The Orleans Park Teaching Alliance (OPTA) is an exciting group of schools with the vision to provide outstanding and rewarding teacher training at secondary level. In the Twickenham and Richmond area.
We offer Lead Partner Direct PGCE courses accredited by St Mary’s University and the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. These are full time, fee-funded (non-salaried) PGCE places in a wide range of secondary subjects.
We are the lead school in the Alliance, with Ofsted praising us for "inspirational teaching and learning" and highlighting our drive for "getting it right in the classroom." We really want applicants to be passionate about working with young people and to love their subject.
As a Lead Partner, we manage the school placement element of the course, handpicking placements in local schools, alongside a university lead Masters Level training curriculum. This will allow you to graduate with a PGCE (QTS), accredited by either St Mary's University or IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society depending on the subject you study.
We offer every trainee one placement here at Orleans Park School, and a second placement at a local alliance school. This allows applicants to teach in the local area, minimising travel time, also allowing us to work closely with mentors to ensure quality of provision.
The schools in our alliance are highly experienced in training new teachers, and we ensure that our mentors are well-trained and prepared, with the skills to provide constructive, specific and valuable feedback.
You can be assured that training through us will focus on making you the BEST teacher possible, building confidence, providing clear direction and sharing the expertise of our mentors and tutors in our schools and universities.
Below you will find all the other alliance schools, all of which are highly experienced in training future teachers. They are all based within the Richmond Upon Thames Borough.
We believe that the training year is your first initial step into teaching and our schools are centered around delivering on-going, effective CPD. It is highly likely that there will be opportunities for trainees to find employment in one of our alliance schools and be provided with many exciting possibilities for career progression.
Below is the criteria required to apply and be considered for a place with OPTA:
For PGCE courses accredited by IOE (Music, Art and Design, Business, History, RE and Sociology):
For PGCE courses accredited by St Mary’s University (Science, English, Mathematics, MFL and PE):
If you are offered a place with OPTA, you should show willingness to undertake a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course if deemed necessary.
Ideally you should have some experience observing lessons in a secondary school. If you would like help organising this, please get in touch by emailing us at OPTA@orleanspark.school
All placements are subject to obtaining an enhanced DBS Disclosure, and any other required clearances. Applicants must also complete DfE provision registration requirements.
The application process is now open via the gov.uk website.
We make every attempt to respond to your application within 10 working days, and if successful, you will then be required to attend interviews at both Orleans Park School and the accredited provider for your course, either St Mary’s University or IOE.
Further information will be sent to all candidates prior to interview so that they understand the process.
All our PGCE courses are full time, fee-funded and offer no salary. Student Visa applications can be sponsored by both accredited providers. They offer 1 year Student Visas for the named student studying full time, no other type of visa can be sponsored for PGCE course.
Course fees £9250 / International Fees £15,000
Course fees £9250 / International Fees £24,200
For further information on funding for IOE accredited courses click here
For further information regarding visas for international students for IOE accredited courses click here
Bursaries and scholarships are available for home (UK based) students.
You will have two school based placements which will run across the majority of the year. St Mary’s University placements run from September to December, and late January to June. The IOE placements run from October -Jan and Feb-June.
You will gain experience of KS3 and KS4 teaching in both placements, and have an opportunity to experience KS5 lessons in at least one of your placement schools. You will have a mentor supporting you throughout this experience and they will provide both formal and informal feedback in order to help you achieve the teaching standards.
Student teachers on St Mary's accredited courses will build towards 6-8 lessons a week in the first placement. During the second placement, this will increase to around 12-14 periods a week of teaching. You will attend lectures and seminars at St Mary’s University for the first three weeks of the course. Once your placement starts you will still attend St Mary’s one day a week (Wednesday) for the majority of the training year. This provides an opportunity to work closely with other PGCE trainees in your subject areas to develop key pedagogical understanding from a subject specific perspective.
Student teachers on IOE accredited courses will build towards having 10/11 lessons a week in both placements. You will attend lectures and seminars at IOE Russell Square campus for the first four weeks of the course. Once your placement starts you will still attend St Mary’s one day a week (either Monday or Friday) for the majority of the training year. This provides an opportunity to work closely with other PGCE trainees in your subject areas to develop key pedagogical understanding from a subject specific perspective.
In addition to your teaching allocation, all trainees have additional periods of observation and support in lessons. There are weekly Professional Studies sessions which cover key elements of successful teaching practice as part of your school placement. These are planned using the Core Content Framework to ensure parity with the government expectations of ITT training and curriculum of your university providers. You will also be invited to take part in extracurricular activities, staff development activities and support a tutor group.