Why Train With Us?

At Brays Teaching School and Specialist Teaching Alliance (BTSSA) we want to help those who are passionate about teaching children who have SEND to train and develop as teachers.

Our alliance has a unique range of special schools across Birmingham, many of whom are rated by Ofsted as Outstanding, that between them educate children with all types of SEND.

Our ITT programme has run for the last 4 years with a 96% completion and pass rate and 95% of those who did so are currently teaching in special schools.

Our student teachers rate the quality of tutorial support they receive very highly.

Our Primary Schools Direct PGCE Programme with QTS is delivered jointly with Wolverhampton University at their Walsall campus and combines mainstream and SEND pedagogy.

Overview of the Training

To achieve your qualification, you will need to show that you have taught successfully, both in SEND settings and across Key Stages 1 and 2 in mainstream Primary schools. To enable this, the course includes two mainstream and two placements that will give you experience of teaching children with different types of SEND.

In addition, you will undergo at least four days of specific SEND training delivered by experienced practitioners from outstanding SEND settings and four immersion days in Secondary or Early Years SEND settings. These together with your four placements and an additional optional placement, make up 120 days in schools and educational settings.

Your placements will be supported by your pastoral tutor who will visit you in the first few days, your mentor in school and university based tutors so that you gain the best from your training.

During your course you will spend some time at the University of Wolverhampton (Walsall campus) following a PGCE programme with Qualified Teacher status (QTS) whilst also working towards 60 Masters Level credits as part of the taught programme. You will receive quality training from experienced university tutors across the subjects of the National Curriculum as well as associated pedagogical and philosophical input to enhance your understanding of teaching and learning. In order to gain further information into the taught element of the course and the facilities offered by the university, please visit a university Open Day at Walsall campus.

Course graduates are encouraged to continue their professional development with our Alliance throughout their career, by accessing our programmes for newly qualified teachers, middle leaders and aspiring Head teachers. Already we are seeing some of our ITT graduates joining our middle leaders programme.

Entry Requirements

Applicants to the BTSSA School Direct route into teaching must satisfy a number of requirements including the following:

A relevant degree (a NC subject or related pedagogical areas) at either 2:2 or above.

Considerable recent and relevant school experience that includes working with children who have SEND

GCSE grade C/5 or above (or equivalent) in maths, a science and English

You must pass the QTS skills tests in Maths & English before starting the course, The University of Wolverhampton offers support sessions for these.

You must show evidence of either passing or booking the QTS skills tests at interview


There are no bursaries for 2019-20 to which applicants to our programme would be eligible.

Fees for this programme are currently £9,250 and applicants are able to apply for a student loan for these and for maintenance.

Teachers in special schools currently have a starting salary of around £25,800 including SEN allowance. Our high pass, employment and retention rates suggest that those who train with us will be in a strong position to repay their student loans.

How to Apply

You must apply through UCAS Teacher Training using the “Apply” system (www.ucas.com/apply/teacher-training) Here, you will register your details then choose where and how you would like to study.

The application window normally opens in October.

Applicants will be selected for interview by members of BTSSA and university based tutors.

Recruitment Process

You will be asked to attend one of the alliance schools for a selection process. This will include;

an interview - exploring your motivation and understanding of the role of a teacher

supporting a small group within a lesson where your interaction with children and staff can be observed

a skills audit which will provide us with some information about your existing strengths in terms of academic writing as well as indicate any areas where you need to develop your knowledge and understanding.

You must bring with you copies of your GCSE maths, English and science (grade C/5+) or equivalent certificates, degree certificate (if you have already passed the award), proof of either passing or having booked your QTS skills tests in English and maths and any other relevant qualifications to support your application. You must also bring one proof photographic ID – passport, driving licence etc. and proof of your current address such as a bank statement or utility bill. We will be unable to continue with your interview without these documents.

You can expect to know the outcome of the interview within 10 working days and you are advised to monitor your UCAS Track for a decision on your application.

Contact us

If you would like more information on our programme or you want to gain more experience in a special school setting please contact our teaching school tutor Ann Whitehouse by email: a.whitehouse@fet.ac

Contact Us

For any queries regarding the School Direct Programme with the University of Wolverhampton and Brays Teaching School and Specialist Alliance, please contact us at any of the following:

Brays Teaching School
Brays Rd
B26 1NS

Tel: 0121 742 6069
Fax: 0121 742 1567