Graduate Intern Service

HR services for schools and academies

We support schools to recruit gifted university graduates to work in school for a year. We advertise, shortlist, provide you details on potential graduates and arrange initial induction.

A image of a young primary school teacher reading to smiling children used to illustrate the Schools' Choice Graduate Intern Service











Schools’ Choice is delighted to offer this service supporting primary schools to attract talented graduate interns. Following the launch of this service through Schools’ Choice in 2015, nearly 60 interns were appointed across nineteen participating schools.  Further cohorts have been appointed each year. Many of the interns have progressed onto teacher training places and a number from the earlier cohorts are now working in Suffolk schools.

This is an ideal scheme if you are considering School Direct placements, as internships give you access to a potential trainee who may want to continue their career with you.  The internship scheme works as a route into teaching and other related jobs working with children and young people.  At the same time, you benefit from a resource in your school.  Schools participating to date have offered work experience in teaching, educational psychology, social work and speech therapy.

Schools’ Choice provide a brokered service for interested schools, managing advertising, applications, initial shortlisting, support with assessment design and initial induction day for the group of interns. Schools are highly involved in the selection and appointment process so you can work with other head teachers to determine the best matches for your school.

The advertising process commences in February and includes online adverts on a range of sites including university websites, national intern recruitment sites and Suffolk Jobs Direct.  Internships will also be promoted at careers fairs and other recruitment events. The interview and assessment process will take place March-June.  Depending on numbers and location, schools are either sent applications and manage their own assessment process or are invited to attend an assessment centre in conjunction with other schools.

What are graduate interns?

The internships offered are one year work-based training placements in school prior to teacher training, or other professional training, e.g. Social Care, Speech Therapy, Educational Psychology.  The scheme is suitable for graduates who are considering their career options and want to get some paid, hands on work experience before committing themselves.

Interns are given experience across the school, including SEN & behaviour management, and staff training. They are expected to raise the progress and standards of the children they are working with – supporting outcomes for disadvantaged children.

How does it work?

Interns are mentored by a designated person in school who ensures that they have a clear role and development plan. The programme of learning and work experience is structured to fit each intern’s learning objectives. A portfolio of work can also be produced during the internship as evidence of learning in support of applications for further study. Schools with experience of running the programme recommend that at least three interns are taken on at a time as this creates a support and learning network for them in school.  If you decide to take on one or two interns you need to ensure that they are properly supported.

The wider intern cohort are encouraged to network, with email addresses being shared and joint events arranged. 

A half day’s induction in September gives the interns are guidance on following careers working with children and are encourages networking with each other. Interns can also access a twilight session training programme provided by the Orwell Multi Academy Trust, for a notional fee to be paid by their school to cover basic costs. If other schools are able to offer suitable training sessions, these will also be advertised to the current cohort.

Pay and conditions

Graduate Interns should be paid at least living wage for 30 hours per week term time only, with the expectation that they’ll work flexibly to maximise their learning.

Target group

  • Graduates living in Suffolk or within easily commutable distance.
  • High calibre graduates with a 2:1 degree and B grades in English and Maths.
  • Wanting to get experience working with children and young people.
  • Willing to work flexible hours to run clubs or out of school activities.


You get out what you put in! Not all interns go onto further training, however those who do are clearer about their career choice and less likely to drop out at a later stage. Evidence suggests that a high proportion of interns apply for training during their internship to a mixture of ITT, PGCE and Masters courses with the support of their school.

Planning your requirements

Before deciding to take on interns you need to consider your workforce plan and what your staffing needs are. You may be thinking ahead to future vacancies and having a pathway to fill them, or you may be looking for short term resource to improve outcomes in your school. Remember that interns come with a training commitment so if you are going to employ them there will be investment needed from you in time as well as money. Think carefully about whether they are the right way for you to develop your workforce and how employing them could improve outcomes for children in your school.

Think about which functional areas your school can offer placements in. For example, you may have pupil premium funding that could be used to support an intern working with your Family Support Worker or Speech Therapist. You may be able to place interns in roles that previously have funded Teaching Assistant posts. Are there particular areas that need more support – can these be identified from your school development plan?

You will need to provide a mentor. Is there someone in school who has the skills and time to take this on or is there someone who would benefit from this as a development opportunity? Could your interns be mentored alongside an NQT?

You will need to be able to find appropriate work to do within school and put this into objectives for the intern.

Costs and commitment

You will need a basic salary budget of approximately £11,950 (based on 2019 salary figure, to be increased from 1.4.2020), plus on-costs per intern, plus funds for any additional training costs. This is based on paying a graduate intern on the support staff pay scale, New Spinal Column Point 1, for 39 weeks/year and 30 hours/week, and issuing a Fixed Term Contract to run from the start of the academic year until 31 August.

You need to be able to commit to participating in the selection process by allocating at least one day of SLT time to attend the assessment days and you need to be able to commit to the intern for the full school year.

Committing to support through the school year includes:

  • Providing a mentor in school
  • Inviting your interns to all staff training
  • Supporting your interns in creating a portfolio of evidence from their placement
  • Providing release for further CPD sessions, as available, through the year
  • Supporting your interns in their applications for ongoing training/professional qualifications
  • Providing references for onward applications

It’s expected that assessment centres will be run around main county locations depending on demand.  The assessment centre format will be standardised against agreed criteria.

In Ipswich, due to the number of schools recruiting, all applicants will be asked about constraints on travel and their preferred location.  A number of assessment centres will be run ensuring that all schools get the opportunity to see suitable applicants and are involved in the decision-making process.

Expression of interest

If you are interested in recruiting interns to work in your school please go to the e-store, select the number of interns required and add to your basket. 

Alternatively, contact to discuss your requirements.

In signing up to this offer and employing an intern you are committing to provide a mentor and support learning and CPD during the placement as outlined in this pack.

Supporting information:

Graduate InternService - supporting schools to recruit gifted university graduates to work in school for a year. 


Graduate Internship Recruitment Service Specification


Case Study - Georgie Underwood, Gradute Intern at Sidegate Primary School


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