Initial Teacher Training

Have you ever wanted to do something that really will change lives? Are you bored of the usual commute and the dull 9-5 existence of an office job? Do you have good graduate qualifications? Can you show great intrapersonal skills, flexibility, creativity and resilience? Then teaching could be the profession for you!

To become a qualified teacher in state-maintained schools across the UK, you need to undertake Initial Teacher Education (ITE). Entry is generally competitive for our primary places. As a minimum qualification, completion of ITE leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), recognised in England and Wales. We also offer the opportunity to complete the academic study needed for a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate of Education) or the PGDE (Postgraduate Diploma of Education).

Training to be a teacher is challenging but there are a number of benefits to a teaching career. You'll use your knowledge and skills to inspire and educate the next generation and the variety of your job means that you'll gain plenty of transferrable skills in return.

You'll get to watch young people learn and develop, meaning that job satisfaction is guaranteed. What's more, you'll have ample opportunities to progress your career. On a practical note, teachers also enjoy great job security and other benefits such as a competitive salary, generous holiday allowance and a pension.

To help you decide if teaching is right for you, and to support your application, you should do as much work or volunteering in schools as you can. If you're not sure which age or subject would suit you best, contact schools in your area and ask to observe in a classroom. You should also speak to the teaching staff about the challenges and rewards of teaching.

The UK education system is broadly divided into primary and secondary schools.

Aquila is a trust of primary schools so the key stages are:

  • Early years foundation stage (EYFS): 0-5 year olds - nursery and reception
  • Key Stage 1: 5-7 year olds - school years 1-2
  • Key Stage 2: 7-11 year olds - school years 3-6

Try to gain experience with different age ranges to help you decide which group is right for you. Teacher training covers two key stages and, once qualified, teachers gain experience of teaching across key stages but tend to stay within the age range they trained to teach.

The way to apply for postgraduate teacher training in England has changed.

You can now use Apply for teacher training (a link to: a new GOV.UK service. 

Apply for teacher training is easy to use and gives clear guidance to help potential teachers make strong applications.

To learn more about the new service and to get help with your application, visit Get into Teaching (a link to:

Aquila Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Offer

Aquila, The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust, is offering training places for trainees keen to become outstanding primary teachers who can inspire and motivate children with a joy of learning. We will offer bespoke training in a lead school which is  graded Good or Outstanding, supported by a mentor within the school and an experienced university tutor. You will build relationships with staff and pupils from day 1, gradually building your teaching commitment until you are ready to lead the class for the majority of the week, giving you excellent preparation for your nest step as an early career teacher.


The training is a mix of practical experience in school, including observations of and by key staff and supported academic study. You will be able to select the level of qualification which is accredited by Canterbury Christ Church University. Every successful trainee will be awarded Qualified Teacher Status but you might also opt to complete more academy study and achieve a Post Graduate Certificate in Education or Masters level credits.

We are working with CCCU to devise effective training because we recognise within our Trust, and in education in general, an issue with appointing sufficient high quality newly qualified teachers. As a MAT, we want to train excellent practitioners for all our schools and provide a clear understanding of what is distinctive and different about working in a church school in a multi-faith environment.  We want to retain the best trainees from each cohort and offer a clear pathway of training and support from the first steps into the classroom through to executive leadership.

Within the training, you will specialise in early years, key stage 1 or key stage 2 and pick a curriculum subject which particularly interests you to study in more depth. However, all trainees will have the opportunity to observe and teach in a contrasting key stage so you have a good understanding of the learning before and /or after your chosen year group. You will also teach every subject in the primary curriculum. Subject specialist training days are available at CCCU to develop your interests or to develop areas of weakness.

By clicking through the Aquila website you can see some information about each of our schools and the links to their websites will tell you more. However, there is no guarantee that a particular school will be offering training places, or if they are, that they are not already well advanced in the recruitment process. Should you wish to train in a particular school, please contact them directly before making your application.

If you stay within Aquila, as an early career teacher you will be well supported and have regular focussed meetings with a mentor in school. You will access the training for early career teachers and the additional Aquila training sessions developed from our very successful NQT training. Although you won't be expected to take on leadership of a subject the skills and interests you developed in training will be useful. As you progress in your career, you will take on subject leadership, supported by the Aquila subject leadership networks. There are training opportunities to enhance your leadership skills from middle leadership to senior leadership including nationally recognised qualifications.

There are several different postgraduate routes into teaching offered by Aquila, School Direct (tuition fee) School Direct (salaried). Each route is outlined further below. It should be noted that the salaried route is only open to potential trainees who have at least three years in full time employment. In addition, we offer Teacher Apprenticeships. Please contact for further details. Normally this would be after graduation but some of our support staff have worked in schools for many years and completed their undergraduate degrees part-time while working. In these cases, we accept their employment record whether it is in an Aquila academy or another school.

School Direct (tuition fee)

As the name suggests, the School Direct (tuition fee) route of study is unpaid; trainees are a CCCU student for the year. They will carry out the qualifications and  safeguarding checks. This is a very popular training programme for those students who prefer to spend their postgraduate training year in a school, rather than in the university. Aquila recognises the commitment involved in this training route and we usually offer a full-time teaching position in one of our schools after the training year.

We work closely with Canterbury Christ Church University who certify successful trainees. We also offer bespoke additional training and well-being sessions so you will develop a supportive network of peers in other Aquila schools. You are able to opt for Qualified Teacher Status only through this route but can also add additional study to achieve a PGCE and Masters level credits.


  • Although your training is based in a school, they’re not your employers, and in many ways, your training will be similar to training programmes in universities and colleges.
  • You’ll pay fees but you might be eligible for funding through tuition fee loans, training bursaries, or scholarships. Details of finance and funding can be accessed through CCCU.


School Direct Part Time

Why School Direct Part-time?

The key feature of this route into teaching is that the majority of the two years is spent on placement working alongside experienced colleagues in schools. You will be part of an established school team working together to secure great outcomes for children.

The course harnesses the knowledge and experience of school colleagues in the delivery of your training, working in partnership with the experience of Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) an accredited ITT provider. Schools, and the mentors within them, provide the vast majority of the training alongside the University over a two-year period.

The delivery of the training will enable you to work or look after family part-time and train part-time through a flexible working pattern.

There are two part-time School Based courses, School Based (School Direct) (Salaried) and School Based (School Direct) (Training) (sometimes called non-salaried). It is important that you are clear which of these courses you are applying for as it will affect your funding for the course (see Fees and Finance below).

Who is the course for?

The course is for people who want to train part-time to become teachers, spending the majority of their training time in school alongside qualified teachers. This will require you to be involved in training for 2.5 days or 3 days a week during term time for two years.

What will I study?

We offer two pathways within the School Based (School Direct) Part-time course. All students are automatically on the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) course but all students have the opportunity, to opt into the School Based (School Direct) PGCE pathway in the second year.

QTS Pathway – all students

The majority of your time on this course is spent in school. It is a requirement of all QTS courses that you get at least 60 days (or equivalent) training through the year. During year one you will be expected to attend at least 15 days taught sessions from the University. Your development in school will be supported by a mentor who will help you in your progress towards meeting the standards for QTS. During your second year you will be required to undertake a period of placement in a second school that provides a contrast to your base school. You will access Aquila training and focussed support in both years of the training.

School Based (School Direct) PGCE Pathway – an option for all students

The School Based (School Direct) PGCE pathway is a mixture of work based learning and academic assessments. All students will be offered this option in the second year. In addition, Student Teachers who opt in to this pathway will be required to undertake academic study and write academic assignments. There are additional taught sessions and tutorial support to support students studying on this pathway. If you decide to opt for this qualification, Aquila will expect you to attend these university taught sessions.

Professional Policy & Practice in Education
Sessions in this module aim to inform you about aspects of professional practice which are central to your work, whatever your subject or phase, including how do we learn, how do we include all children, how is teaching a professional activity, how can education be organised and how can learning be assessed.

Subject Pedagogy
This module involves work in studying key concepts that underpin the various curricula and syllabi for your subject or phase. The sessions allow discussion of different pedagogies and allow reflection on differing school approaches to the subjects or phases.

Practitioner Research in Education
The module enables you to choose an area on your School Development Plan and study this in more depth through a research project based in your school.


There are two possible awards from your School Based (School Direct) course:

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Pathway, all successful student teachers will achieve the recommendation for QTS.

School Based PGCE Pathway, successful student teachers who decide to opt in to the additional taught sessions described above will be awarded a PGCE.

Learning and Teaching

The majority of the learning on this course happens in schools. Student teachers will learn over the two years in a variety of ways in school, including from experienced mentors, through observing others and through experience.

There are 15 days taught in university at the Canterbury Campus in year one. The teaching on these days will be a mixture of lecture and seminar and workshop activity.

There is a high level of individual support for learning offered in this course through the mentors in school and the university tutors.




Fees will be spread across two years

QTS only £5,960
QTS & PGCE £9,250

Funding Support

School Based (School Direct) (non-salaried)


The information about bursaries and eligibility changes from year to year but tax-free funding is available to the best graduates training in some subjects. 

You do not need to apply for a bursary – if you are accepted on to a non-salaried postgraduate course and meet the eligibility criteria you will receive information on the bursary prior to your enrolment on the course.

School Based (School Direct) (salaried)

If you are studying on the School Based (School Direct) (salaried) programme you will be employed and paid a salary by your school for the time you are there. You will be paid on the unqualified teacher pay scale.

For more information, please visit Get into Teaching.

Loans and other funding

You could receive a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan to help fund your teacher training. 

Visit GOV.UK and use the student finance calculator to estimate student loans and extra funding that may be available, e.g. if you’re disabled or have children. 


QTS Pathway – all students
Throughout the two year course you will be assessed by your school mentors and university tutors at key points to help you understand how well you are meeting the standards for QTS. At the end of the course you will have a final assessment. This will take the form of a review meeting to formally assess whether you have engaged in the curriculum and met the standards for QTS.

School Based (School Direct) PGCE Pathway
In addition to the above assessment process, students who have opted for the additional PGCE Pathway in their second year will be required to submit three 4,000 word equivalent assignments, spread across the year, which may be eligible for Masters level credits.

Entry Requirements

A good honours degree of at least lower second class (2:2) standard.

English, Maths and a Science at GCSE (grade C/4 or above) or equivalent.

Successful completion of the Occupational Health Clearance and a satisfactory Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check.

If English is not your first language you require an IELTS overall score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5 for most standard undergraduate and postgraduate courses.






Fundamental English and Mathematics Skills

How should ITT providers assure fundamental English and mathematics skills?

Since September, we have continued to work with MillionPlus, UCET, NASBTT, Teaching Schools Council and ITT providers. We have mapped their current recruitment and course content against the required fundamental skills.

The vast majority of ITT providers are covering the fundamental skills already. Providers do not need to cover a topic at interview if candidates already demonstrate the required skills or will be able to develop this skill during the course. There is no expectation to introduce tests or assessments.

Some ITT providers have very innovative approaches to assessing and developing candidates and trainees. These ideas are being shared by providers and representative bodies.

If you have any feedback or ideas, please contact us at:

How will Ofsted inspect fundamental skills?

Ofsted will expect providers to comply with the requirements set out in the ITT criteria:

Ofsted will simply continue to inspect ITT providers’ recruitment and selection of trainees. Inspectors will continue to ask:

  • providers about the processes and procedures in place to recruit and select trainees who are ready to begin training to teach.
  • leaders how they are responding to the needs of individuals and groups of trainees. In particular, how they are adapting the training programme or pastoral arrangements for each new cohort of trainees.

Going forward, inspectors are likely to ask ITT providers how they:

  • identify any gaps in prospective trainees’ fundamental English and mathematics skills, which will not be covered in the course content.
  • support trainees admitted to the training programme(s) who have identified gaps.
  • ensure any identified gaps are filled before course completion.

Ofsted will not expect ITT providers to have any particular recruitment and selection process. Ofsted will not expect evidence about recruitment to be presented in any particular manner.

I would like to thank you for your continuing contribution to this work and the wider work of the Department.

Yours sincerely,
Rachel Hope
Deputy Director, Teacher Services

Information about GCSE Equivalency Tests

CCCU has been running GCSE equivalent tests for students who do not meet the requirements for English, maths and science. However, a decision has been made that they will not be offering these tests in the future. In line with most other universities, CCCU will be using a company called Equivalency Testing. It is hoped that they will be able to arrange test dates at the University and we are liaising with them regarding this.  The main difference is that it will be a more expensive option for students, but it will provide them with a transferrable, nationally recognised qualification. Students will also book the tests through Equivalency Testing (link below). They can do this at any time and do not need to wait until they have been made an offer.

Equivalency Testing

Useful Links