Overseas Trained Teachers

I am working as a teacher at a Primary school and trained overseas.  I have been here for three and a half years and need to get QTS. The Designated Recommended Body (DRB) have told me I need GCSE Science – What do I do?

An alternative to taking a GCSE in science with a group of pupils is to take an equivalency test. London South Bank University (as the DRB) provide these in science (and also in mathematics). Contact the administrator for the Overseas Trained Teacher (OTT) programme for more information.

To prepare for the test, there are revision books for GCSE readily available (e.g. Letts Revision guides) and very useful websites that will help you to prepare such as the GCSE Bitesize Section of the BBC Website.

I am a trained teacher from a country not in the European Economic Area (EAA) and I am currently working as a dinner lady in a school. What would be the best way to validate my certificates and go back into teaching?

The National Academic Recognition Centre (NARIC) website (external link) will help you to find out if your qualifications are equivalent to those available in the UK.

The Overseas Trained Teacher Programme offers training to teachers from outside the EEA who are working as unqualified teachers in a school in England. You will find some useful information by visiting the Department of Education Website (external link).

I am a teacher, trained in Poland. Do I need to gain QTS?

Teachers who trained within the EEA may be eligible for QTS without further assessment. You are eligible to apply to the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) to have your qualifications and teaching experience assessed and validated to give you Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in this country.  To download an application form and for more information visit the Registration Section of the General Teaching Council Website (external link).



I am an Overseas Trained Teacher (OTT) not from the European Union (EU) and I have just started working as a teacher in a Royal Borough school. I have heard that I have 4 years in which to gain Qualified Teacher Status. If I don’t gain QTS in 4 years, is it true that I will be then be unable to teach in a Maintained school?

Yes, this is true. Until you gain QTS, you will be paid as an unqualified teacher and you cannot teach in a Pupil Referral Unit (short stay unit).

To gain QTS you need to have your qualifications checked to confirm that they are equivalent to the qualifications required by teachers in the UK. Then you must apply to an Overseas Trained Teacher Programme which will be a highly personalised programme of development. Gaining QTS will require you to build a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that you have met the Professional Standards for teachers. You can find the standards at the Professional Standards Section of the Training and Development Agency Website (external link).

All OTTs teaching in a maintained school or a non-maintained special school must be provisionally registered with the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE)

Please read further advice below:

1. You should seek clarification from the National Academic Recognition Centre (NARIC) Website (external link) as to whether your qualifications are equivalent to:

  • a UK first degree
  • GCSE English and Maths at Grade C or better (and also a Science GCSE Grade C or above if you are a primary teacher)
  • a recognised teaching qualification

(This can take a while so it is good to get on to this straight away)

2.You will need to provisionally register with the General Teaching Council for England. You can find guidance on how to do this at the Registration Section of the General Teaching Council Website (external link).

3. You must begin to build up a portfolio of evidence against the standards (including your lesson observations). It is also useful to read the QTS Portfolio Guidance for achieving QTS and Successfully Completing Induction. Previous OTTs found this helped to identify suitable evidence to include in the portfolio (bearing in mind that 1 piece of evidence can cover a range of standards).

4. When you apply to gain QTS, you can request to be assessed against the Core (C) standards [PDF] (file size 678.23 Kb) at the same time as the QTS (Q) standards [PDF] (file size 329.31Kb). If you have the requisite experience and evidence to draw upon, this will mean that you do not have to pass through Induction (you are gaining QTS and passing Induction at the same time). If you have taught in a number of schools and key stages, this may apply.

5. The Royal Borough has an advice sheet for Headteachers which the Border Agency advice about recruiting overseas  teachers. There is a named person in the LA to contact about any UK Border Agency queries.

6. Advice on the 4 year rule can be found in the OTT What you need to know [PDF] (file size 67.14Kb).

Is it true that Overseas Trained Teachers (OTTs) cannot teach in a Pupil Referral Unit (Short Stay Unit)?

If you are an OTT and have not gained QTS within 4 years of starting teaching in an English school, you cannot teach in a PRU. Until you gain QTS you are an Unqualified Teacher, paid on the Unqualified Teacher Scale. Unqualified Teachers are not allowed to teach in PRUs as they are considered to be trainee teachers. Once you have gained QTS, you need to pass induction before you can teach in a PRU. You cannot complete Induction in a PRU.

Is it true that there is an Assessment Only route for OTTs to QTS?

There was a recent regulatory change (early 2010) which now gives the powers for a person to be recognised as a qualified teacher via an assessment only route, i.e. based on a portfolio of evidence. The next stage is for training providers to design this type of provision (currently there are no assessment only routes as they were not recognised until December 09) and for the DCSF to agree the terms and conditions.  This will not happen before September 2010 at the earliest. Therefore, there is no provision at the moment for an OTT to use this route.