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The Grand Union Training Partnership is an experienced school-centred initial teacher training consortium with over twenty years of experience training secondary school teachers in Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes. Working with a close network of secondary partnership schools most of our trainees live in the Northampton and the Milton Keynes area and the scheme is very conscious of its role in training local people for employment in their home area.
We provide Secondary PGCE courses, validated by The University of Leicester, in Business Studies, English, History, Mathematics, Computer Science, Geography, Modern Foreign Languages, Design and Technology, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. We aim to give trainees as much practical experience of working in the partnership schools as possible.

As a trainee your work and programme of study is supervised by a mentor who will take a close interest in your development. This part of the course is complemented by a general professional studies programme provided in co-operation with The University of Leicester.
Our overall aim is to produce reflective professionals who are confident in applying for and starting their first jobs as school teachers. We are also training people to get teaching jobs, and our high employment rates show that we are incredibly successful in this. Traditionally, over half of our trainees take up their first teaching posts in the scheme's partnership schools. At the end of the course, our trainees qualify with Qualified-Teacher Status (QTS) and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) which also carries it with it Master’s Credits (and can be topped up with further modules to equate to a Master’s Degree.)

Our Trainees

Trainees are selected from a wide range of ages and experience; some will be straight from university, others may have had considerable experience of another career. A majority of our trainees come from within a 30 mile radius of the partnership schools and typically live in Northampton, Milton Keynes, Daventry and Brackley. However, past trainees have commuted from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Leicestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.  We value the experiences that our trainees bring with them and we try to be flexible in meeting their particular needs when placing them in their host schools.

Some special features of this course:

  • As a school centred scheme we are able to ensure that trainees are involved in the classroom right from the start of the course, observing experienced teachers and then gradually developing their confidence and ability to take an increasing responsibility for the planning and delivery of lessons.
  • Trainees form close working relationships with their mentors and with other colleagues in the departments in which they are placed.
  • The views of the trainees are valued: they attend regular consultative committee meetings so that concerns and suggestions can be responded to and acted upon.

How this course is organised:

  • A typical week would involve: general professional studies sessions provided by staff from The GUTP/The University of Leicester and further sessions of an even more practical nature provided by teachers in the partnership schools; a regular meeting with your mentor and a subject-specific training session provided by one of the team of mentors; and regular time spent in the classroom observing colleagues or being observed yourself at work in the classroom.
  • There are two block teaching practices during the course; these take place in two different schools.

Arrangements for teaching placements

  • From the second week of the course trainees are based in one of the partnership schools after which they are placed in one of the other schools in the partnership to complete the second teaching practice.
  • The GUTP arranges placements for all successful applicants to the course. These placements are regularly quality assured by the management team to ensure all trainees have an excellent training experience.

What is taught on this course

  • Subject knowledge
  • Teaching methodology
  • ICT skills
  • General professional studies topics such as how children learn, behaviour management strategies, phonics etc.
  • What it is to be fully involved in all aspects of school life.


Assessment is by a variety of methods:

  • An online portfolio of evidence built up over the full course
  • Case Studies to measure your progress against the national teaching standards to gain Qualified-Teacher Status (QTS)
  • The case studies and two academic assignments - both of which aim to develop powers of observation and reflection, the ability to relate published data to your own classroom research and, finally, the ability to experiment with different teaching styles and methodologies.

Career opportunities

Our graduates say that the course is the best type of preparation for working in a school. 

Over the last 3 years our average employment rate has been 100% for those wishing to get teaching jobs, which is excellent and well over the national average of 73% (in 2019). A high percentage of these find employment within our Partnership Schools.

 Financial Information

DfE funding is normally available for all trainees who are eligible for government support, such as fees, a maintenance loan and a tuition fee loan, whether you actually choose to take up that support or not. You may apply for student funding and assess your personal eligibility through the website.

You might find it helpful to check your eligibility on the Course Funding pages of the DfE website The full regulations regarding 'home' and EU trainees can be found in the Education Support Regulations 2008.

Those eligible for DfE funding may also be eligible for the following support:-

  • Tuition Fee Loan
  • The Maintenance Loan
  • DfE Bursary

Tuition Fees

Our course fees for September 2024 have been set to remain at £9,250.

You will be liable for the payment of tuition fees. You will be asked to sign an agreement, before starting the course, to say that you will accept this liability. You may pay your tuition fees directly to the GUTP or you may apply for a Student Tuition Fee Loan which will cover the cost of your tuition fees. For the majority of students, you do not start repayments until you have completed the course and are employed earning over £27,295 but please refer to Student Finance England for details.

You can also apply for a Student Maintenance Loan and a means-tested Maintenance Grant. You need to contact Student Finance England to get the financial support that you are entitled to. Please phone 0845 300 50 90 or log on to for further information.
To assist you in completing their forms it will help you to know:

  • That this is a one year, full time PGCE course. It is NOT a franchised course.
  • The ‘University or College’ you will be attending is The Grand Union Training Partnership and the Apply course code is G60.

Support and incentives for graduates

Bursaries for Academic Year for 2024-25, have not yet been announced but full details of these can be found on the DfE website,

Bursaries are available for trainees on eligible postgraduate courses in England who are not employed as a teacher. Bursary amounts will vary depending on teaching subject and degree class.

You must be able to support yourself financially for the whole period of the training. This means that all living and accommodation expenses will have to be paid by you.

EU Nationals

EU Nationals who have settled in the UK by December 2020 are entitled to apply for Settlement Status and must have done so by June 2021. Without the Settlement Status, there is no eligibility to bursaries and student finance.


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Contact Information

The Grand Union Teacher Training Partnership

c/o Sponne School

Brackley Road



NN12 6DJ

Tel: 01327 350284 ext 7253