Overseas Trained Teachers

The Four year rule

Qualified teachers from outside the UK are allowed to teach in England for up to 4 years without qualified teacher status (QTS), this includes schools where QTS is normally a legal requirement.

To be eligible for the 4-year rule, you will need to have:

  • qualified as a teacher in a country outside the UK
  • successfully completed a course of teacher training recognised by the organisation that regulates teachers in the country where you qualified.

You can apply for any vacancy that you feel qualified for and discuss gaining QTS at interview. Please note that London Borough of Newham does not recruit directly from overseas.

The 4-year rule exemption does not apply to pupil referral units (PRUs), alternative provision academies, or alternative provision free schools, where QTS is required from the beginning of your employment. Further details can be found at: www.gov.uk


Apply for qualified teacher status (QTS)

There are 3 main routes to QTS, your eligibility for each route will depend on where you qualified, and whether you already have teaching experience.

You can obtain QTS by:

  • applying to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA)
  • undergoing an assessment to demonstrate you meet the standards for QTS
  • completing a teacher training course in England.


Applying to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA)

You can apply for QTS to the Teaching Regulation Agency if:

  • you have a teaching qualification from: the European Economic Area (EEA)) Gibraltar, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, the USA;
  • you can submit evidence that you are recognised as a teacher in the country where you qualified;
  • you are not prohibited or restricted from teaching by a professional sanction against you.

Evidence can include documents that show your official status as a teacher from the organisation that regulates teachers in the country where you qualified.

You are not required to do any further teacher training, or undergo an assessment, to get QTS via this route.

Teachers with a special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) qualification only

Teachers with a qualification limited to SEND pupils are not eligible to apply for QTS to the Teaching Regulation Agency, even if they qualified in the European Economic Area (EEA), Gibraltar, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland or the USA.

SEND teachers can apply for QTS through the assessment only route, or by applying for a teacher training course in England. These routes are open to SEND teachers from anywhere in the world. Further information can be found at: www.gov.uk

If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible to apply to the Teaching Regulation Agency for QTS, contact [email protected]


Assessment only QTS to demonstrate you meet the standards for qualified teacher status

If you have a teaching qualification from a country which is not part of the European Economic Area (EEA), and is not Gibraltar, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland or the USA, Assessment Only QTS may be the most appropriate route for you.

Assessment Only QTS means experienced teachers with a degree can gain QTS without doing a teacher training programme. You can apply to a UK government-approved teacher training provider in England for an assessment showing you meet the standards for  QTS. You do not need to visit the UK to be assessed and gain QTS. Alternatively, if you come to England to teach under the 4-year rule, you’ll be able to apply to a teacher training provider offering Assessment Only QTS in the region of England where you work.

Further details about the Assessment Only route can be found at: Assessment Only QTS.


Complete a teacher training course in England leading to QTS.

All non-UK citizens can apply to train to teach in England. Train to teach in England: non- UK applicants explains the academic qualifications and visa you will need, and how to apply for a teacher training course.

Visit the UK government’s Get Into Teaching, to learn more about teacher training in England, and register with the UK government’s Get an advisor service for personalised advice about teaching in England.

For further information about Teaching in England please see: www.gov.uk