HIGH-flying graduates in Bolton with their sights on teaching are being invited to learn from the best.

Schools in Bolton signed up to the government's Schools Direct scheme last year and there are a few places left on the teacher training programme, which is co-ordinated by SS Simon and Jude CE Primary Academy in Great Lever, a school marked as “good with outstanding features" by Ofsted.

Executive principal Simon Bramwell said: “We have got some brilliant students in our first cohort. Already five of the 12 have gained teaching posts for next year and many others are attending final interviews in the next few weeks.

“We are looking forward to receiving applications, for a September start from those individuals with the potential to be outstanding teachers.

“Working in partnership with University of Cumbria, School Direct allows us to customise the training to meet the needs of the school and the trainees, who gain practical experience from day one.

“It is a great way to learn and qualify to become a teacher, by offering candidates support from their future colleagues who have experience.

“They will also benefit from further learning opportunities to develop their teaching skills and progress quickly into leadership positions.”

Mr Bramwell said their trainees live in Bolton and for successful candidates it offers tax-free bursaries of up to £9,000 and graduates train alongside teachers in some of the best primary schools in the country.

He said: “Students spend only two or three days at the university in a year, while having access to all the university facilities and online provisions.

“The university tutors visit us to carry out the academic tuition required to gain the PGCE.

“Our own practitioners lead sessions on the subject matter.

“Our students do two extended placements across two types of school as well as teaching differing age groups, giving them high-quality experiences.”

He added: “One of the major appeals of the course is that it is Bolton-based for Bolton people. All of our students are local to the town and all live at home, cutting down the costs normally associated with another year at university.

“With the generous bursary system, the saving over another year away can be as much as £14,000.

“A first-class graduate this year had their fees paid and a 2:1 student received a £4,000 discount.

"Add to that no additional accommodation costs while living and eating at home, it must be the best value qualification in the country.

"So if there are any students or parents who think teaching may be the career for them there is still a chance to apply for our few remaining places for September.”

Student teachers say they have gained invaluable experience from the scheme.

Trainee Alice Walker said: “The training, input and guidance from the different schools has been invaluable”

Adam Brierley added: “The best part of the course has been working alongside outstanding and experienced teachers and soaking in their expertise.”

Charlie Taylor, National College for Teaching and Leadership chief executive, said: “School Direct allows the most able graduates to work alongside some of the best teachers working in our classrooms, and in schools that are right for them.

"By offering bursaries of up to £9,000 in Primary schools, together with outstanding training and development, schools can attract the very best talent.”

Candidates can apply for the academic year 2014/15. Further information is available at education.gov.uk/schooldirect.

Anyone interested in becoming a teacher should visit education.gov.uk/getintoteaching or contact the Teaching Line on 0800 3892500.