School Direct with the Chimney House Alliance - Secondary

Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School is an outstanding, dynamic, innovative and ambitious National Teaching School and is the lead school in Chimney House Alliance with a well-established partnership with The Manchester Metropolitan University. The Chimney House Alliance is well established and comprises of ten strategic partner schools, three associate schools and core primary schools, and some have achieved outstanding Ofsted ratings, as has the University.


As a former training school we have worked with trainee teachers for many years and were the first training school consortium in the country. We are fully committed to training the next generation of outstanding teachers and future leaders and fully recognise how much vibrancy, enthusiasm and drive they offer to our school communities.


Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School is the designated teaching school for the Alliance with a strong track record of collaborative working. The Alliance is a range of secondary schools in a number of contexts: 11-16, 11-18, large, small, urban and rural, which spans Cheshire East and West and all, are located within easy travelling distance of each other. We offer a unique blend of opportunities to experience a diverse and contrasting range of teacher training experiences.

Both staff and students are ambitious and confident and benefit from the extensive Continuous Professional Development programmes we have on offer from entering the profession as a trainee to becoming a head teacher.


Our staff are our most valuable resource and we have a proven track record and national reputation for highly successful collaboration in the fields of Initial Teacher Training and Continued Professional Development. Our teachers are excellent practitioners and are eager to share their skills, knowledge and practice to train the next generation of outstanding teachers and future leaders. We have a nationally recognised innovative and bespoke School Direct programme.


Our Programme is delivered in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University. You will have full access to the facilities of The Manchester Metropolitan University, which has national recognition for its high quality Initial Teacher Training provision. The majority of your time will be school based but there are a number of days where you will be based at the University, far reduced compared to a traditional PGCE.


You will complete two school placements and will be allocated to one of the schools in the Chimney House Alliance or its associates in the autumn and summer term. In the spring term you will be allocated to a different school within the Alliance.


The course is a PGCE QTS award and you will gain a PG Certificate (60 M-level CATS points).

Tuition Fees & Loans

For information on student finance including training bursaries and loans that may be available please visit

For information on Tuition Fees please visit

How to Apply

All applications are completed via the UCAS portal (Click Here) and search for Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School which is the lead school.

Professional skills tests in Numeracy and Literacy

QTS Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy

All candidates applying for entry to teaching courses are required to sit pre-entry tests in Literacy and Numeracy. No unconditional offer will be made until both QTS skills tests have been passed. You are therefore strongly advised to have passed these tests prior to interview. If you are offered a place conditional on passing these tests, they should be completed within 6 weeks of the offer to satisfy this aspect of the condition. For late applications, priority will be given to those who have already passed the tests.


Skills tests are delivered nationally by learndirect and can be booked here:

School Experience

If you are intending to apply to train to teach this year then we may be able to offer an initial taste of teaching experience day with the potential of further experience.

Gaining some classroom experience can also help you to decide whether teaching is right for you. It will strengthen your application and prepare you for potential interviews.
Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School is the lead school in the Chimney House Alliance which is registered for the School Experience Programme ( SEP ) for those considering teaching in a range of subjects.

How can I gain school experience?

The School Experience Programme (SEP) offers classroom experience in a secondary school.


You will be able to apply for the SEP if you hold (or are predicted) at least a 2:2 degree and are interested in teaching secondary Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Modern Foreign Languages, Computing or Design and Technology. The duration is flexible (1 to 10 days); this will be agreed between you and your host school. If you are interested in gaining school experience in different subjects you can contact: or contact; Karen Fuller on 01477 410544.


A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)  check may be required. This will be organised by the school and could impact on the length of your placement.


Please click here for details

Participating Schools in Cheshire East and West:

Abraham Moss Community School -

Alsager School -

Brine Leas School -

Congleton High School -

Eaton Bank Academy -

Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School & Sixth Form College - 

Malbank School & Sixth Form College -

Middlewich High School -

Oaklands School -

The Oaks Academy -

Ruskin High School -

Sandbach School -

Sandbach High School & Sixth Form College -

Shavington Academy -

St. Thomas More Catholic High School -


Special Schools Involved

Oakland Special School -

© 2019 by CHIMNEY HOUSE ALLIANCE.  Created by HCCS

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Tel: 01477 410500 / 01477 410489 /