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What is the Orleans Park Teaching Alliance?

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.

Working in partnership with St Mary’s University and the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, we offer School Direct PGCE non-salaried 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.

  • Art & Design
  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • MFL (French, Spanish & German)
  • PE
  • Physics
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Science

School Placements

As a Schools Direct Provider, we manage the school placements for your training year, alongside a university lead Masters Level training curriculum. This will allow you to graduate with a PGCE (QTS), accredited by St Mary's University.

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 univerisities.

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.

  • Christ School
  • Grey Court School
  • Hampton High
  • Richmond Upon Thames School
  • St Richard Reynolds Catholic School
  • Teddington
  • Turing House
  • Twickenham
  • Waldegrave

We believe that the training year is your first initial step into teaching and our schools are centred 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.

Entry Requirements

Below is the criteria required to apply and be considered for a place with OPTA:

  • UK university degree or recognised equivalent of 2:2 and above in the subject or a relevant subject. PE applicants should have a 2.1 or above unless they can prove they have significant school experience.
  • Five GCSE awards or equivalent at grade C/Level 5 or above, including English and Mathematics. Equivalency tests are available.
  • The ability to communicate effectively in both spoken and written standard English.

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.

Book a School Experience

Want to see what it's like at Orleans Park? You can book a school experience here to see what we are all about.  We are the only secondary school in the  Borough to offer these experiences; another reason why you should consider Orleans Park for your first year teacher training.  To book your experience, click below:

Book a School Experience

The Application Process

The application process is now open via the gov.uk website.

Start your Application

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 St Mary’s University and Orleans Park. Further information will be sent to all candidates prior to their interview so that they understand the process.

Course Fees

PGCE with QTS (accredited by St Mary’s University)

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • MFL (French, Spanish, German)
  • Physical Education
  • Physics

Course fees £9250 / International Fees £13,500

PGCE with QTS (accredited by the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society)

  • Art and design
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Science

Course fees £9250 / International Fees £22,200

Bursaries and scholarships are available for home (UK based) students.

Get Into Teaching

What does the training year involve?

What does the training year involve?

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 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. 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.

St Mary’s trainee teachers will build towards having 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. IOE  trainee teachers will build towards having 10/11 lessons a week in both placements. In addition all trainees have additional periods of observation and supporting in lessons (potentially in another subject).

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. All trainees spend their first three/four weeks at university in September and then one day a week for the whole training year. This provides an opportunity to work closely with other SD and core PGCE trainees in your subject areas to develop key pedagogical understanding from a subject specific perspective.

Need to know more?

Please do not hesitate to contact us via email at OPTA@orleanspark.school.  You can also visit the dedicated teacher training websites:

Get Into TeachingSt Mary’s UniversityUCL (IOE)