click here)- we would be pleased to answer any queries you might have as well – you can contact Mrs Becky Atkin, our Training Manager, on

Then if you wish to apply please complete the application form on the UCAS Teacher Training website or through the government website  We will then arrange interviews and email you directly to let you know about the interview process.

School Direct costs £8000 for QTS and £9250 for PGCE. There are bursaries of up to £25,000 available and scholarships up to £30,000 depending on the subject you would like to train to teach. For more information about bursaries please click here to go to If you have questions regarding bursaries and your eligibility for the course then please contact the GITEP office at or their number is 0845 0779005.

Further information regarding training to teach can be found at

School Direct 2021-22

Balcarras was one of the pilot schools for the School Direct programme, which started training teachers in September 2012.

Our 2019-2020 cohort of eight School Direct trainees have just completed their training and have secured jobs. They have particularly liked that they were in school from the first day and got to see the beginning of the school year for teachers and pupils. This has really helped them to feel that they are really valued members of the school. The subject mentors in each of the subjects have really appreciated that they train teachers that they themselves have recruited onto the training programme.

The GITEP course had an Ofsted inspection in 2015 and was graded as Outstanding. Balcarras school was involved in the inspection.

Inspectors noted in the report that “a key strength of the partnership is the sustained commitment to outstanding teacher training led by partnership school leaders and managers”. The outstanding quality of teaching inspectors saw from trainees and newly qualified teachers showed “skilled management of students’ behaviour by trainees and NQTs, underpinned by captivating lessons that engage and motivate students.” Inspectors also found that “trainees and NQTs really enjoy teaching”. 

The interview process

The interview process at Balcarras is:

  • Meet our head teacher, Mr Dominic Burke, on arrival
  • Tour of the school by pupils
  • Teach a 15 minute lesson on a particular aspect of your subject – which you would be given at least a week before the interview – this would be observed by one of our 3 training managers and someone from the relevant department    
  • One interview–with a training manager, the head of the relevant department and the course leader for School Direct
  • Written tasks - A short literacy and numeracy test and a task to check your subject knowledge

This is a rigorous process but we want to choose the best candidates to train at Balcarras. We want prospective teachers who are enthusiastic and passionate about their subject, committed to a career in teaching and ready to face the challenges of the training year.