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Routes To Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) For Teachers And Those With Teaching Experience Outside The UK

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Overview

English teacher training leads to a professional teaching qualification called qualified teacher status (QTS).

If you’re a qualified teacher from outside the UK, you can work as a teacher in England for up to 4 years without QTS.

After that, you will need QTS to teach in many schools in England. Although it’s not a legal requirement in all types of schools (for example, academies, free schools and private schools), you will find it easier to get a teaching job in England if you have QTS.

This guidance explains how to apply for QTS if you qualified to teach or have gained teaching experience outside the UK.

Learn how to apply for QTS if you trained to teach in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

General information about teaching and training to teach in England

Teachers in England are employed by individual schools, not by the Department for Education. If you decide to apply for QTS, you will have to apply for your teaching job and your visa separately. You may also find it useful to refer to our general information for international teachers and trainees:

Routes to QTS

There are 4 routes to qualified teacher status for teachers and trainees outside the UK:

  • apply for QTS using our new online service
  • apply for assessment only QTS
  • apply for teacher training in England
  • apply to train for international qualified teacher status (iQTS)

Your eligibility for each route will depend on:

  • where you qualified
  • your subject specialism
  • whether you already have teaching experience
  • your personal circumstances

Apply for QTS in England

From 1 February 2023 , if you have a teaching qualification from the following countries and regions, you will be able to use our new service to check if you meet the requirements and apply for QTS in England:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • the EEA
  • Gibraltar
  • Hong Kong
  • New Zealand
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • the USA

In addition, if you have a subject specialism in languages, mathematics or science and a teaching qualification to teach 11 to 16 year olds from one of the following 7 countries, you will be able to use the service to check if you meet the requirements and apply for QTS in England:

  • Ghana
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Nigeria
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

When you apply for QTS in England you do not need to:

  • pay a fee to a training provider
  • undergo any further training
  • visit the UK

Over time this route will be open to qualified teachers from every country outside the UK. Learn more about the qualifications and experience you’ll need to be awarded QTS.

Apply for assessment only QTS

If you’re not eligible to apply for QTS in England using the new service, assessment only QTS may be the most appropriate route for you.

Assessment only QTS means experienced teachers with a degree can gain QTS without doing a teacher training programme. You can apply to a UK government-approved teacher training provider in England for an assessment showing you meet the standards for QTS. You do not need to visit the UK to be assessed and gain QTS.

You will not have to visit or train in England. However, you will need to be assessed at your place of work by an examiner from your teaching training provider. Your teacher training provider can explain what type of school you must be working in to undergo assessment only QTS.

Assessment only costs

Fees range from about £1,500 to £4,000, but vary between providers and may be substantially more if you’re outside the UK. Check with individual providers for more details.

Working as a teacher in England while you undergo assessment only QTS

Although many schools in England prefer applicants for teaching jobs to have QTS, it is possible to work as a teacher in England and earn a salary while you’re assessed for QTS.

The 4-year rule allows you to work without QTS. It means that, if you are successful in finding a teaching job in England without having QTS, you can apply to a teacher training provider offering assessment only QTS in the region of England where you work.

Assessment only training providers cannot give you advice about:

  • finding a teaching job in an English school
  • other routes to QTS
  • applying for a visa to work or study in the UK

When you apply for assessment only QTS you will:

  • have to pay a fee to a training provider
  • not have to undergo any further training
  • not have to visit the UK (unless you are working in England under the 4-year rule)

Qualifications and experience you’ll need to be eligible for an assessment only QTS

To apply for assessment only QTS, you do not need a formal teacher training qualification.

However, you must have:

  • a minimum of 2 years’ teaching experience
  • a first (bachelor’s) degree from a UK or non-UK university
  • an English language qualification which is the same standard as a grade 4 GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)
  • a maths qualification which is the same standard as a grade 4 GCSE
  • to teach children aged 3 to 11 in primary school, a physics, chemistry or biology (science) qualification which is the same standard as a grade 4 GCSE

A GCSE is an academic qualification awarded for examinations in England, usually taken at age 16.

International qualifications

If your qualifications come from a non-UK institution, your assessment only teacher training provider may want to see a ‘statement of comparability’ showing how they compare to UK qualifications.

You can call us on 0800 389 2500 for:

  • guidance on the UK equivalents of your qualifications
  • a free statement of comparability from UK ENIC once you’ve submitted your application, if your provider asks for this

Your teaching experience must:

  • consist of time spent teaching (as opposed to other responsibilities in a school)
  • have taken place in 2 separate schools (not 2 classes within the same school or 2 school sites within the same organisation)
  • demonstrate you’ve taught young people from a range of different backgrounds
  • demonstrate you’re familiar with different approaches to teaching, learning and school management

Your teaching experience can have been:

  • gained in any type of school, for example, international schools, schools teaching the International Baccalaureate, and state-maintained schools outside the UK
  • spent teaching a non-English curriculum (though you may need to show you have knowledge of the subjects taught in the English curriculum)
  • divided between 2 school settings as long as you have 2 years’ teaching experience in total

British international school organisations

British international schools provide suitable experience for teachers wishing to apply for assessment only QTS. However, it is not a requirement to gain your experience at a British international school. Reputable British international school organisations include:

How to apply for an assessment only QTS

Your application for assessment only QTS must be made to one of the UK government’s approved assessment only teacher training providers in England. You do not need to visit or train in England to do assessment only QTS.

An assessment of your teaching will be carried out in person at your place of work by an examiner from your chosen teacher training provider.

Before you apply, contact your chosen teacher training provider directly to:

  • check they accept international applications for assessment only QTS
  • check they can come to your country to do the assessment (if you’re not in England)
  • confirm your eligibility for assessment only
  • learn more about their specific requirements

If your application is successful, the assessment only provider will:

  • help you put together a portfolio of your teaching work, to demonstrate you meet English Teachers’ Standards
  • carry out an assessment of your teaching
  • ask to see evidence of your qualifications
  • potentially ask you to sit a test to demonstrate your written and spoken English is fluent, accurate and clear, and is the same standard as a grade 4 in GCSE English language
  • potentially ask you to sit a test to demonstrate your mathematics knowledge and, for primary school teaching, science knowledge is the same standard as a grade 4 in GCSE mathematics or science

You’ll also need to:

If your assessment only provider is satisfied you’ve met the standards required to teach in England, you’ll be awarded QTS and will be able to apply for teaching jobs in England.

If you fail to meet the standards required for assessment only QTS, you can:

  • re-apply when you’ve gained more relevant skills and experience
  • gain your QTS by training to teach in England

Apply for teacher training in England

All non-UK citizens can apply to train to teach in England. Train to teach in England non-UK applicants explains the academic qualifications and visa you’ll need, and how to apply for a teacher training course.

When you apply for a teacher training course in England leading to QTS you’ll:

  • pay a fee (starting at ÂŁ12,000) to training provider for a teacher training course, plus your living costs
  • undergo a year of full-time training
  • need to relocate to the UK

Visit Get Into Teaching to:

  • learn more about teacher training in England
  • register with the get an adviser service for personalised advice about teaching in England by email, phone or online chat
  • get help with a UK ENIC Statement of Comparability to confirm how your overseas qualifications compare to UK qualifications

Apply to train for international qualified teacher status

International qualified teacher status (iQTS) is a new teaching qualification backed by the UK government that:

  • is delivered online by English teacher training providers in partnership with schools around the world
  • meets the same standards as English QTS and leads to the automatic award of QTS.
  • is open to all non-UK citizens, and is currently available from 6 providers, with plans to roll the qualification out more widely from September 2023
  • is the only international teacher training course that leads to the automatic award of QTS (other courses may offer valuable training but do not lead to QTS)

When you apply for assessment only QTS you’ll:

  • have to pay a fee to a training provider
  • not have to undergo any further training
  • not have to visit the UK

Learn more about international qualified teacher status.

QTS exemption for teachers from outside the UK

Qualified teachers from outside the UK are allowed to teach in England for up to 4 years without QTS – even in schools where QTS is normally a legal requirement. You can learn more about this exemption, known as the ‘4-year rule’, from the school employing you.

To be eligible for the 4-year rule, you’ll need to have:

  • qualified as a teacher in a country outside the UK
  • successfully completed a course of teacher training recognised by the organisation that regulates teachers in the country where you qualified

The 4-year rule exemption does not apply to:

  • pupil referral units (PRUs)
  • alternative provision academies
  • alternative provision free schools, where QTS is required from the beginning of your employment

After 4 years, teachers from outside the UK will need QTS to teach in many state schools in England.

In most schools, including academies, free schools and private schools, where QTS is not a legal requirement, it is used to assess the quality of candidates for teaching jobs. You may find that having QTS is beneficial when applying for jobs.

Teachers with a special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) qualification only

To gain QTS, you must be able to adapt your teaching to meet the needs of all pupils in all phases and age groups. Teachers with a qualification limited to SEND pupils are therefore not eligible to apply using the new service.

SEND teachers can gain QTS by:

  • applying for QTS through the assessment only route
  • applying for a teacher training course in England

These routes are open to SEND teachers from anywhere in the world.

If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible to apply for QTS, contact qts.enquiries@education.gov.uk.

Qualified teacher learning and skills (QTLS)

If you have QTLS status and membership of the Society for Education and Training (SET), you’re eligible to work as a qualified teacher in schools in England.

It will be up to schools and local authorities to decide whether you’re suitable for a post and to teach a particular subject. You’ll be exempt from serving a statutory induction period in schools.

International teacher training courses that do not include QTS

A variety of international teacher training courses are offered by both English and non-English colleges and universities to candidates outside England. The following courses do not lead to QTS and will not qualify you to teach in English schools where QTS is a legal requirement:

  • Postgraduate Certificate of Education International (PGCEi, sometimes called an International Postgraduate Certificate of Education, or iPGCE)
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE), when completed outside the UK
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), when completed outside the UK

However, after completing one of these courses, and depending on where you gained your experience and qualifications, you can apply:

Get help from training providers in England

Some English colleges and universities offering PGCEi and similar courses can also help with your application for assessment only QTS.

To check which training providers offer this support, see the list of approved teacher training providers in England and contact them for advice.

Combined PGCE and QTS training courses

Combined PGCE and QTS teacher training courses are only available if you study in England. Search the find postgraduate teacher training service for details.

Teaching in England and outside the UK with QTS

We want to increase the numbers of non-UK teachers coming to England to teach. Teach in England if you qualified outside the UK gives advice about visas, immigration and the support available for non-UK teachers.

Use the Teaching Vacancies service to find and apply for teaching jobs in England.

Whatever route you take to obtain QTS, to get a job as a teacher in England, you’ll also need:

  • substantial teaching experience you can demonstrate to an employer
  • to pass criminal and professional safeguarding checks, including an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (these will be organised by your employer)
  • a high standard of written and spoken English – for example, British Council B2 level
  • some knowledge of the English education system

Teaching outside the UK

Your English QTS will be recognised in many countries around the world. However, you should always check with the organisation responsible for regulating teachers in the country where you want to teach.

Early career teacher (ECT) induction

Having gained QTS, English teachers complete their professional training through the ECT 2-year induction period.

As a non-UK teacher, you’ll also need to complete the ECT induction if you gained QTS:

  • through an application to the Teaching Regulation Agency, if you have less than 2 years experience as a teacher
  • through assessment only QTS
  • through teacher training in England

During your ECT induction, you’ll work and be assessed as a paid teacher in a school. This induction period is part of the Early Career Framework for teachers. You’ll be expected to show you meet the Teachers’ Standards and you’ll also get training and support from a mentor.

Induction for teachers working or training outside England

If you’re already working as a teacher outside England, and applying for an assessment only QTS, you may not need to complete an induction period in England. Check with your assessment only provider.

If you do need to undergo an induction period, you may be able to complete it outside England in the country where you are now working or training. However, the school where you complete your induction must have met our requirements. Check a list of schools which have met these requirements.

Further information

You can find an overview of English standards for teachers, curriculum, discipline and school inspections, as well as teaching information and materials on Get Into Teaching.

Information is also available on:

Materials to help you develop your teaching skills, designed in line with the early career framework are also available.

Contact us

For additional QTS queries not covered in this information:

Robert Tapfumaneyi