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To QTS or QTLS that is the question?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding what is required to be a qualified teacher in UK schools these days as the traditional PGCE route along with QTLS training in schools was deregulated and funding removed by the serving UK conservative government a few years ago. Now you don’t legally have to take an in-service PGCE  to work in some UK schools, in fact to become a qualified teacher in any academy or mainstream school all you need to do is pass our Level 5 Diploma  in Education and Training and obtain QTS or QTLS to  become a fully qualified teacher. You can start from zero if you only have GCSE qualifications and jump onto our (AET) Level 3 Award in Education and Training then when completed sign up for our (CET) Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training once you have achieved this milestone you will have a degree level qualification and you then just need to secure some voluntary or paid teaching work and sign up for our (DET) Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training. Once the DET certificate has been obtained through the NCFE our awarding partner you can then seek employment in a school. If you land a job in a mainstream school the school can sponsor you for QTS and you would work with a local partner college or university to gain the QTS certificate. The UK Academy sector doesn’t have any entry requirements for dual professionals joining their schools as long as you commit to train as a teacher as part of your CPD either on the CET or DET courses. There is a slight variation in private maintained schools as the professional benchmark for teachers in these schools is now the QTLS. Again once the DET certificate is obtained from us you can sign up to the QTLS program via the Society of Education and Training to achieve your UK QTLS status. The original QTLS as we used to know it was discontinued by the UK conservative government as something that was no longer required in UK schools. It is now a CPD route that is reviewed by inspectors of teachers working in non maintained schools. 

Other changes in 2015 by the UK conservative government consultation concluded and it was found that deregulation of regulated qualifications would occur so there is no longer a QCF framework or GLH’s applied to any UK qualifications. Now we have a new RQF framework and this includes TQT as a requirement through Ofqual not GLH this now defines regulated qualifications further to this consultation. For more information on changes to regulated qualifications please visit here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/after-the-qcf-a-new-qualifications-framework 


You require qualified teacher status (QTS) or the new (QTLS) to take up a teaching post in England in a: 

  • Government maintained primary school 
  • Government maintained secondary school
  • Government maintained special school

Maintained schools form part of the state-funded schools system in England (including primary, secondary and special schools for pupils with special educational needs). In maintained schools funding and oversight is generally through the local authority. The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) is the competent authority in England for the teaching profession. On behalf of the Secretary of State they are responsible for the award of QTS. Once you have QTS, and are employed to teach in a maintained school in England or Wales, you will be paid under the school teachers’ pay scales around £27000 for entry level teachers. You will be subject to the performance management arrangements in schools in the same way as any other qualified teacher. 

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). QTS awarded by the EWC is automatically 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 to take up a teaching post in a maintained school or non-maintained special school in England. Overseas trained teachers (OTTs) who qualified outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) who have gained recognition as a teacher in either Scotland or Northern Ireland can also apply for QTS in England. 

EEA nationals 

If an EEA member state recognises you as a qualified school teacher you can apply for QTS in 

England under the terms of Council Directive 2005/36/EC. If you trained outside the EEA you can also apply for QTS in England. An EEA member state need to recognise your qualifications and you will need 3 years of experience as a teacher in that state. Swiss nationals are also eligible to apply for QTS in England. From the 19 December 2016 teachers who are recognised in the EEA but who are only qualified to teach pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can apply for partial qualified teacher status in England. A teacher with partial qualified teacher status can be appointed to a qualified teacher post in a special school or to teach pupils in a specialist unit in mainstream schools. Partial qualified teacher status also exempts a teacher from the requirement to serve a statutory induction period in England. This change is due to an amendment to Council Directive 2005/36/EC. EU Member States must recognise qualifications when they entitle a professional to work in specific areas of a regulated profession. If you’re not sure if you’re eligible please contact qts.enquiries@education.gov.uk. 

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