The School Direct (Salaried) and Teach First schemes have many similarities and some key differences.To gain an in-depth understanding of each route please click here for our the SD (salaried) pathway and here for the Teach First scheme.


  • There is a home school in which the majority of your training takes place.
  • You are paid a salary while training. This is normally an unqualified salary for your training year followed by a full qualified teachers salary from your first qualified year in teaching, normally commencing the September following completion of your course. 
  • You will be given a timetable of solo lessons right from the beginning of your course in which you will be on your own in the classroom with your own classes
  • Your school will pay your training fees
  • You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and experience to be able to manage behaviour management in a classroom, plan and deliver quality lessons before your course starts.


  • School Direct (salaried) places and courses are managed by a training provider such as a university or School Centred Initial Teacher Training provider; we use Kent and Medway Training for MVTP places. Teach First is a charity set up to train teachers for schools in areas of high deprivation and they are the provider. 
  • School Direct (salaried) applicants can apply to the school of their choice. Teach First applicants need to have the “flexibility to work in any of their locations”
  • Any school in England and Wales can offer a School Direct (salaried) place. Only those schools in areas of high deprivation and with high levels of students on free school meals can offer Teach First places. Grammar schools and high performing schools are excluded from the Teach First scheme.
  • School Direct (salaried) places are offered often when a school knows that it is likely to have a gap in their timetable which they will need to fill in the future. Teach First schools are normally those that have been or are in challenging circumstances  and often find it hard to recruit and retain good teachers:- Do not necessarily be put off by this as schools that are turning around can be a great place to train. The advice is to look carefully at the latest Ofsted inspection reports and visit the school in order to judge the atmosphere there and get a “feel” for the support mechanisms in place to help you develop.
  • A School Direct (salaried) placement is a one year training programme that often leads, should you and the school wish, to a full time position at the end of the training year at your home school. Teach First is a two year programme in which trainees are obliged to stay at their home school for their Early Careers Teacher (ECT) year at least. You still qualify as a teacher after the first year.
  • School Direct (salaried) trainees are awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) upon completion of their course although this can be upgraded, for a small fee, to the full PGCE. Teach First trainees are awarded PGCE.
  • Other than having solo classes at the beginning of the course, the School Direct (salaried) trainee follows the same training programme as a school direct (non-salaried). Suitable candidates following the SD (salaried) route can also access a fast track route to leadership through a school’s own leadership programme. Teach First has their own training programme which is based on fast-tracking qualified staff to leadership positions. 
  • Where possible, School Direct (salaried) applicants are expected to be able to visit their home school before commencement of their course in order to prepare them for their training year. This is often supplemented by “induction courses led by your university or SCITT provider. Teach First have an intensive training course to prepare trainees for the commencement of their placement.
  • Application for School Direct (salaried) places is via the DFE APPLY scheme. Application for Teach First is via their own website.
  • School Direct (salaried) applicants require a minimum degree classification of 2:2  and GCSE passes at grade C or Level 4 in Maths, English and for primary trainees, Science. Teach First applicants require a minimum degree classification of 2:1 and GCSE passes at grade B (level 6) in Maths, English and for primary trainees, grade C.(level 4)
  • The drop-out rate for salaried trainees leaving the profession within 5 years is incredibly high. Teach First’s own best figures are just 70% retention and that was at a local level and not their national figure. Those training with our SCITT partner Kent and Medway Training had a drop-out figure of 4% during training.  PLEASE RESEARCH THIS DATA independently for the latest figures.

The question that you need to ask yourself with either scheme is, is it financially worth it? See here and especially given that it is a significantly more difficult route into teaching than any of the self funded schemes.

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