School Experience updated


The School Direct programme is an intensive course which should not be undertaken lightly. It requires a good deal of physical and emotional resilience to complete successfully. Getting school experience is a vital part of your application and the majority of training providers require you to have it. Getting some classroom experience can help you to decide whether teaching is right for you. It will also strengthen your application and prepare you for potential interviews. Spending a couple of days observing relevant lessons in school will strengthen your application and may be extremely helpful to support your interview answers. We understand this can be hard to arrange though and would not reject a candidate on their lack of observational school experience if their application was otherwise good.

The DfE School Experience Programme (SEP)

You can gain school experience through the DfE School Experience Programme (SEP). There are hundreds of schools across the country participating, so you should be able to find an opportunity local to you.

During your placement you will have the opportunity to:

• talk to teachers about day-to-day school life

• observe teaching and pastoral work

• watch a range of lessons and age groups being taught

All of this will give you valuable insight and a great focus point for your application and interviews. School experience through the Herts Hub can be organised directly with the relevant recruiting school or by emailing

The Challoner’s High Bucks Hub is not part of the School Experience Programme but can arrange school experience for those who are going to apply for a School Direct place through them. Please email 

Top tips on getting some observational school experience

You need to be aware that schools are inundated with requests for observational experience and providing such experience takes up staff time. It doesn’t matter if you get experience in a school you are applying to or elsewhere, however:

You are more likely to get a response if you target schools who have vacancies for teacher training in the subject that you are interested in. You should read the details about the vacancy that they have and then email the school. Your email should make clear that you are aware that they are trying to fill a teacher training vacancy and that you have read the course details. You should ask for your email to be forwarded to whomever at the school is dealing with this vacancy asking if it would be possible to come in for a day to observe lessons. Your email could make a brief reference to your degree, and the grade you achieved. This would show you to be a serious potential applicant.