About the Assessment Only (AO) route

Assessment Only is an alternative route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) that allows you to be independently assessed against the English Teachers’ Standards and on successful completion, be awarded QTS.

This route is aimed at school staff with a degree and significant teaching experience who can demonstrate that they already meet the English Teachers’ Standards without the need for any additional preparation. The Assessment Only route can take as little as 12 weeks to complete and gives you the opportunity to become a qualified teacher without leaving your current school.

If you need some additional preparation before undertaking the Assessment Only process, you might want to consider our Straight to Teaching programme.

Course Delivery

You will need to allow approximately 12 weeks to complete the Assessment Only route.

As an approved Assessment Only provider, Tes Institute will assess you in your current school where you will need to present detailed evidence that demonstrates your teaching meets the Teachers’ Standards.

A Tes Institute Pathway Tutor will visit you in school, performing lesson observations and reviewing your portfolio of evidence in order to verify that you meet the criteria before recommending you for QTS assessment.

At the assessment, the independent assessor will observe lessons and scrutinise your portfolio of evidence and, if you’re successful, recommend you for QTS. The DfE will award QTS based on our assessor’s recommendation. 

Entry Criteria for Assessment Only

Tes Institute currently offers Assessment Only in:

  • Primary (age ranges 3-7, 5-11 and 7-11)
  • All main secondary subjects (age ranges 11-16, 11-18 or 14-19)
  • Other subjects may be available on request

To achieve QTS via the Assessment Only route, you’ll need to:

  • Be employed in a school in a teaching role by the time you start the programme
  • Hold a degree from a UK higher education institution or equivalent qualification
  • Have undertaken at least two years teaching experience that includes evidence of planning, marking, assessing and reporting on pupils’ work
  • Have complied a comprehensive portfolio of evidence that demonstrates that you meet the English Teachers’ Standards
  • Provide supporting evidence of having taught in at least two contrasting schools
  • Evidence that you meet the QTS Standards across a minimum of two consecutive age ranges for your chosen teaching specialism
  • Be able to demonstrate that you have the appropriate intellectual and academic capabilities and personal qualities, attitudes, ethics and values
  • Have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively in standard English
  • Have been subject to and passed the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and criminal/other records check
  • Have completed a Health and Fitness declaration  
  • Have taken and passed the professional skills test in literacy and numeracy

Programme start dates

Application deadline Start date
17th September 2018 5th November 2018
12th November 2018 7th January 2019
21st December 2018 25th February 2019
25th February 2019 23rd April 2019
22nd April 2019 3rd June 2019
10th June 2019 9th September 2019

We strongly recommend that you submit your completed application as soon as possible to secure your preferred start date. Applications received after the deadlines above will be pushed into the next available start date.

Programme fees and funding

Programme Total fee Fee without VAT
Assessment Only £3,600 £3,000


Fees are quoted inclusive of VAT. Subject to exceptions, VAT will be chargeable at the rate of 20 per cent. Where the school, rather than the individual agrees to pay all or part of the tuition fee they may be able to recover VAT. Schools may consider meeting the tuition fee and making their own arrangements, if they wish to do so, with the individual concerned.

A Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL) could help you gain QTS

You can apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL) to help cover the cost of the programme. A PCDL is a commercial bank loan and is very different to grants or bursaries as it must be repaid even if you don’t finish your course. These loans are available for up to 24 months and can be used to help you become a qualified teacher. The loan can cover programme fees, living expenses and other associated costs depending on your circumstances.

Repayments will start a month after you complete or leave the Assessment Only programme. The government will pay the interest during the programme and for one month after you leave. For further information on PCDLs visit Professional and Career Development Loans.

Please note: Professional and Career Development Loans will close to new borrowers in 2019. The final date for submitted applications will be Friday 25 January 2019, with a course start date no later than the 24th March 2019. Existing loans will not be affected.

Get in touch

Our enrolment team will need to speak to you to discuss your experience and eligibility for joining the programme before you can apply. They’ll be able to talk you through the programme in more detail and provide advice based on your current teaching experience.

Submit an enquiry form by clicking 'Get Advice' and we’ll contact you to discuss the programme further.