Overseas Trained Teachers

The Four year rule

Overseas applicants do not need QTS to teach in maintained schools in England for the first 4 years of their stay in the UK. This exemption known as the ‘4-year rule’, 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.

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

Exemptions for instructors

Overseas teachers do not need QTS to teach if they are employed as instructors teaching vocational subjects that require special qualifications or experience. It is up to the school to decide whether an overseas teacher is suitable for an instructor role.

Apply for qualified teacher status in England

Overseas trained teachers who meet the eligibility criteria can apply for QTS via  a new online service: apply-for-qts-in-england.education.gov

Other routes to QTS for overseas teachers

If you’re not eligible to use the service, you may be able to:

i) Apply for initial teacher training in England

ii) Apply for international qualified teacher status (iQTS)

iQTS is suitable for aspiring or inexperienced teachers who are located outside of England and who wish to train abroad to English standards with a DfE-accredited teacher training provider. iQTS is recognised by the UK government as meeting the same standards as English qualified teacher status. If the  qualification is successfully completed, it leads to QTS.

iii) Apply for assessment only QTS
Teachers who qualified or gained experience overseas ( including teachers working in England under the 4-year rule) can apply for assessment only QTS.

Gaining QTS to teach in England

If your application using the new service is successful, your qualifications and experience will be recognised as meeting the same standard as QTS and you will be awarded QTS. You will need to find a school to employ you and to ensure you have an appropriate visa to teach in the UK.

Applicants with a teaching qualification from the following countries and regions can use the new service to check they meet the requirements for QTS and apply:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • the EEA
  • Gibraltar
  • Guernsey
  • Hong Kong
  • Jersey
  • New Zealand
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • the USA

Applicants with a subject specialism in languages, mathematics or science and a qualification to teach 11 to 16 year olds from the following 7 countries can use the service to check if they meet the requirements for QTS and apply:

  • Ghana
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Nigeria
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Zimbabwe

The DfE intends to expand the service so teachers from around the world can use it to check their eligibility and apply for QTS.

To be awarded QTS as a non-UK teacher, you must:

  • have an undergraduate degree of the same academic standard as a UK bachelor’s degree, as verified by UK ENIC, the UK national agency for international qualifications and skills
  • have completed teacher training that meets the standard of a level 6 qualification and is of at least the same length as an English initial teacher training course – for example, a Bachelor of Education or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • have completed a course with content that is practically and pedagogically focused
  • be qualified to teach children aged between 5 and 16 years
  • have at least one school year (a minimum of 9 months including school holidays but excluding time out taken for any other reason) of professional experience working as a teacher after qualifying
  • have the professional status needed to be a teacher in the country where you qualified, and not be subject to any conditions or restrictions on your practice
  • meet a certain standard of English language proficiency

There are additional requirements if you are a teacher with a qualification from Ghana, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa or Zimbabwe, you will need:

  • a teaching qualification that meets the standard of a level 6 qualification qualifying you to teach children aged 11 to 16 in mathematics, languages or science
  • a teaching qualification that meets the standard of a level 6 qualification qualifying you to teach children aged 11 to 16, and a bachelor’s degree made up of at least 50% mathematics, science or a language (excluding English) taught in English state schools, for example: French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish.

Overseas teachers who no longer meet the criteria for QTS under the new system

Some overseas teachers who were previously eligible to apply to the Teaching Regulation Agency for QTS may no longer meet the requirements for training and experience. Teachers who do not meet the criteria for QTS can obtain it by applying to train to teach in England.

Induction for overseas teachers

Once awarded QTS, overseas teachers who come to England with less than 2 school years’ experience will complete statutory induction and undertake a development programme based on the Early Career Framework.

Teachers from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales

Exceptions apply to the devolved nations. Teachers who trained and qualified in Scotland and Northern Ireland do not need to demonstrate the same criteria as teachers using the apply for qualified teacher status in England service. They only need to supply evidence of their teaching qualification to the Teaching Regulation Agency. Teachers who qualified in Wales will continue to hold QTS automatically.

For additional QTS queries email: teach.inengland@education.gov.uk

For help with an application, if you’re eligible for QTS email: qts.enquiries@education.gov.uk