School Direct and Initial Teacher Training

"The Aspirer School Direct course gets you ready for all the challenges you face when becoming a teacher by providing lots of experience within the school environment, which is something I felt was vital being a trainee teacher. The Training School is also linked to the Research School which supplied me with the very latest research-based knowledge which I got to use in my own practice during my placement and continue to do so now. During the Coronavirus pandemic the Aspirer School Direct course continued to support me throughout these challenging times by continuing learning online and holding regular online meetings to ensure I received all the support I needed." Perri (2020 graduate)

Why choose School Direct with us?

School Direct is a way of training teachers which puts schools at the heart of the process.

You won't be a "student".  You'll be an Associate Teacher, working in the classroom alongside the teacher in one of our core alliance schools, taking on some of the roles of a class teacher from the start.

The lead school of Aspirer School Direct is Ash Grove Academy, an "Outstanding" school in Macclesfield. 


We work with schools in the Macclesfield area, Wilmslow, Manchester (Fallowfield), Sandbach, Crewe, Northwich and Buxton.

We have designed a programme with our partners, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), which is school based - Associate Teachers spend the vast majority of their time in the classroom - but supported by high quality professional development both at Aspirer and SHU.

We work in close partnership with SHU, sharing the teaching and assessment of Associate Teachers with them.  A recent OFSTED inspection of teacher training at SHU rated the provision, including the Primary and Early Years School Direct partnership as "Outstanding", saying,"Attainment of trainees across the primary phase and in all routes, is consistently high", that trainees are,"very well prepared for their future careers" and that there is,"excellent support provided to trainees to help them seek their first jobs, ensuring that employment rates have been consistently very high".

"The Aspirer School Direct team have gone above and beyond to prepare me for teaching. Learning on the job and seeing other outstanding teachers in action has really helped me gain confidence, resilience and the knowledge for the classroom. I received continuous support and effective feedback throughout. Being research based, I feel incredibly lucky to implement new strategies to provide the children with the best possible education. I am so grateful to the Aspire team and I truly believe I have managed to achieve my dream career because of them."

Georgia (2020 graduate)

COVID adjustments

Our cohort of Associate Teachers completed their training in a difficult year last year and are now Newly Qualified Teachers. We have made some changes to the course for the present year and are providing flexible and bespoke support so that trainees can become outstanding primary teachers!


"The Aspirer School Direct Training scheme offers hands on experiences within the classroom from the word go, with extensive support from outstanding teachers. As an Associate Teacher, I was provided with engaging training sessions and insightful opportunities for further professional development from within the Aspirer Trust of Schools and up to date research from the Aspirer Research School. Throughout my teacher training I felt thoroughly supported, not just during my placements at schools but whilst completing assignments for Sheffield Hallam University, during the sudden Covid 19 school closures and long after I had qualified. The Aspirer team have given me confidence, endless support, varied experiences in Schools and thorough professional training, all of which have helped to prepare me for life as an NQT. (Charis, 2020 Graduate)

Our link with the Aspirer Research School also means that Associate Teachers have a direct link to the most up to date research about teaching improvements and internationally respected researchers.

Successful completion of the course will award you a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and 60 Masters Credits from Sheffield Hallam University.               

Aspirer School Direct provided me with the best start to my teaching career. I received consistent support throughout the year, even during the global pandemic! I was thoroughly trained on all the new and upcoming research around education, which helped me become confident in classroom and ultimately securing myself a full time NQT post. I will be forever grateful for the training and support Aspirer School Direct gave me during what was, one of the most challenging years. Chloe (2020 graduate)


You will:

  • spend the entire year learning how to teach in a real classroom;
  • work towards being an outstanding teacher; 
  • have experience of working in two contrasting schools and key stages over the course of the year (Covid permitting);
  • be mentored by your Learning Coach, who will be an experienced, expert and outstanding teacher;
  • have a good expectation of employment in an Alliance school at the end of the course;
  • follow a rigorous but rewarding programme of professional development;
  • have lots of opportunity to collaborate with other Associate Teachers.
  • have access to the most up to date research evidence through the Aspirer Research School

To apply please click HERE and you will be taken to information about the courses that we run Primary (5-11), Primary Early Years (3-7) and Primary (5-11) Physical Education Specialism.  Click on "Recruitment and Selection" on this page for lots of helpful information that you will need before you apply.

For more information, to arrange a chat, visit one of the schools or arrange some school experience before applying, please contact Mark Avis (Aspirer School Direct Programme Leader) on or telephone 01625 466914