Welcome to Heart TSA!

Watch our film to find out how we #InspireAGeneration:

Our General Primary 5-11 PGCE programme runs September – July, start and finish dates in line with our school term dates.

Initial Teacher Training: School Direct

Co-ordinating and providing high quality school-led initial teacher training (ITT), HEART have been leading school direct PGCE provision, in partnership with University of Cumbria, since September 2014.


Endings are beginnings: At the end of our ITT programme, it has become traditional to reflect upon the year of training, and to produce a silent movie…Will you take up the baton and join our cohort of graduate trainees to inspire a generation…?

Find us by searching BL5 3DU on the gov.uk find a course service – click here…


Considering a career in teaching? We support potential applicants in gaining school level experience, in their application and throughout the process of preparation to begin initial teacher training with Heart. Just email us to register your interest…

Why choose Heart? Our established programme, delivered by Heart TSA system leaders, is enhanced with additional opportunities, such as our visit to the BETT Show, cultural & STEaM experiences led by our SLiCE, focused participation in the ‘Building the Kingdom‘ Level 1 curriculum design programme and visits to successful, innovative settings. As trainees are formed as beginning teachers, they  are supported in finding the right school to grow their gift. Many apply to the Diocese of  Salford NQT primary pool, and are invited to interview in schools across the Diocese – Heart TSA teachers are desirable to our partner schools. Our graduates continue to be supported in their early career development…

How to apply: Full and up to date details of how to apply are found on UCAS Teacher Training.


End of skills tests – 2020 entry

On 16 July 2019, Nick Gibb announced the end of skills tests for entry to initial teacher training.

This decision has been taken following a review of the skills test and after engaging with universities, schools, candidates, teachers and representative bodies which found that these tests do not provide appropriate assurance of the numeracy and literacy skills of trainees.

The skills tests will be replaced with a new system of provider-led assurance. This new approach will see trainees being assured against a set of fundamental mathematics and English skills we would expect them to have by the end of their initial teacher training.

This approach will allow universities and schools to better identify the needs of individual trainees and offer additional support to strengthen these skills where required.

The Standards and Testing Agency will be working with teacher training providers over the coming months to develop guidance on the fundamental mathematics and English skills teachers will need. This guidance will be published before the end of the 2019 entry recruitment cycle. Over the course of the 2020 entry recruitment cycle there will also be an opportunity to refine these, working with ITT providers and representative bodies to iterate and improve them before candidates start their training in 2020.



How is School Direct different from a traditional PGCE?

  • Our School Direct programme follows the same structure as the University of Cumbria based PGCE course.
  • Both require 60 days of training and 120 days of teaching in the classroom.
  • Both cover the same subject and professional development modules.
  • Both result in a universally recognised University of Cumbria PGCE qualification.

There is also an expectation that School Direct places are offered based on the Alliance’s assessment of future employment needs, meaning that should the schools you work at during placement, or their partners, have vacancies, you may be considered for them in the future!


Building Creativity into the Primary Curriculum and Initial Teacher Training

Creativity underpins all our work at Sacred Heart. We strive to educate our young people to understand the world & change it for the better. The arts are at the heart of our school and are woven intrinsically throughout our curriculum.

Over the past year we have been actively involved with many arts organisations on a local, national level and international level, participating in commissioned, action research and bespoke arts projects. Involvement in creative projects is contributing to the gradual change of culture within our school, impacting initially on individual teachers and their pupils to having a whole school impact as well as having demonstrable impact on pupil enjoyment, engagement, achievement and motivation.

Essentially over the past year through our arts projects we have adopted several approaches to transform our school and develop our practice:

  • Action Research to innovate practice, evidence the impact of creative approaches and to share practice.
  • Partnership work across school and through engaging external partners (creative organisations and creative practitioners)
  • Developing pupil voice through Pupil Parliament.
  • Releasing staff for Continuous Professional Development arts sessions – staff have participated in work experience with a variety of arts organisations.

We have formed many partnerships with arts and cultural organisations and have built very strong relationships with them. To further develop the skills and understanding of the arts staff have engaged in a one or two day work experience with a wide variety of arts organisations. This year teachers from each year group have been linked with a cultural partner such as Y1 – Wild in Art, Y2 – Whitworth Art Gallery, Y3 – Manchester Art Gallery, Y4 – Football Museum, Y5 – Octagon Theatre, Y6 – Peoples History Museum.

 “…we should also encourage individual ITT institutions to develop initial training and CPD courses in creative teaching and learning.” (Joubert in Craft et al 2002:.33)

As a provider of Initial Teacher Training we are very privileged to be in a position to inspire and influence future teachers/leaders. This year we have continually strived to cement creativity and the arts into the core of the teacher training programme. We have encouraged new teachers to be creative and use the arts to inspire the young people in their classes. To build the confidence of the trainee teachers we have utilised the many creative partnerships that we have and used their expertise to deliver part of our ITT programme such as the National Football Museum and Peoples History have delivered British Values, Manchester Museum & the National History Museum – Science, Whitworth Art Gallery – Creative Writing. The impact that this has had on the trainees has been huge. The course leader from our partner University commented ‘I work and, have worked, with a number of schools on the schools direct programme but, I wanted to highlight that what you are getting from Sacred Heart is very special. The opportunities that Sacred Heart provide for you are outstanding and, no other schools that I work with provide anything that measures up to this.’





Our HEART teachers become part of a network where Continuing Professional Development & Formation matters.

High quality training is school-focused, and challenges entrants to the teaching profession to develop a personal pedagogy which reinforces high academic standards, lifelong learning, enjoyment, resilience and creativity…

We currently offer the Primary PGCE, and have plans, working with our partner schools, to offer Secondary courses from 2021.

Applications can be made through UCAS Teacher Training.  Pre-application visits to the school are welcome…



Reference statements to support job applications

When you are applying for jobs, you should put down the following details for your School Direct PGCE reference.

Dr Mike Toyn, Primary PGCE School Direct Programme Leader,
c/o Programme Administration
University of Cumbria
Bowerham Road
KAPLancaster@cumbria.ac.uk (for reference purposes only)

Your reference will be written by your UPL but will come with Mike’s name on it. There is no need to ask permission to use UoC as a referee.

Good luck with your applications!

Personal Tutor

As detailed in your programme handbook, all students are allocated a Personal Tutor when they start their programme. For School Direct students, you main points of contact are your Partnership Programme Lead (PPL) – Bernie Furey & Chris Brannan) – who is the person who leads the programme within your alliance. They will be supported in this by the University Programme Lead (UPL) – Paul Johnson – who you will get to know through the teaching of the M level modules.

Regular, planned contact is the responsibility of both students and staff.

The role of the personal tutor encompasses:

  • academic monitoring and advice;
  • support for personal development planning;
  • non-academic guidance and personal support;
  • communication with other programme staff concerning the student experience of the programme.

Please feel free to request an individual tutorial time at any point.


Course Reps

The Students’ Union runs the Student Academic Representative system, which is in place across all courses and campuses of The University of Cumbria (including Heart). At the beginning of each year, each year group on each course elects from amongst their number one or more Reps to be a point of contact between their course leaders and the Union, and we train and support these students in this voluntary role. Principally the Reps collect feedback from their course-mates on the quality of their modules or program and attend regular meetings with their tutors to raise concerns or highlight areas of excellence, however they also work with the Union in passing on concerns for our attention, distributing relevant messages and generally being a ground-level point of contact.

You will have a course rep (or course reps) within your alliance. They will take part in at least two course rep meetings with the PPL and UPL to discuss the course and provide feedback. 

PGCE 2020-2021 admissions

Programme Handbook

You will receive a copy of the programme handbook from your alliance which is specific to the Heart alliance whilst based on the model framework from University of Cumbria.

Click the image above to go directly to our application page…