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, EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, 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 from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

Nationals from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland can apply for QTS. You need to:

  • have teaching qualifications from an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland
  • be recognised as a qualified school teacher in one of these countries

Nationals from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, with qualifications from outside one of these countries can also apply for QTS. You need to have:

  • your teaching qualifications recognised by an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland
  • 3 years of experience as a teacher in the EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, that recognised your qualifications

Nationals from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, who are recognised in one of these countries but are 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. Find out how to access your individual teacher records.

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 qualified in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA

If you qualified in Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, you should apply for 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

Teachers who trained in a country outside the UK, EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, other than 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.

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 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. Confirmation of the application process for QTS for teachers from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland up to 1 January 2021.

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

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

  4. New online application form available.

  5. First published.