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School Direct is a school-led training course which blends together ‘on the job’ in-school training with the theoretical, research-led practice undertaken at university and the central Teaching School.

Our primary Initial Teacher Training is a full-time course that takes one school year to complete, leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

We firmly believe that the in-school training delivered by our fantastic partnership of schools, combined with the academic rigour encouraged and delivered by Sheffield Hallam University, provides a great formula for training outstanding teachers for the future.

Partnering with Sheffield Hallam, a provider with which we have such a rich and developed relationship, has allowed us to create a truly engaging and worthwhile programme, which draws on the individual expertise of specialist university staff. We have worked with the team at Sheffield Hallam for a number of years now and have developed a truly collaborative partnership which helps to ensure all your training needs will be met.

Our Alliance is based at Archbishop Holgate’s School, an outstanding Church of England Academy, with excellent student outcomes, which is situated three quarters of a mile from York city centre. We work closely with primary schools across York and occasionally North Yorkshire and the East Riding. This enables us to offer a variety of placement contexts and provide a truly broad teacher training experience.

Research-Led Training

School Direct at Pathfinder enables you to receive university-based training from the Outstanding Education Department at Sheffield Hallam (named as University of the Year for Teaching Quality by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020), as well as high quality pedagogical and subject-specific training at Pathfinder.

All sessions are led by outstanding educational practitioners and experienced teachers from Pathfinder MAT schools and other external teaching and learning experts.

You will undertake Masters level academic training and assessments, and take part in lectures, seminars and workshops on professional learning, educational theory, teaching approaches, behaviour management, Special Educational Needs, and curriculum subjects.

You will have the opportunity to learn about child development and be able to draw on quality educational research, as you reflect on how this informs classroom practice.  You will learn techniques and approaches to try in the classroom in order to help you progress in your teaching career.

The training we provide is rooted in research-led practice and practical experiences, offering you the opportunity to learn from the best, reflect on how theory and classroom life are linked, and to become the teacher you want to be through a personalised programme of support.

We will show you what we know works best in the classroom, how to work efficiently and how to collaborate well with others.

This combination of an academically strong research-led focus alongside rich and reflective practical experiences are why Pathfinder trainees are so highly regarded within the region, securing posts in York and beyond. Our excellent retention and employment rates demonstrate how effective our programme is in developing and mentoring the next generation of successful teachers.


Assessment is continuous across both placements, with two review points in each school, when you will have the opportunity to discuss your learning and progress towards meeting the Teachers’ Standards in a pupil progress meeting with your mentor and a member of the university or teaching school staff.  Your academic work will be assessed by written and oral assignments.