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School Direct (salaried) a scam?

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Sefton1, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. I couldn't agree more about the 'rubbish and rubbisher' comment. I have lost out on one SD UCAS choice, a day before interview, because the funding vanished.

    My second interview saw me lose out to a TA. (I think TAs are amazing but why does SD claim they want industry types, only to waste our time?!)

    The UCAS choice which withdrew due to lack of funding was the most annoying. I am not allowed to replace the choice with another according to UCAS. I can't reapply and all that remains is a interview with my third choice; a PGCE at a uni which was my back up plan. If they offer me a place, I can hardly turn it down just to try SD's house of mirrors again. If SD schools are only really after TAs they've already hired and other 'places' can vanish overnight, I can't turn down a true offer of training at a university.

    I have a first degree in English and ten years' journalism experience. The government might claim SD was designed to entice people like me in, but that's not how it works in practice.
  2. ^ the SAME happened to me. I'm taking my back-up uni place now.

    In the end, I think it's not that bad. You get all the same funding as for SD and a lot more support than SD salaried. I heard from a friend who is currently training on SD that it's frustratingly disorganised and that she wished she'd gone for the straight PGCE..

    Plus, with the PGCE you get an internationally recognised academic qualfication and (ususally) MA credits.
  3. That's just how I feel. If the SD interview process is this crazy then the scheme as a whole will likely be the same unstructured mess. Too many teething issues with UCAS - the system is designed for steadfast courses at traditional uni's - not for random jobs which may or not exist. Also the funding behind places is clearly too scattergun to be considered a safe bet.
  4. Indie-g: I came through the other side of the "house of mirrors" last year with an unsalaried offer, deciding to apply this year for salaried. With UCAS involved, it was a fiasco (more so than last year) but the positive is the I have an offer of a salaried place with a nearby academy chain. At this point in time, I believe my persistence was worth it. And the lessons learnt from my first attempt at application were invaluable I believe in securing the place I wanted in my second attempt.
  5. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    This is normal.

    The people who run SD are paid to run SD. They don't really care who they get in as long as they meet their quota and there are people within government and within the agencies who'd like to see "industry types" in schools.

    But schools don't value industrial experience. They value people who will put on a proper show for Ofsted and who'll keep a lid on behaviour in the classroom without bothering the management.

    Years of experience in precisely the sort of thing the kids would dream of doing counts for nothing. (TBH, it counts for nothing with the kids either.)

    Young, newly qualified teachers are the ideal. They normally have a lot of energy (as they tend not to have a family or other commitments) and, more importantly, because they have little experience of the world of work, they will not "kick back" when they see the latest wonder-fad way to tick Ofsted's boxes means that, yet again, the Emperor has opted for a poor choice of tailor.
  6. I think people are jumping into wrong and unfair conclusions based on their negative experience that are not representative of every school.

    Everyone seems to be pretty much blaming TA's/LSA's for not getting places which is untrue.

    Yes of course someone who has worked in a school for two or three years has more relevant experience and knows the demand of the job, like any other job you apply for, relevant experience MUST count. Someone who has always been committed to education has, in my opinion proven that they have insight into how children learn, demands... But despite all of this you should all know that TA's have to go through the same transparent application process as anyone else and if anything you have to prove yourself even more because you will be expected to really know your stuff as opposed to someone from another industry that can do with just showing potential. Working wit children is an amazing but tough task and not eveyone is cut out for it.

    I have worked as a Learning support assistant for over 2 years and yes got loads of valuable experience. I had to apply, be shortlisted, teach a lesson, interview.... And it was really hard and stressful, and I was not the only TA applying. I got a salaried place for my first choice thankfully. I also got invited to interview with 2 other school groups but I didn't attend as I already had a place which I was happy with. I know of more than one person who did not get a place despite working in the lead school for years. If they felt that there were candidates that suited the position better, they chose them. In an outstanding school decisions are made based on the children's best interest. They want to recruit people who they think will suit their style, standards, expectations... No good school would employ someone on the basis of "who you know" and risk their reputation with a lousy candidate.

    Overall applying SDS is a competitive process and it is not just about how good we are but also how good the other candidates are. I know of great candidates with school experience that did not get the place so it is not fair to blame TA's for lack of places...

    There is also the case of people who applied, got it and then abandoned the course half eay through because they could not cope with the demand, they were not expecting it to be that difficult.

    There are so many other jobs, training places which are so unfairly competitive not just SD.

    Also every school is different, i would suggest applying outstanding schools who really know their stuff.

    Good luck everyone
  7. I don't think anyone is 'blaming' TA's for not getting places as that would be ridiculous. It would clearly be madness not to use and develop the valuable experience of TA's in schools.

    It is the system of judging both non educational and educational experience in the exact same scheme that is crackers. Schools who want to develop their TA's should get the same funding to do just that without needlessly wasting anyone else's time interviewing people they don't want. Likewise schools who want someone with an industry background should be able to advertise for just that. It's clearly counter productive to force schools to make the application an open process when they probably already know what they want.

    It's like comparing apples and oranges. Or interviewing NQTs alongside teachers of twenty years experience.
  8. prettynail, what on earth is wrong with having a strong personality and being exuberant. I have done a pgce at the IOE in FE. There are no jobs , so I saw a vacancy for salaried in my subject local (i have a family) so I did all the app, I phoned the school to check that they would consider me with a pgce already and a rude women said she did not realise it was showing vacancies as they had asked ucas to close it. I had spent 3 days phoning the school being told one teacher , a man, dealt with it , The school seemed quite shambolic, no one had called me back or responded to messages. The women I spoke to said they had more than enough applicants and I asked the women could she not just wait as my app was more or less ready to go it. They closed it. I can't move around the country as I have teens and I am in my mid 50s. I don't have years to wait. I also think there is ageism. I am applying for jobs in schools with 6th forms, but have heard nothing. It takes a day to do an application and I am getting fed up. I am applying now for academies with 6th forms.
  9. yogapookey

    yogapookey New commenter

    I too asked the SD co-ordinator, of the school I have worked at for seven years, how I could make my application better. I have a 2.1 in English Lit and a qualification to teach pupils with dyslexia as well as a twenty year career in banking. I applied for salaried place to teach secondary English and was unsuccessful. Apparently a good candidate in this case had all or some of the following qualities:

    Didn't need to do it for the money. One applicant stated he sold his business so he was 'loaded' so must be really keen on teaching.

    Working for the SD co-ordinator in his department or as one of the cover supervisors he manages. Means you are known to him and therefore you stand a better chance of being successful.

    One successful candidate made the grade because 'she'd worked for my mate up the road'.

    This AH made no attempt to talk to my line manager about me despite working 50 metres away and her being a fellow AH.

    Can't believe I'm still applying to join a profession that can be so unprofessional.

    Btw, the 'loaded' candidate finished his NQT year and went to work as a primary TA.
  10. I start my training year in September and am super lucky to have a) a male head to whom I can relate b) a head who came to teaching from industry about 10 years ago. It can't be a coincidence that the support staff are generally polite and professional.

    In at least 2 schools of which I have experience, support staff and sometimes SLT had similar attitudes to the disrespectful and arrogant ones described above.

    Education does not have the same imperatives as commercial businesses. The 'managers' also rarely have experience of the real world. Thus outsiders are seldom treated in the way a customer of a business can expect to be treated. With competition for school places continuing to rise for the foreseeable future, there will be little pressure for change. I would say, however, that academies often invest in a good 'front of house' experience and I do prefer their culture to that of grant-maintained schools.

    Bottom line: expect to be treated as a bad smell when dealing with schools and consider it a pleasant surprise when they show you the respect you feel you deserve! If you can't handle that, maybe look outside the education sector.
  11. prettynails84

    prettynails84 New commenter

    Hello again,

    I first posted on this forum in January and it is now June. I wanted to update you all on my experiences so far and this is the first opportunity I have had after my exam, QTS tests and yes, more interviews to just sit down and write. I write this on my holiday abroad, so as you can see - it's been very busy.

    I finally got a School Direct Salaried place at an 'outstanding' secondary school, but it wasn't easy.... looking at my last post I got this far...

    "Now I must wait on my third choice which has until February to ?time out? before I?m stuck with ?one at a time? applications. By then who knows which schools will even have an SDS place available. I asked Essex ITT who reckoned there were fewer SDS places available for 2014-15 entry."

    This is where it gets interesting. So I waited on the consortium for school choice no.3 thinking they would not be interested as they took their time. They eventually responded to me and called me to interview - after grilling me on the phone about a 'condition' on my form. I was quite excited at the prospect of actually getting a teacher training place. So my assessment took the best part of a day to do and a week to prepare for. I had to teach a lesson, give a Powerpoint presentation on a topical issue affecting my taught subject, undertake a literacy test (as I hadn't sat my QTS by that point- I was so busy working and studying my degree I struggled to find the time to do it by then), have a panel interview, meet my department and HoD and get a tour of the school. I was impressed by their rigorous process and worked really hard for this, leaving around 2pm only to get a call at 5 to say I had been successful. They even said they were looking into me doing masters credits alongside the teacher training course....so it looked like I was to accept that 3rd offer via UCAS. It looked good.

    Now I should probably tell you that just before I had this interview I had been in talks with another 'Outstanding' school whom I liked, but whose lead school had lost their 'good' status, meaning they no longer had places for trainees - maybe SCITT, but not SD/ SDS at this time. Nevertheless I really liked this school, but could not apply to them using UCAS because they had no SDS/ SD places. So I had been in on/off talks with them for several months, before writing to them with my CV. A few phone calls later and I got an interview - on the proviso that if I was 'accepted' I must then submit my application to them via UCAS so we could engage in the formal process. I liked this school as they saw the limitations of the current system and didn't waste my time. They said if they liked me they could get a SD/ SDS (we weren't sure which by this time) place via another school. Confused yet? I was, as I thought what you applied for on UCAS was what was actually there, but apparently not, as schools can negotiate with each other over places.

    So after my interview at choice no.3 I attend an interview at this other school (who were not in my UCAS selections at this time). Obviously at this point I am thinking of accepting choice no.3 (a bird in the hand and all that), but attend the other school to see if it is as good as it looks. This school is amazing and I feel quite gutted I have a 'firm' offer through UCAS from choice no.3. Nevertheless I interview and return home. The weekend passes and we buy a new car for my spouse as they commute a long way to work so need one. After all we know I'll have a salaried job as I have a firm offer through UCAS and over a week to accept. Sunday evening comes and I get an email from the consortium for choice no.3 REVOKING MY OFFER. Why you ask? They have a 'staffing' issue and so the place is untenable now and ask me whether I have any other offers lined up and caution me to contemplate my options. I am distraught by this point and feel like a rug has been pulled from under my feet. My partner assures me we will be financially stable nonetheless, but that's not the point is it....!

    Monday arrives and I hear from the consortium of choice no.3 again - I ask them "What happened?"

    "There was a staffing issue and it would now be untenable for you to train there."

    "Wow that was quick - how on earth can that happen in just a few days?" I ask.

    "Oh we were aware they may be an issue with staffing but we wanted to interview you anyway to see if you would be suitable".

    I am astounded by this. A bad faith interview,.... wasting my time, much? So I am told I must re-interview at another school if I am to accept this offer (by which point they've already tried to decline via UCAS but find legally they cannot do so)...I ask where I must re-interview, they do not know and it becomes a mad scramble to find a school willing and able to take (and pay) a SDS candidate....

    Meanwhile choice no.4 also comes through with an offer....yet I feel I must wait for the consortium of choice no.3 to find a school whilst I also 'accept' their offer through UCAS which I am entitled to do and which 'forces' their hand a little. The mad scramble continues and a few days pass and I am unsettled. Then I find the consortium of choice no.3 wish me to interview at a school which 'requires improvement', whereas my offer school was 'good'. This is not heartening to hear at all and I tell choice no.4 my predicament....

    Long story short I decline choice no.3 and take choice no.4 who offered me a place with them (an 'oustanding' school) using the place of another school who did not need it (there are quotas of SDS/SD places per county, per subject). I'd like to be able to tell you the consortium for choice no.3 are obscure or unheard of, or are unsuccessful - yet they are one of the 'best' in their field. This made the whole stressful scenario harder to stomach. I'm sure I won't be the last person to suffer in this way and there was very little I could do about it - being one little person trying to get into a profession against a big, respected consortium.

    However, I do have a place with a school I trust - the only one who saw through the silly UCAS system and considered me on my merits. I am very relieved! I went on to pass my QTS tests, finish my degree and only need a 2.2 to get onto this teaching course. Having worked out my scores, I should get a 2.1 minimum so it is all looking good. I can say the process was incredibly stressful though and I am on holiday now, exhausted, using the hotel wi-fi to update. To those still struggling don't give up. You just might find, that like me, it takes many months and much stress to get to where you want to go, but it was worth it in the end :)
  12. kscience

    kscience New commenter

    Moving goal posts, lack of transparency, rules keep changing....

    Welcome to the wonderful world of education

    Congratulations on finding a school. I am an experienced teacher and am in no way surprised at how you have been treated ..........like a teacher. But you have shown exactly the fortitude required to deal with working with school management
  13. Hi all,

    Reading this thread has been an eye opener, and has confirmed some of the thoughts I'd already had having witnessed a school I've worked in line up a long serving TA for an SDS place in this way (not saying it wasn't deserved at all but it wasn't worth the other candidates turning up).

    I'm 28, I have a degree (2.1), a Masters and 8 years work experience in public health, 4 of which have been in primary schools delivering year long programmes to KS2. Like most people in this thread, I'm really not able to take a year out of paid work and pay University fees again to train, so the Schools Direct (salaried) route is obviously most appealing. However, having read the previous messages I am beginning to think I might be being a bit optimistic in thinking I have a chance...

    I understand different areas/schools seem to differ widely in their approach and was really looking for people's opinions on whether to apply via UCAS next year or if I'd be better off talking to the schools I currently work in to try and find out whether they'd be interested in taking on an SDS trainee in the near future?

    I'm finding the whole thing quite difficult to navigate- not sure whether UCAS is the only central site to find out which schools are offering SDS places? I'm willing to move anywhere (within reason!) in order to train so am very open to locations, but having a foot in the door unfortunately seems to have more sway...

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
  14. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I run a SD programme for a teaching school alliance, and we normally only offer SD places. We have one SDS place - the trainee was known to the school she is placed in and they are paying her salary and our fees.

    If you have contacts, use them. If a school know you and is willing to take the risk of offering SDS and linking up with an alliance to do so, then you're on a winner.

    I don't think SDS is a scam - the reason we don't offer it normally is simple. We don't have the money to pay a salary to someone on the off chance that they might be an excellent teacher in a year from now. There is strong competition for the SD places that we do offer, so we don't need to offer SDS.
  15. I interviewed for a PGCE place and two weeks later had an identical interview (exact same questions, exact same maths test, exact same 5 minute presentation) for an SDS place - both through the same university. I scored 22 less marks out of 66 in the SDS interview compared to the PGCE interview. There was only one other candidate for the position at the SDS interview and it was the only interview date, so I would hardly call it competitive. I made a complaint to the university asking why identical maths scores and pre-interview applications were marked differently and if this was due to SDS marking critically due to competitiveness. They were more worried about defending the institution than investigating the complaint and stated that SDS do not score assessments more critically (32% difference was justified), stating they regularly train interviewers how to score interviews and alleging that their process is ?transparent and consistent?. I appealed the decision and the head of admissions agreed that my complaint was not justified, even stating a false fact about the interview in her response letter (which just shows she probably didn?t even look at the issue). I now have to decide whether I want to take up the offer of a PGCE at this University, but I?m not sure I want to work in an institution that doesn?t promote integrity.
  16. Malaguena

    Malaguena New commenter

    Having done a PGCE years ago when that was pretty much the only route into teaching, I am shocked at this thread. First of all, I don't think that any new entrant or trainee into teaching should be doing the job straight away no matter how good they think they are or whether they have been a TA - teaching is a skilled job for which you need pedagogical training before you get anywhere near a classroom. Making training "salaried" in order to get you teaching from Day 1 is a way of getting cheap labour and no more. And if it is a job, why the hell is UCAS involved? That's madness!! Secondly, who cares how much " industry experience" you have when you are going into teaching? You are new to teaching, so you are bottom of the pile, you know nothing. New entrants might as well get used to the feeling that they know nothing, their professional skills don't mean anything next to media sound bites and career politicians spin.because that's how us teachers feel day in, day out. Some people on here have a vastly overinflated sense of their own importance and other people's incompetence. Thirdly, it just shows how the whole ITT system is a right bloody mess. I feel for you guys, I really do
  17. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I am a mentor for an SDS trainee in my school. The trainee is middle-aged with teenage children so wasn't taken on for being young and malleable. Was a TA at another school (previously worked in finance) in the borough before applying to us, so has some classroom experience and, as Sleepyhead says, this is an advantage when you're paying that person's wage.

    I dedicate a lot of my time to working with my student, helping them, showing them how to do things, giving them official and unofficial feedback and also enjoying the ideas they bring to the classroom and give them credit where credit is due for great displays and engaging activities for learning objectives I'd never have thought of.

    I'm sorry some people have had bad experiences with schools offering SDS places, but my school was transparent about the process and we are now working hard with two SDS trainees to give them a great start in the classroom. Not all schools will treat people terribly; if you haven't already found somewhere then I wish you luck in finding a school like mine who want to support people.
  18. I would just like to assure everyone on here, that it can be done! You don't neccesarily have to be a TA first before getting a place on schools direct. I am currently an NQT, and last year, I was on schools direct(salaried). Previously, I was a member of the armed forces and consequently, it was very difficult for me to get lots of experience in a school. I was taken to interview on merit and on my life experiences. I was picked above lots of people already working as TAs, and have never looked back since. I am now looking for my next position and feel that the schools direct course has really stood me in good stead, the experiences of learning whilst 'on the job' was definitely a positive one, and speaking to other people who completed BA courses, it has prepared me well for my NQT year. I too wish everyone who is thinking about this route, all the best luck. It worked for me, and it gave me some fantastic opportunities to gain a rewarding second career.
  19. Willow

    Good on you for taking the time to post on here.

    In all fairness, I started the thread because of deficiencies that I perceived in the recruitment process and that remains.

    I have to say my mentor is a lovely young lady who is a good teacher. She has given me little advice or support and is very busy with her own job. My class teacher over the last term has been great with excellent feedback, good resource suggestions and plenty of moral support.

    The huge variation in the experiences reported on here along with my anecdotal experience illustrates what a lottery the scheme is. I am not sure that is fair on applicants and shows how little regulation and oversight is applied nationally.
  20. Hi everyone

    This has been great to read. I've been invited to interview next week and the secondary test day next month. Does anyone have any tips on what to expect, especially with the subject knowledge test, and tips for the observation?


    Ps I'm going for Religious Studies!

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