School Direct

​Gillingham School is committed to transforming the lives of young people through a persistent focus on successful learning and outstanding teaching. Our distinctive ethos enables our students to flourish and become independent and resilient young people. To find out more about us, please explore the website and view our prospectus.

We are looking for exceptional candidates to join us as part of the School Direct Programme. To join us at Gillingham, you will need a passion for your subject grounded in academic achievement, as well as being dedicated to working with young people in order to transform their lives through education.

Gillingham School is part of the North Dorset Partnership comprised of The Gryphon School, Gillingham School, Shaftesbury School and Sturminster Newton High School. The Partnership works in conjunction with the Mid-Somerset Consortium (MSC) to train suitable candidates for the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). The MSC ITT programme is classed as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Most of our placements use the ‘fee paying’ route. Trainees pay tuition fees of £9,000, although some trainees may be entitled to a bursary (dependent on subject and degree class). In exceptional circumstances, there may be the opportunity for trainees to follow the salaries option and any trainee who wishes to discuss this is asked to contact the individual school directly.

What is School Direct?

School Direct is a school based route into teaching offered by Gillingham School leading to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). At Gillingham School, in partnership with the Mid-Somerset Consortium (MSC), we recruit and select our own trainees in identified subjects. 

Trainees will work alongside our experienced staff and spend a greater proportion of their time in the classroom and in school. Gillingham School has previously worked with a number of providers, including Bath Spa University, and the MSC and has considerable expertise in training teachers. All candidates will follow the full PGCE course offered by the Mid-Somerset Consortium.

The Selection Criteria

  • You must have a first or second class UK University degree
  •  You must have at least a grade C in GCSE English and Mathematics
  • You must have passed all the appropriate skills tests
  •  You will be able to demonstrate a desire to work with secondary aged students
  • You will have a commitment to the highest quality of education for all

The Selection Process

Potential trainees will be advised to:

  • Spend time at their chosen school prior to interview
  • Complete a school specific application form in addition to the School Direct form

Potential trainees who are selected for interview will be informed in writing and given a date for interview. The interview process will include:

  •  Peer teaching – potential trainees are asked to teach something of their choice to the other trainees and the Selection Panel. “Lesson” to be 10 minutes long
  • A meeting with the department – a subject specific group exercise where the potential trainees meet the HoD, the mentor and 1 or 2 other members of the department to assess suitability to work with the department via a subject based discussion
  • Leading a discussion with a small group of students - potential trainees are asked to lead a subject related discussion with a group of Y12/Y13 students on a subject related topic/issue. The topic will be provided in advance to the candidates
  • Student panel – potential trainees will be interviewed by a panel of students
  • Generic lesson observation (1/2 lesson)
  • An observation of a lesson (outside of the applicant’s specialism) in conjunction with a member of the Selection Panel. A discussion of the lesson will be part of the final interview
  • Formal interview - panel interview with members of the Selection Panel (and if available a member of the appropriate HEI) 

How do we decide which trainees should be placed with which schools?

If more than one school within a partnership is offering a subject training place, candidates will be required to express a preference at the point of application. If their first preference cannot be met they can be offered an alternative place within the partnership.

For more information on School Direct, please visit:

School Direct

For more information about initial teacher education at the University of Exeter visit:

University of Exeter

For an informal chat by phone or in person, please contact:

​The Gryphon
Tim Ovenden
01935 810107
​Gillingham School
Sarah Turnbull
01747 822222
​Shaftesbury School
Shelly Coombes
01747 854498
David Harris
01258 472642