School of Education

School Direct Secondary Application Guidance

Please have a read through the below which will give you some advice on submitting your application and information on what happens after it has been submitted.

If you do have any questions before applying or once you have applied, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Before submitting your application

Please be sure to have a read through our website and the websites of our partner schools to help you make your choices, and have a read through our Entry requirements

Get references in order as your application won't reach us for consideration until two referees have provided a reference in support of your application.

Stage one - Application

You will need to apply for a place on the School Direct Secondary PGCE programme through the UCAS-TT website.

Please note that the University of Nottingham might not come up in the search result as you will need to search for a partnership with which we are working and apply to that partnership. The University of Nottingham will be listed as an accredited provider.

You will need to apply to the Lead School in the partnership. Please see our subject pages for a list of partnerships with whom we are working, and which schools within that partnership are offering places. Not all schools will offer the same subjects.

If you are unable to find the course you want on UCAS please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for advice.

When to apply

Applications for each school close when the places are allocated. You are advised to apply as early as possible as the award of places will be highly competitive.

Once you have submitted your application to UCAS-TT, it is sent to us. A decision on your application will be made within 40 working days from your initial submission.

Personal statement

Your personal statement provides an all-important first impression of you as a prospective teacher and we will be looking for evidence of your commitment to teaching and learning in a number of ways:

  • Ensure that you have explained why you want to teach (your age group/your subject), drawing on any important experiences or principles that underpin this. In short, what motivates you to join this profession? 
  • Discuss your experiences of working with pupils of the age group for which you are applying. In all that you discuss, remember to go beyond merely describing what you did and saw. What did you learn from this process? 
  • Consider what other experiences or personal qualities you have that might be relevant to the Secondary classroom. What can you offer that others might not? 
  • Teachers need to be skilled communicators. Think about whether your personal statement suggests this about you, both in terms of the content selected and the clarity and accuracy of its presentation.

For more tips on writing a good personal statement it is worth having a look on the UCAS website.

Stage two - Screening

The University of Nottingham will review your application and advise you whether you are being invited for interview.

Remember to keep an eye on your spam folder around the time you apply.

Stage three - University interview

Generally, the first interview will take place at the University of Nottingham, School of Education. This will involve a presentation, a group task, a written task and a one-on-one interview. More information will be provided to you should you be offered an interview.

Stage four - School interview

If successful at the University interview we will forward your application to your chosen school/alliance.

Your chosen school/alliance(s) will review your application and decide whether to invite you for a school-based interview, if vacancies remain. 

Only when a school/alliance agrees to train a candidate can they be offered a place. The University of Nottingham will advise you of this outcome. Please see the subject pages for vacancies and links to school websites where the places are offered.

Application tip

Remember, your application will be to a specific school/alliance rather than to the University of Nottingham so you can make more than one application with us listed as the accrediting University. We would even recommend this as if you are successful at the University interview here your application would be sent to all three schools for their consideration (assuming they still have places available). This may increase the opportunity for you to quickly secure a place on course.

Stage five - Acceptance of an offer of a place

If successful at the school-based interview, you will be offered a place on the School Direct course. To secure your place you will need to formally accept the place through UCAS-TT.

Offers are usually conditional based on successfully meeting a range of other conditions eg passing the professional skills tests. 

Apply online on


Please note that the University of Nottingham does not accept requests for deferred applications. Anyone who wishes to apply for the School Direct course should do so in the year prior to entry.



School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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