What is QTS?

Ben Maples  · Jun 17th 2022

If you are looking to become a teacher, you need to make sure that you have all the correct qualifications. A QTS is one of the most essential certifications for those looking to work in education.


If you are looking to teach at a school in England or Wales, you need to have QTS. This is a certification that is pretty easy to apply for and can be done either alongside your postgraduate teaching qualification or can be done after you graduate.

It’s up to you when you apply. It doesn’t need to be done immediately, but it is recommended that you receive your certification before you apply for your first job.


What is QTS?

QTS is qualified teacher status, a teaching certification. In order to become a teacher in state schools, special education schools or under local authorities in England or Wales, you will need to have qualified teacher status.

While the QTS is needed in England and Wales, it does not exist in either Scotland or Northern Ireland. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, you are required to hold a relevant teaching qualification, generally, a PGCE, a PGDE or a Bachelor of Education and are required to register with either the General Teaching Council for Scotland or the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland.

Previously, prospective teachers had to complete the graduate teacher programme (GTP). However, this has since been shut down in England and Wales and is no longer recognised.

Some academies and free schools may not require QTS.

How to apply for QTS?

Simply studying a postgraduate teacher training course does not automatically grant you a QTS. You will need to submit your QTS application through the Teaching Regulation Agency, the agency that handles QTS certificates and who will provide you with your QTS application form.

In order to apply, the QTS requirements are:

  • Copies of your teaching qualifications.
  • Evidence that you are a qualified teacher.
  • IDs (passports, driver's license).

Some teachers from abroad will need to apply for QTS. Specifically, teachers who are travelling from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States will need QTS.

It is also possible to use a SCITT course to receive certification. SCITT courses generally lead into a QTS (which is why they are often referred to as a QTS course) and will give you practical teaching experience and training in a local school.

Why do I need a QTS certificate?

The QTS certificate proves your ability to work and teach in England and Wales. Most schools tend to use the QTS as a means to gauge just how knowledgeable a candidate is about teaching and gives an insight into the level of study you are familiar with, your qualifications and your adaptability.

If you teach STEM subjects, you can also receive further support and training. These will be local training opportunities aimed at enhancing your skills, and assist in aiding teachers who are looking for work visas. You will also have access to professional support and help with transitioning into the school system.

QTS certification also makes it much easier to join the Teachers' Pension Scheme. This is a government scheme that offers retiring teachers a better pension and retirement benefits.


What schools require you to have QTS?

Most schools will require you to have QTS. Not all schools do, as some private schools may have their own internal recruitment policies that do not require a QTS or any other teacher certification.

You must legally have QTS to work at:

  • Voluntary schools.
  • Foundation schools.
  • State schools.

Some academies and free schools may not require QTS. If the school is within the framework of the English State Sectors of Education, then they may not require you to have the certification, although you may need another teaching certificate.

QTS is qualified teacher status, a teaching certification.

How do I get QTS?

Most postgraduate teacher training courses lead to QTS in England and Wales. If you have an undergraduate degree in a specific area and then decide to take a recognised teaching qualification at a postgraduate level, then the chances are that it will automatically grant you the ability to apply for QTS.

Despite this, you do still need to meet other requirements. Specifically, you need to have a minimum of a C grade or a level 4 in A-Level and GCSE Mathematics and English. Those looking to become a primary school teacher will also need a level 4 or grade C minimum in Science.

Is it possible to gain QTS through an assessment-only programme?

As long as you have the right teaching experience, it is possible to gain QTS through an assessment-only programme.

You will need to meet the following criteria:

  • You have already been employed as an unqualified teacher for at least two years.
  • You have trained overseas as a qualified teacher.
  • Have taught children between the ages of one and three in an English school.
  • Have worked at two schools.
  • Have in-depth knowledge of the English curriculum.

Most universities will offer school-centred initial teacher training assessment only programmes. You do not need a postgraduate qualification to study.

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