Department of Education

Applying

Apply for a Sussex PGCE or School Direct courses via UCAS Teacher Training.

Entry requirements

In order to qualify for an Initial Teacher Education (ITE) course within our partnership, you must:

  • be a graduate of an approved institution of Higher Education or validating body from a course that is recognised as being equivalent to at least an undergraduate honours degree
  • have passed GCSE (or equivalent) English and Mathematics (and Science for Primary courses) at grade C or above
  • have undertaken a minimum of 10 days' school experience

If your equivalent qualifications are from an institution overseas, you must apply for a Certificate of Comparability from NARIC (this is NOT the same as a Statement of Comparability).

School experience

For details of schools offering placements per sebject, see the PGCE & School Direct Place List: 2018/19 [PDF 1016.19KB].

Due to the highly competitive nature of our courses, relevant school-based observation is highly recommended. The partnership expects you to have undertaken a minimum of two days' observation prior to interview, and a further eight days before the course begins. Those offered a place on the School Direct - Salaried course usually have significant school experience. You may find the Government's School Experience Programme (SEP) useful in helping you to gain some experience, depending on your subject specialism.

If you are offered a place on an ITE course, you must pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, as well as a mental and physical fitness check, before you start teaching. A charge is applicable to both for PGCE and School Direct (tuition fee). Those applying for a place on the School Direct - Salaried course, the school to which you are assigned will arrange these checks for you.

QTS Skills Tests

All those applying for a place on an ITE courses must have passed the QTS Skills Test in Literacy and Numeracy before commencing training. When you take the test, you will need to provide proof that you have applied for a teacher training course. You will have three opportunities to pass the tests. If you fail all three times you will not be able to re-apply for a teacher training course for a period of two years.

More information about QTS Skills Tests, including how to register and practice for tests, can be found on the Department for Education's website. Those with disabilities may be interested in the special arrangements that can be made for skills tests.

As a partnership, we prefer that you pass the QTS Skills Tests prior to attending your interview. Otherwise, you can only receive a conditional offer on the basis that you will pass these tests by 1st August of the year of entry. For instance, you must have passed the tests by 1 August 2016 if you wish to start an ITS course in September 2016.

Application and selection

Stage 1: Finding and applying for the right course

ITE course applications are submitted to, and processed by, UCAS Teacher Training to whom you can apply online from 26 October 2017. The portal will remain open until places on all courses are filled.
NOTE: UCAS charges an application fee of £19.00.

Use the UCAS search facility to find PGCE and School Direct places in your preferred location. The University of Sussex should be identified as your named provider. For School Direct, you must also identify your Lead School.

When you apply, you must provide details of two referees who support your application to train to be a teacher. If you are still at college/university, your principal referee should be able to give you an academic reference. If you graduated less than five years ago, your principal referee could be a tutor or lecturer who can comment on your academic achievements as well as your personal qualities. If you finished your studies more than five years ago, your principal referee should be a responsible person who knows you well enough professionally to write with authority about you - such as an employer. If you are working in a school, your headteacher or line manager may act as your referee. Second referees could be employers, personnel from the voluntary sector or an organisation for which you have worked.

Stage 2: Initial screening

Applications for all teacher training routes will be screened by the university and by school tutors and assessed against the entry criteria. If your application is successful, you will be invited to attend a Selection Day. If, after initial screening, it is found that your application does not meet the entry requirements, the university will notify UCAS. Being rejected will not affect your ability to apply for a place with us at a later date.

Stage 3: Selection Day and interview

Places on PGCE and School Direct courses will only be offered following a successful interview. Interviews serve not only as a selection device, but also as an opportunity for questions and further explanation. The venue for interviews varies depending on the route, phase and subject you have applied for and may take place at one of our partnership schools or on the university campus. Regardless of the venue, the criteria by which you are selected and the process followed is standardised for all.

At a Selection Day you will:

  • be given course information
  • have identity and qualification checks
  • be given written tasks
  • have an individual interview
  • deliver a short, pre-prepared presentation (you will have received information regarding this in your Selection Day invitation)

Schools selecting School Direct trainees will require you to prepare and lead a short teaching activity with a group of pupils which will be observed by a member of the selection panel.

For a Selection Day you should bring:

  • a form of photographic identification - usually a driver's licence or passport
  • original academic qualification certificates (GCSEs plus any further or higher education qualifications) 
    NOTE: If your qualifications are from overseas, you must also bring your original NARIC Certificate/s of Comparability with photocopies of all other relevant documentation (Statements of Comparability are not acceptable)
  • original QTS Skills Test/s pass letters if relevant

You are being interviewed as a prospective teacher so there are several criteria you must be assessed against, including provision of the requisite documentation, punctuality and professional appearance.

It is very important that you disclose all information regarding any disabilities detailed on your UCAS application form in order to receive the relevant support - not only at the Selection Day and interview, but throughout the duration of your teacher training. This information is not considered when applications are reviewed.

The Department of Education at the University of Sussex does not discriminate against applicants with disabilities.

Regrettably, we are unable to reimburse you for any travel or other expenses incurred in attending a Selection Day.

Stage 4: The offer

You will receive notification of our decision shortly after your Selection Day. If you are successful at securing a place on a teacher training course run by the University of Sussex, we will notify UCAS and write to you offering a conditional or an unconditional place on the course you applied for. If you place is conditional, the letter will include details of the conditions that must be met prior to the start date of your course. The letter will also include advice on applying for enhanced DBS disclosure.

You have 10 days from receiving your letter to accept the offered place. You cannot accept an offer from more than one institution. If you do not contact us to accept your offer within this timeframe, UCAS will withdraw your place.

If you are unsuccessful following interview, you will receive a letter from us advising you of our decision and giving you feedback on your performance. Being rejected does not affect your ability to apply for another place on a course at the University of Sussex at a later date.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees are paid to the University of Sussex and cover the cost of teaching as well as the use of university and school resources. Further information on tuition fee levels is available online.

It is your responsibility to check your eligibility for funding, grants or other financial awards. See PGCE & School Direct Funding: 2018/19 [PDF 182.71KB] for information on bursaries, financial incentives and other sources of funding. The University cannot be held responsible for any funding problems you may encounter, so you must have a sound financial plan in place before commencing your studies.

If you are an international student, you will have to pay your own tuition fees or find a sponsor to pay them for you. An international student is defined as a student who is not a citizen of the EEA.

For most Initial Teacher Education courses, some 'home'/EU trainee teachers will be able to draw on a tax-free non-repayable training bursary of up to £25,000 - the amount will depend on your degree classification and subject/phase specialism. Additionally, scholarships of £25,000 are offered to graduates of Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Computing by various professional bodies.

If you are a British or EEA citizen and are eligible for government-funded tuition, you may also be eligible for a Department for Education training bursary. See Funding for postgraduate teacher training on the Department for Education's website for further information.