Guidance

Qualified teacher status (QTS): qualify to teach in England

Find out how to obtain qualified teacher status (QTS) to teach in a maintained school or non-maintained special school in England.

Overview

You must have qualified teacher status (QTS) to take up a teaching post in England in a:

  • maintained primary school
  • maintained secondary school
  • maintained special school
  • non-maintained special school

Maintained schools are part of the state-funded schools system in England – funding and oversight are generally provided by the local authority.

Maintained schools make up the majority of schools in England and are mostly either:

  • community schools or voluntary controlled schools (where the local authority employs the school’s staff and is responsible for admissions)
  • foundation and voluntary-aided schools (where the school’s governing body employs the staff and is responsible for admissions)

The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) is the competent authority in England for the teaching profession on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education. They are responsible for awarding QTS. They also award QTS to qualified teachers from:

  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • the EU
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • the USA

Teachers who trained in England

When you finish your training, your initial teacher training provider will tell us about your results. This applies to all teacher training routes and to those awarded QTS following the assessment only route. If you’re successful, we’ll award you QTS and update your record on the database of qualified teachers. Your QTS certificate will be available online from the teacher self-service website.

Teachers who trained in Wales

If you completed your initial teacher training in Wales, you’ll be awarded QTS by the Education Workforce Council (EWC). This is recognised in England and the information is held on the database of qualified teachers.

Teachers trained or recognised in Northern Ireland or Scotland

If you trained in either Northern Ireland or Scotland, you must apply for QTS if you intend to take up a teaching post in a maintained school or non-maintained special school in England.

Overseas trained teachers who have gained recognition as a teacher in either Northern Ireland or Scotland can also apply for QTS in England.

You can apply for QTS.

It should take between 2 and 4 weeks to process your application.

All teachers from overseas: gaining QTS during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Although global travel, including to the UK, is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), eligible overseas teachers can still apply online to have their qualifications recognised to teach in England.

Learn more about getting into teaching in England if you’re a qualified teacher from overseas.

Teachers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or USA

Teachers from these countries can apply for QTS if you:

  • have a teaching qualification from an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or USA
  • provide a letter of professional standing from the organisation responsible for regulating teachers in the country in which you qualified

This will allow TRA to validate your qualification and teaching status.

The letter should:

  • confirm that you are recognised in an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or USA
  • show you are not subject to any restrictions in that country
  • be dated within the 3 months prior to your application

Only letters from a recognised authority in an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or USA will be accepted. The TRA will then verify that you’re a fully qualified teacher in one of these countries and have not been barred from teaching.

If you pass these checks, you’ll be issued with a letter confirming the award of QTS. Details of fully qualified teachers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA will be held on the database of qualified teachers in England.

Teachers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway who are only qualified to teach pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are no longer able to apply for partial qualified teacher status.

Instead, you will need to apply for QTS in order to take up a qualified teacher post in a special school or teach pupils in a specialist unit in mainstream schools.

If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, contact qts.enquiries@education.gov.uk.

You can also apply for QTS.

It may take up to 4 months to process your application. If you’re successful, you’ll be awarded QTS. You will not need further training and will be exempt from having to serve a statutory induction period. You’ll be notified by email and you can download a letter confirming the award from the teacher self-service portal.

If we’re unable to award you QTS, you’ll need to complete a course of initial teacher training in England in order to get QTS. Alternatively, if you’re an experienced teacher with a degree, you may be able to demonstrate that you already meet all of the standards for QTS through the assessment only route.

Find out more about teaching in England if you’re a teacher who has qualified overseas.

Teachers who qualified in other countries

Teachers who trained in a country outside of the UK, EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, will normally need to complete an accredited training programme in England. After completing the training, you will get QTS and be able to apply for a permanent teaching post in a maintained school or non-maintained special school.

Alternatively, if you’re an experienced teacher with a degree, you may be able to demonstrate that you already meet all of the standards for QTS through the assessment only route.

Recognition of QTS for teachers who want to teach overseas

Arrangements in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland for recognising QTS may change from 1 January 2021. Check the host state’s national policies to find out if QTS is recognised if you:

  • want to have your qualification recognised in a country overseas and have QTS
  • are doing teacher training which leads to QTS, and want to teach overseas in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

You can get advice from the UK’s national information centre for professional qualifications (UK NARIC) to find out which regulatory or professional body you should contact.

Alternatively, if you’re intending to teach in an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, contact the single point of contact for that country to find out how to get your professional qualification recognised.

Qualified teacher learning and skills (QTLS)

If you have QTLS status and membership with the Society for Education and Training, you will be eligible to work as a qualified teacher in schools in England.

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

For further information about QTLS and working in maintained schools please contact the Society for Education and Training.

Independent sector teachers

If you’re from the independent sector, you need QTS to teach in the maintained and non-maintained special schools sectors. There are a number of routes which assess previous teaching experience - further details are available on Get into Teaching.

Contact

Teacher qualifications

Published 15 April 2014
Last updated 31 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated 'Overview' and sections on 'Teachers who qualified in other countries'. Combined sections on 'Teachers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland' and 'Teachers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or USA' and updated with new information. Added a section on 'Recognition of QTS for teachers who want to teach overseas'.

  2. Added information about the recognition of teaching qualifications from 1 January 2021.

  3. Updated with information for teachers from overseas about gaining QTS during coronavirus (COVID-19).

  4. Confirmation of the application process for QTS for teachers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland up to 1 January 2021.

  5. Added information for teachers recognised in the EEA or Switzerland on arrangements after Brexit.

  6. Added information for teachers who completed their initial teacher training (ITT) in Wales.

  7. New online application form available.

  8. First published.