See what some of our Harris Academy Principals have to say about the School Direct programme...


Aliki ConstantopoulouAliki Constantopoulou


Principal at Harris Academy Crystal Palace

I really enjoy working with Initial Teacher Education. We have had four School Direct students so far and four more have joined us this year. We have appointed four teachers through the programme.


At a time when recruiting teachers seems to be really challenging nationally it has been a brilliant opportunity to appoint ‘home-grown’ NQTs through this programme. Although NQTs, these teachers have the advantage of already knowing the academy really well. They have already had a whole year of getting to know our curriculum, our pedagogy, our vision and values and have already benefited from being part of the Harris Federation.


Through the training they receive at the teaching school and through our own INSET they are far better prepared for their first year of teaching than any other NQTs I have known. The training they receive through the Federation is tailored to meet their needs and draws on the wealth of experience across the Federation.

Out of the four School Direct students we have currently, three of them were previously teaching assistants at our academy. It is fantastic that they are able to develop professionally without having to leave us. We hope that in time they will be appointed as teachers within the Federation and continue their careers with us.

I personally really enjoy working with the Harris Initial Teacher Education team and enjoy hosting and delivering training and interviews. I look forward to our continued partnership and the opportunities which will arise as Harris Initial Teacher Education grows in the near future.

Visit Harris Academy Crystal Palace's website.

Matt BrittMatt Britt

Executive Principal at Harris Primary Academy Mayflower and Harris Primary Academy Chafford Hundred

As the Executive Principal of two large Harris Primary Academies, I am indebted to the work of the Harris Initial Teacher Education programme and in particular the work they provide in training and supporting School Direct trainees.

The School Direct trainees that we have employed receive the highest quality of training and I know from my work with the Initial Teacher Education team that they evaluate every single session offered to the trainees to measure the success and refine the training for the next week. The guidance, backing and support provided to my in-house mentors has also been exceptional and the quality of the provision has persuaded me to take on 10 School Direct trainees across my two academies for the coming year.

The two year contracts offered ensure that trainees are seeing themselves as committed employees from day one and all of our trainees to date have excelled and are hard to distinguish from my good and outstanding teachers, with many years of experience, by the end of the second term.

I wish I had been able to train this way when I launched my career in education twenty five years ago. I had disjointed teaching practices that didn’t link to my course based learning. My School Direct trainees learn on a Thursday and come back to put the ideas into practice on a Friday.

I can’t recommend the programme highly enough!


Visit Harris Primary Academy Mayflower's website.

Visit Harris Primary Academy Chafford Hundred's website.

Nicola GrahamNicola Graham

Principal at Harris Academy Chafford Hundred

I am a firm supporter of the Harris School Direct scheme. At a time when recruitment is challenging, it is a pleasure to welcome new teachers into the profession and watch them grow. It is a fast-paced, dynamic scheme which allows new teachers to progress at a rate that suits them and to experience the true day-to-day life in school.  

The training that they receive in Westminster is excellent and they speak very highly of this aspect. It is a superb blend of hands-on practice, theory and collaboration with other new teachers. I would have chosen this scheme myself and recommend it without reservation. 

Visit Harris Academy Chafford Hundred's website.