Unqualified Teacher Routes

Assessment Only QTS

There are options for experienced unqualified teachers to receive the QTS designation through a formal assessment process. This would be a suitable route for an unqualified teacher who consistently meets the teaching standards at a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ trainee standard. The unqualified teacher would apply for the assessment only route. The cost is around £2,500. This route is an assessment process only and not a training or CPD provision.

N.B. Some candidates will apply and not be accepted. For example, the current NCTL expectations for teacher qualification still apply and so it is unlikely that an unqualified teacher without the qualifications required for a route into teaching would be accepted onto the QTS assessment process.

Requirements for unqualified teacher ‘assessment only’ route.

• 2:2 degree as a minimum (2:1 or above preferred).
• Secondary – GCSE Maths, English at A*-C (must be GCSE or iGCSE – not numeracy / literacy etc.)
• Primary – GCSE Maths, English, Science at A*-C (must be GCSE or iGCSE – not numeracy / literacy etc.)
• Degree in a national curriculum area (primary) or in the subject they are employed to teach in (secondary)
• Candidate must be judged by school to be consistently meeting the teaching standards at ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ level – some elements of RI are permitted where it is clear that the candidate has the capacity to improve to at least ‘good’ within a term.
• Candidate must have at least 2 years teaching experience in at least 2 schools.
• Teachers must be timetabled to teach across 2 key stages
• Candidates must be employed as ‘the teacher’ (not support staff) for at least 50% of their timetable. Within that 50% (for secondary) 80%+ should be in their subject area.
• School willing to provide support – mentor meeting weekly during assessment period (usually 1 term), release joint observations with assessment tutor, access to school professional studies programme alongside PGCE etc.
• Candidate should have passed or be confident to pass the national teacher skills tests for literacy and numeracy.

What if my unqualified teacher does not meet this criteria?

This is the current criteria for QTS as stipulated by NCTL. Candidates who do not have the required academic background would not be able to access QTS in its current form.

Academy teachers are not required to hold QTS. Therefore in theory the teacher could stay doing the role they are employed to do, on the understanding that there are likely to be restrictions to their longer term career progression.

The school should develop its own CPD programme to address the unqualified teacher’s training needs as they exist within their own role, in order to improve their practice. Remember that Ofsted do not consider unqualified teachers any differently to qualified teachers.

The school might enable flexible working – for example working part time whilst a candidate does their degree.

Alternative routes to enable career progression (such as HLTA) might be more suitable for some unqualified teachers.

What if my candidate is nearly there, but not quite?

Candidates could use the criteria to self-evaluate and schools could use this information to formulate a training plan for their unqualified teachers so that they work towards qualification.


Candidate A has everything on the list, but has a D grade for GCSE Maths – the school might support the candidate to access a GCSE Maths course (lessons) or act as an exam centre for the exam.

Candidate B meets all criteria but has only worked in one school – the school might arrange a ‘swap’ with an unqualified teacher in another school for a couple of terms in order to help both candidates meet this criteria.

Candidate C has potential but has areas which require improvement in their teaching. Here the school might appoint a mentor to observe, joint plan, provide feedback etc.

Ready to apply?

There are a number of providers of QTS only routes. Contact your local university for further details.

If you are based in the Oasis North region or are from another region but have a group of suitable candidates who have already been checked against the criteria, the Teaching School may be able to support you through this process. Please contact hello@oasisinnovation.com for more information.

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