Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is required in England and Wales to become, and continue being, a teacher of children in the state and special education sectors. Similar statuses exist in the rest of the United Kingdom (Scotland and Northern Ireland), but under different names.
An undergraduate degree and some form of teacher training is compulsory for new QTS recipients. The most common way to achieve QTS is for those who already have a degree to undertake a postgraduate teacher training course, such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), Professional Certificate in Education or employment-based training, such as the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP). There are also some undergraduate degree qualifications, such as the Bachelor of Education, that lead to the award of a first degree and QTS. In England only, candidates must also pass the QTS Skills Tests. All candidates must have GCSEs at grade C or above (or demonstrate an equivalent standard) in English, Mathematics and, for primary trainees only, Science before embarking on teacher training.
All training which leads to Qualified Teacher Status requires trainees to train across at least two key consecutive pupil age ranges as defined in the Secretary of State's Requirements for Initial Teacher Training. The age ranges are:
The General Teaching Council for England and General Teaching Council for Wales maintain all registrations, as well as issuing QTS certificates (a task previously undertaken by the Department for Education and Skills).
QTS is technically only recognised in the country it was awarded (England or Wales), but teachers can normally apply for QTS in the other country with relative ease. QTS is also recognised by many other countries once the relevant paperwork has been completed. Teachers trained outside England and Wales must also apply to be awarded QTS if they wish to teach in England and Wales.
After having been awarded QTS teachers must normally still pass an induction period (previously called 'probation') – normally their first year of teaching. Those who fail the induction still retain their QTS, but cannot teach in state-run schools. The induction period normally lasts a year (three school terms). Such teachers are often known as a Newly Qualified Teacher or NQT.
Not all European Union qualifications have been officially recognised yet, so confirm with your education establishment as to whether your qualifications are acceptable, or need to go through the recognition process.
Your land or origin may well have an office whose purpose is translation and confirmation / recognition of qualifications. Again if in doubt seek advice by ringing the General Teaching Council to see if such confirmation is required.
QTS as such does not exist in Scotland or Northern Ireland. However, like in England and Wales, all teachers in Scotland and Northern Ireland are required to register with either the General Teaching Council for Scotland or the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland; the General Teaching Councils will only consider graduates with a teaching qualifications (such as the PGCE or PGDE) for registration.
In Scotland a one-year probation period (equivalent to induction in England and Wales) must be completed.
Those holding English or Welsh QTS (or an equivalent from another country) must apply for registration with the relevant General Teaching Council. Each case is considered individually and even those with English or Welsh QTS are not guaranteed to be allowed to teach in Scotland or Northern Ireland.