School Direct programme expanded to early years from September

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The Government is expanding the School Direct programme, which offers work-based training for graduates, to the early years from this September.


The year-long programme, based on the current School Direct in primary and secondary schools, will be open to graduates, who on completion will get Early Years Teacher Status.

The Department for Education (DfE) was unable to confirm to Nursery World whether graduates on the programme would gain Qualified Teacher Status.

Six 'early years training schools' and Bright Horizons nursery group have been chosen to deliver the first intake of trainees in September 2014. Together, they will offer a total of 54 places. If the scheme is successful, the number of places under the programme will increase in 2015/16.

Nurseries and schools that take part in the programme will be able to decide which accredited training provider to work with and influence the way in which Early Years Initial Teacher Training (ITT) is delivered.

Settings will work to the Early Years ITT and with their training provider to recruit trainees that best meet their needs.

To apply for a place, trainees must meet the entry criteria for the Early Years Teacher (EYT). This means they must hold an undergraduate degree and have a minimum of grade C GCSE in English, maths and science. Trainees must have passed literacy and numeracy professional skills tests.

A DfE spokesperson said, 'School Direct (Early Years) will be introduced to some schools and nurseries in September, giving them the chance to contribute to the way Early Years Teacher Training is delivered.

'We want to test this approach for the training of EYTs, which focuses on children up to the age of five.'


Bright Horizons is one of seven organisations involved in the School Direct (Early Years) programme from September 2014.

The nursery group's director of early years Nicola Amies told Nursery World, 'We will be working with a much respected Early Years Initial Teacher Training provider to market the course, recruit and select graduate trainees ahead of the September start date.'

Ms Amies said that as part of their placement, graduates on the programme will have practice placements in their nurseries and a children's centre, as well as at a local school, in Reception class and Year 1.

She added, 'The programme, which will offer graduate trainees a mix of classroom-based learning and practice placements, really opens up the career opportunities for graduates who can make a difference in leading effective pedagogy in daycare settings. We will be reviewing its impact throughout.'

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