"An outstanding secondary teaching training provider" (ofsted 2016)

The Application Process


Entry Requirements

Entry to the programme is conditional on the following:

  • achievement of at least a 2:2 and preferably a 2:1 honours degree (or recognised equivalent);
  • passes at GCSE in English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above (or recognised equivalent)
  • the information provided on the UCAS Teacher Training application;
  • a medical report which is deemed satisfactory;
  • a completed DBS enhanced disclosure which is deemed satisfactory by the The OAKS;
  • a successful completion of the National College for Teaching and Leadership Professional Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy (these are a pre-entry requirement);
  • a successful completion of a minimum of 10 days teaching experience in a secondary school/college during the last two years. This could be either before or after selection (undertaking this before the selection process commences will strengthen your application).
  • Selection is based on a successful interview. This is normally conducted in a school where you will be interviewed by school-based and The OAKS staff. The interview will also normally include an activity that involves working with learners in a educational setting.


How To Apply

All applications for PGCE/School Direct/School Direct Salaried must be made via an online application through UCAS Teacher Training.

You are advised to apply as early as possible for courses beginning the following autumn as a number of courses fill quickly. Places are allocated by the Department for Education (DfE) to each Initial Teacher Education Provider and these are limited. Successful applicants are invited to Keele and/or a Partnership school, where they will undertake a personal interview.

Applying to our hubs for places via UCAS

Our Partnership is split into Hubs (geographical areas) and these are where are numbers are allocated, these are:

  • Cheshire Hub : Schools in the East Cheshire Region, the provider code on UCAS is 18U and the Lead School is Brine Leas High School
  • Staffordshire Hub : Schools in the Newcastle and surrounding areas, the provider code on UCAS is 1JA and the Lead School is Blackfriars Teaching Alliance.
  • Stafford Hub : Schools in the Stafford area, the provider code on UCAS is 1WB and the Lead School is Sir Graham Balfour School.
  • Stoke Hub : Schools in the Stoke on Trent region and surrounding areas, the provider code is 1UV and the Lead School is Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy

You can also apply directly to The OAKS, our provider code is 24P.

Regardless of which of the above entry routes you apply to, the accredited training provider for each programme is The OAKS and the outcome is the same:

  • Recommendation for QTS awarded by The OAKS
  • PGCE Academic Award awarded by Keele University

Colleagues from our Partnership schools will normally be involved in the interviewing and selection process. Irrespective of whether you are applying for a PGCE conventional programme or via the School Direct route, the final stage of the recruitment and selection process will normally including working with pupils in a classroom setting.

For any candidate who makes an application within five years of graduating, it is a requirement that a reference should be provided by the candidate's university tutor.




All course fees for PGCE and School Direct programmes are charged at £9,000.


Funding for teacher training is available for eligible graduates who are starting their training in 2018/19 academic year on a postgraduate route into the non-salaried PGCE and School Direct programmes.


A Pre-Course Payment of £111.00 is payable prior to the commencement of the course, to cover the cost of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), the Occupational Health Decoration, the Bristol Guide and field trip.


At the beginning of our course you will take part in a two day, one night residential in southern Shropshire.


School Experience

The OAKS ensures that you are well trained to teach in the 11-16 age band (Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4) of secondary schools and academies. However, we will also ensure that you have some post-16 experience too. During the programme, you will be allocated two secondary placements, preferably offering a different type of training experience. You may well be placed in contrasting schools: an inner city or urban setting followed by a rural based school or vice versa; one school may have a sixth form and another just 11-16. We have over 40 secondary schools based in 5 geographical areas: Cheshire, Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent, Birmingham and Shropshire. One of them will be perfect for you!

We feel strongly that to become an expert practitioner in the age group you have selected, you must have a secure knowledge of the type of learning that takes place in the child's previous phase. With this in mind, we also have a one week placement in a partnership primary school where you can experience the teaching of phonics, literacy, and numeracy. In addition, you will gain an understanding of how your own subject specialism begins and what transition and progression arrangements may be put in to place.

At the OAKS you will also gain other vital school or education related experiences. You will:

  • visit a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)
  • spend time in a special school for SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) experience
  • have a MAPP (multi –agency placements) entitlement – e.g. welfare officers, etc
  • explore EAL (English as an additional language) in multi-cultural partnership schools

The OAKS offers a very diverse and exciting spread of experiences which should enable you to gain very valuable experience to take to your first NQT placement school – i.e. your first job! We will keep in touch through this year and offer even more continuing support.


Skills Test

All applicants to ITT training are required to pass the skills tests before starting their course.

The numeracy and literacy skills tests cover the core skills that teachers need to fulfill their professional role in schools, rather than the subject knowledge required for teaching. This is to ensure all teachers are competent in numeracy and literacy, regardless of their specialism. These tests:

  • do not replace the GCSE grade C equivalence entry requirement
  • are set in the context of the professional role of a teacher; all questions use real data and information which teachers are likely to encounter;
  • are computerised and can be taken at any of approximately 150 test centres throughout the UK;

As of 14th February 2018, candidates will have unlimited attempts to achieve a test pass. This means that the previous 2-year lockout period will be removed and candidates previously locked out will be able to book tests for both subjects again.

Furthermore, from 14th February 2018, all candidates will be able to book three tests per subject, free of charge. A charge will be applied from their fourth test attempt per subject.

More information is available online at Alternatively, Tests can be booked through Learndirect's helpline, which is available Monday to Friday on 0300 3039613.