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. In maintained schools, funding and oversight is 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. We’re responsible for awarding QTS. We also award QTS to trained teachers from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.

Once you have QTS, and are employed to teach in a maintained school, or non-maintained special school, in England or Wales, you will be paid under the school teachers’ pay scales. You will be subject to the performance management arrangements in schools in the same way as any other qualified teacher.

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 Scotland or Northern Ireland

If you trained in either Scotland or Northern Ireland, 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 Scotland or Northern Ireland can also apply for QTS in England.

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

Teachers recognised in the EEA or Switzerland

EEA or Swiss nationals can apply for QTS under the terms of Council Directive 2005/36/EC (as amended). You need to:

  • have teaching qualifications from an EEA member state or Switzerland
  • be recognised as a qualified school teacher by an EEA member state or Switzerland

EEA or Swiss nationals with qualifications from outside the EEA or Switzerland can also apply for QTS. You need to have:

  • your teaching qualification recognised by an EEA member state or Switzerland
  • 3 years of experience as a teacher in the EEA member state, or Switzerland, that recognised your qualification

EEA nationals recognised in the EEA but only qualified to teach pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND) can apply for partial qualified teacher status. With partial qualified teacher status, you can 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, please contact qts.enquiries@education.gov.uk.

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

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.

Arrangements after Brexit

There will be no retrospective change for people already awarded QTS, or partial QTS, before exit day, in either a deal or no deal.

Arrangements if there’s a no-deal Brexit

If you’re already recognised in the EEA or Switzerland, and you have applied for QTS recognition before exit day, then you’ll be able to continue your application under the previous system as far as possible.

If you want to apply for QTS after EU exit day, then you need to:

  • show you obtained your professional training mainly within the EEA or Switzerland
  • show your teaching qualification is recognised or required by a competent authority within the EEA or Switzerland
  • provide a letter of professional standing from a competent authority, or other relevant body, in the EEA country, or Switzerland, where you’re recognised - the letter should:
    • confirm that you’re recognised as a qualified teacher in that EEA country or Switzerland
    • show you’re not subject to any restrictions
    • be dated within 3 months prior to application

Teachers who are EEA nationals and are only qualified to teach pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND) will no longer be able to apply, after exit, for partial QTS in England.

Arrangements if we leave the EU with a deal

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal that contains an implementation period, there will be no change to arrangements for EEA and Swiss nationals to apply for QTS recognition during that time. Arrangements after the implementation period are subject to further negotiations between the UK and EU.

Teachers qualified in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA

If you qualified in Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, you should apply for the award of QTS before you can work as a qualified teacher in England.

To submit your application:

  • use the QTS online application form
  • send a letter confirming that you’re qualified and eligible to teach permanently in the country in question - only letters from the recognised authority will be accepted for this purpose

We’ll then verify that you’re a fully qualified teacher in Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA 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 Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA will be held on the database of qualified teachers in England.

Find out more about teaching in England.

Teachers qualified in other countries

If you trained in a country outside the UK, EEA or Switzerland, other than Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, you will normally need to complete an accredited training programme in England to get QTS and take up 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.

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

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, excluding UK bank holidays.

Published 15 April 2014
Last updated 3 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. Added information for teachers recognised in the EEA or Switzerland on arrangements after Brexit.

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

  3. New online application form available.

  4. First published.