Overseas Trained Teachers

The Four year rule

Overseas teachers can teach in maintained schools and non-maintained special schools in England without qualified teacher status (QTS) for up to 4 years. This is called the ‘4-year rule’.

It is illegal for overseas qualified teachers to continue working as a teacher in a maintained school or non-maintained special school in England for longer than 4 years without QTS.

The 4-year rule applies to overseas teachers who meet all of the following conditions:

  • they have qualified as a teacher in a country outside of the UK
  • they have completed a course of teacher training which is recognised by the competent authority of that country
  • they are employed in maintained schools and non-maintained special schools.

Overseas teachers cannot teach in the following settings, for any period of time, unless they are doing employment-based teacher training leading to QTS:

  • pupil referral units (PRUs)
  • alternative provision academies
  • alternative provision free schools

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

Further details can be found at: www.gov.uk

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

Overseas teachers who qualified in Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, should apply for QTS before  working as a qualified teacher in England. You are still required to satisfy any UK Border Agency requirements that may apply for the purposes of entering or remaining in the UK to work as a teacher.

You need to send a letter to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) confirming that you are qualified and eligible to teach permanently in the country in question. The TRA  will only accept letters from the recognised authorities.

The TRA verifies your qualifications and that you have not been barred from teaching. If you pass these checks, you’ll be issued with a letter confirming the award of QTS.

Further details can be found at: www.gov.uk

Teachers trained in the EU

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 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.  Note it may take up to 4 months to process your application.

For further details contact: [email protected].

Details about applying for QTS from 1 January 2021 can be found at:  www.gov.uk

Teachers trained in countries outside the EU

Teachers trained in countries outside of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, need to complete an accredited teacher training course in England to obtain QTS and take up a permanent teaching post.

Details about teacher training courses can be found at: Get into teaching

Applying for QTS

Overseas Teachers must apply to the Teaching Regulation Agency for the award of QTS before you can be recognised as qualified teachers. Further details and  application forms can be downloaded from: www.gov.uk

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

Please see the following files for further useful information:

Useful Contacts for Overseas Trained Teachers (pdf format)
Frequently Asked Questions (pdf format)