School Direct Placements

As part of the training year, School Direct trainees complete 3 school based experiences.

Second school experience

A minimum 20-day block placement undertaken in term 3.  Trainees and their base school begin to arrange the placement during term 2.  EKLA recommends the second school experience extends across the whole of term 3.

This placement will take place in a different school setting and provide a contrasting experience to the base school.  Trainees will be given a timetable for the placement and are required to plan, teach and assess during the placement.

Adjacent age range experience

Every trainee should have a teaching experience across their training age ranges/key stages.  The adjacent age range experience is the arrangement to make sure this requirement is met.

Primary Trainees

This experience can take place in the base school or during the second school experience. It is important that this is the equivalent of 15 days with at least 10 in a block, if undertaken in the base school. Trainees need to evidence that they meet the standards in first and second age phase/key stage.

Secondary Trainees

Trainees must evidence that they have taught and are evidencing CCCU Key Spotlight Questions across the age phase they are training. By the end of the training year timetables should include teaching a range of lessons across at least two key stages i.e. Key Stages 3 and 4. For those completing the PGCE top up, it is recommended that timetables include a range of lessons across all three key stages by the end of the training.

Trainees in both Primary and Secondary must be observed in both age phases / key stages.

Prior and post age phase experience

A minimum of 5 days which does not need to be taken in a block.

The purpose of the visit is for trainees to gain experience in the key stages both before and after the age range in which they are training in.  For example, primary trainees may spend time in a secondary school and in early years; secondary trainees might spend time in a primary school and an FE college. This experience can be driven by the trainee and mentor following discussion on development needs. It could be undertaken over a number of days, and involve a range of settings.  Trainees are not expected to teach but may have the opportunity to do so.  EKLA recommends that the five days are completed before the end of term 2.

Additional experience

The Second School Experience, adjacent age range experience and prior and post age phase experience are all mandatory parts of the School Direct course. Trainees can however, also spend further time in other relevant settings such as a day in a SEND school or time in a residential setting as part of a school trip. Whilst such additional experiences are not compulsory, they can and do enhance the training experience.


Trainees and their mentors often have ideas of potential schools for the various placements that are completed over the training year and can contact them directly to arrange a placement.

The base school Professional Mentor should organise the placement for Second School Experience (SSE) in conjunction with the trainee and the placement school Professional Mentor. Ideally it will be arranged by schools amongst themselves, and this might be through clusters that schools already belong to. Indeed, EKLA schools often accommodate each other’s trainees. This placement must be arranged well in advance and certainly before the end of Term 2 as trainees will carry out a preliminary visit to the placement school in December.

CCCU tutors may be able to support the facilitation of the Second School Experience, but only once other avenues have been explored. 


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