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

The Application Process


Entry Requirements

Pre-requisite to application is conditional on the following:

  • achievement of at least a 2:2 and preferably a 2:1 honours degree (or recognised equivalent) ideally related to the subject that you wish to teach;
  • passes at GCSE in English Language and Mathematics at grade C/4 or above (or recognised equivalent);
  • the information provided on the UCAS Teacher Training application;

Successful applicants will also have the following conditions:

  • 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 OAKS internal tests in Literacy and Numeracy
  • 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 an educational setting.


How To Apply

All applications for PGCE/School Direct/School Direct Salaried must be made via an online application through the DfE or UCAS ITT. For our Assessment Only route, please use our contact us page.

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. Usually successful applicants are invited to Keele and/or a Partnership School, where they will undertake a personal interview.


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 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.
  • Birmingham and Black Country Hub: Schools in the Birmingham region, the provider code is 9J3 and the Lead School is Fairfax Academy in Sutton Coldfield.
  • Norfolk Hub: Schools in the Norfolk region, the provider code is 4T7 and the lead school is Ormiston Venture Academy in Great Yarmouth.

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 which is 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 £9,250.


There are bursaries available for eligible graduates who are starting their training on a postgraduate route into the non-salaried PGCE and School Direct programmes. Please visit here.


A Pre-Course Payment of £115.00 (2020/21 cost) is payable prior to the commencement of the course, to cover the cost of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), the Occupational Health Declaration, the Bristol Guide and the residential/out of school activity.


Normally at the beginning of our course you will take part in a two day, one night residential.


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 60 secondary schools based in 6 geographical areas: Cheshire, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham & Black Country, Norfolk 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 may:

  • 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 range of experiences which should enable you to gain valuable experiences 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.

All applicants to Initial Teacher Training must demonstrate secure knowledge and skills in literacy and numeracy. From October 2019, the online Professional Skills Tests have been withdrawn by the DfE and the responsibility for assessing an applicant’s literacy and numeracy skills now rests with the teacher training provider.


Skills Test

All applicants to Initial Teacher Training must demonstrate secure knowledge and skills in literacy and numeracy. From October 2019, the online Professional Skills Tests have been withdrawn by the DfE and the responsibility for assessing an applicant’s literacy and numeracy skills now rests with the teacher training provider.

Following a conditional offer being made, candidates will be required to sit paper-based tests to assess their literacy and numeracy skills. These tests may take place at a partnership school or at The OAKS at Keele University. Each test will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

A candidate will have up to 3 attempts to secure a successful pass in these tests. If you require additional time or any other adjustments due to an educational or physical need, please let our staff know so that this can be arranged for you.