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Teacher Training

Available courses

We offer both primary and secondary placements

Our Trust unites all the teacher training and development work of our schools in the Centre for Teaching. Our tagline sums up our belief that your training year is just the start of the support and care you receive from our Trust. We hope to create future teachers, future mentors and future leaders who will go on to share their gifts and talents for the benefit of the students in our care. We look forward to welcoming you into our Trust family.

We offer a range of subjects, across a suite of courses, for which you can apply. These include: art, biology, business studies, chemistry, Design and Technology (DT), English, French, geography, history, maths, music, physics, Physical Education (PE) and Religious Education (RE).

We also offer primary placements across all key stages.

Please contact Anna Herdman, the Centre for Teaching manager, for more information about individual school offers.

Phone Number: 0191 823 9361

Mobile: 07842 318153


Case Study

Name:Antonia Armstrong
Degree(s) studied:BA (Hons) English & Creative Writing
MA English Literature
School/institution providing ITT:Carmel College, Darlington
Main school training placement:Cardinal Hume Catholic School, Gateshead
Second school training placement:St Robert of Newminster Catholic School and Sixth Form College, Washington

Prior to training to teach, I worked part time at Starbucks Coffee company whilst pursuing my academic career at university.

Working as a barista certainly gave me the confidence to converse with customers and staff. It gave me invaluable multi-tasking skills and a variety of communication styles. I also learned how to be a positive and contributing member of a team, whilst also gaining the freedom to work independently.

I also volunteered for several years at Glynwood primary school, helping to co-ordinate a routine for a group of students to perform in the Gateshead gymnastic festival. This gave me my first taste of teaching. Although supervised by teaching staff, it gave me the opportunity to trial teaching in a coaching role, which I loved.

I always had a passion for education; I always knew I wanted to be an educator. I have a firm belief that teachers shape young people’s minds and I wanted to play a part in helping young people to reach their potential.

Furthermore, I have always had a love for English Literature. After spending four years completing my Bachelors and Masters degrees, I felt equipped to pass on that knowledge to young people and hopefully to instil the same enthusiasm for learning in them.

My education has been shaped by inspirational teachers. From my primary school teacher to my (now) colleagues at Cardinal Hume. My primary school teacher was a childhood role model, who taught every subject with such passion and professionalism that no child could help but be motivated to learn. The subject knowledge and dedication to the teaching profession of my secondary school teachers was awe-inspiring. These wonderful mentors, paragons of inspirational teaching, inspired me to become a teacher.

I chose a school direct route with Carmel College because the course came highly recommended.

I was impressed by the support and dedication Carmel College offered their trainee teachers, the staff were friendly and professional. The training provider offered a whole range of training services on Thursdays in geographically accessible locations which suited my needs. The statistics for job opportunities after teacher training with this provider were very promising, with many trainees staying within the teaching alliance, which was also something I was keen to do.

I chose the school direct route with Carmel College because it suited my ‘hands on’ approach to learning. It was a well-established course which offered rigorous academic structures and a range of professional support networks, such as regular visits from the institution.

It was an effective way to begin teaching in my opinion, because you were immediately immersed in school life. You were seen as a member of staff straight away and that helped me to feel like one of the school community. It helped me to learn swiftly on the job, to follow rules and routines and to observe other members of staff freely which helped my teaching practice enormously. Being able to watch established members of staff in their teaching roles and extra-curricular roles was hugely beneficial to my own teaching practice, observing a range of teaching styles helped me to find my own style. All of the colleagues I have worked with were very forthcoming in sharing their own experiences and to help in any way they could to aid my training; their feedback was invaluable.


My teacher training experience was wonderful! Embarking on a career in teaching was the best decision I have ever made. There is no doubt that the year is challenging, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. I had grown professionally and personally over the course of the training year and every experience further prepared me for what I hope is a long and fruitful career in education.

My year began with an initial induction into training at Cardinal Hume (my main school placement) then a week of training at Carmel College. This training, albeit front-loaded, was definitely helpful to apply immediately into my training practice. The induction process was supportive, my timetable offered time for departmental and cross-curricular observations, to gain ideas and tasks to embed in my own teaching. I started with an independent timetable, however having now been a mentor myself for three years, it is commonly the case that to begin with, a trainee will have a timetable of no more than 4-6 hours per week. The initiation process is trainee-led. As a trainee, you are given the scope to choose when you are comfortable to expand your practice. So often, it is the case that your teaching practice will begin in autumn term with you delivering starters and plenaries and in the following weeks, aim to move to teaching full lessons by October half term.

During my main school placement my mentor offered me weekly hour-long mentor meetings, but she also gave up a lot of her time to work with me to plan collaboratively and provide me with informal feedback and general support, which helped to refine my teaching. I was in my teaching role for four days out of the five day week. On Thursdays we travelled to one of the host schools within the alliance to receive training on a wide variety of topics. The training was always varied, well-structured and informative. It was also a good opportunity to network with fellow trainees, to share experiences and offer support and guidance to one another. During my main school placement, I received two support visits from my Carmel College professional tutor. These visits were always positive and the feedback was always constructive.

After completing placement one, in January, I undertook my second school placement at St Robert of Newminster school, which was an equally wonderful placement. The support and guidance from my mentor was second to none, the school was welcoming, and I learnt a lot from the experience. I taught a 12-hour timetable after a week of observations which I felt very prepared to do. Like in placement one I received another support visit to ensure I was making good progress towards achieving QTS.

The final weeks of the course were spent working with my timetabled classes and preparing for my next year. I feel very lucky that I was offered a job at Cardinal Hume after my training year so I used the time to prepare for my NQT year. Lastly, the celebration ceremony at Carmel College was a great event. We attended a graduation ceremony where all of the professional tutors, professional link mentors, school mentors and the Carmel training team awarded us our certificate of achievement. The event was an excellent way to celebrate the progress everyone on the cohort had made, share our job opportunities and reflect on the year.

I received bountiful support from my mentor, both English departments at Cardinal Hume and St Robert, the Carmel training staff and my professional tutor.

I was offered a permanent position in the English department at Cardinal Hume. Since then I have been lucky to have had a promotion to 3rd in department and last year to 2nd in department. I have been given numerous whole school opportunities to lead research and development groups and deliver literacy training. More recently from an ethos perspective, I have fundraised (through Cardinal Hume) to build a dormitory in Malawi to help vulnerable young women finish their education.

Teaching is a vocation, do not go into this route lightly. The job is challenging but if you choose to go into teaching expect to find one of the most rewarding, diverse and fulfilling jobs there is. Take your time to research different routes into teaching, the variety is wide and you can find a course which will suit your expectations and requirements. Ask as many teachers as you can on which route they took; I have found that teachers were very helpful and forthcoming with advice.

Dispelling myths

Dispelling myths about school-led teacher training

Fact: You are part of a team from the start and receive intensive support from experienced teachers in the classroom. You won’t be teaching classes unsupported until the school thinks you are ready and opportunities will exist to build networks with fellow trainees.

Fact: To become a qualified teacher, you have to take training placements in two schools. Trainees will train in at least two schools – and will usually spend time in other schools too.

Fact: You will spend plenty of time in academic training, comparable to the university-led route. Most school-led courses result in a master’s-level qualification, such as a PGCE, as well as qualified teacher status (QTS).

Fact: School-led routes into teaching have been around for many years and have very high rates of trainee satisfaction. Last year, a third of postgraduate teacher training places were school-led.

Fact: School-led financial support is the same as for the traditional university-led path. There is also, unique to the school-led route, a salaried scheme for career changers called School Direct (salaried).

Fact: People with three or more years of work experience can apply for the School Direct (salaried) programme, on which you are paid a salary while you train, though you won’t qualify for a bursary. However, you can also apply to the standard School Direct training programme, for which training bursaries are available.

Fact: School Direct is different from Teach First – Teach First trains 2,000 outstanding graduates in selected challenging schools. You apply directly to Teach First. School Direct has around 17,500 places available in schools of all types across the country.

Fact: SCITTs are schools which have been given government approval to run their own training courses. They can be searched for under ‘SCITT programme’ on UCAS. Many SCITTs and around 8,000 schools also offer School Direct programmes which can be searched for under ‘School Direct training programme’ and ‘School Direct training programme (salaried)’ on UCAS.


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