A Headteacher’s guide to Straight to Teaching

TES Institute Team

26th May 2016 at 13:15

Grow your own qualified teachers: a Headteacher’s guide to Straight to Teaching

Straight to Teaching is a tailor-made, Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) development programme designed to help schools take control of their teacher shortages by upskilling and rewarding existing staff members with the opportunity to gain QTS.

Whilst it shares similarities to traditional teacher training courses, Straight to Teaching is a unique professional development course that takes into account someone’s existing teaching experience, and can help teachers gain QTS in as little as one term*.

Since the first Straight to Teaching programme in 2013, hundreds of Teaching Assistants (TA), High Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA) and unqualified teachers have chosen TES Institute’s Straight to Teaching route as a way to become a qualified teacher.

To help explain the benefits of this versus the traditional routes into teaching, we’ve created this short guide for Headteachers that answers the most common questions posed by a member of staff interested in gaining QTS through Straight to Teaching.

How is the programme length decided?

Every Straight to Teaching programme is tailored to the staff member (learner) and built in partnership with the school; providing the learner with a programme fits their experience and allows the school and Headteacher to have an input in the learners’ development.

The learner will receive an initial programme length estimate after they submit their application. Once the school has confirmed their support for the learner, a Pathway Tutor will visit the school and undertake a detailed assessment to evaluate the extent to which your member of staff currently meets the QTS Teachers’ Standards. Based on this the tutor will design and develop a personalised QTS preparation plan with input from both the learner and the school.

What commitment is required from the school?

Your school will need to be able to provide the learner with the appropriate amount of teaching hours and an in-school mentor to monitor and guide the learners’ progress.

Teaching must be with full classes (whatever is usual in your school) and must cover two consecutive age ranges in their chosen subject(s). If the learner is not already teaching between 50% - 80% of a full-time teachers timetable, they will need to gradually build up their teaching hours  during the programme. By the time the learner is assessed for QTS, they should have evidence of at least 400 hours of teaching experience and be judged as achieving the QTS Teachers’ Standards through formal lesson observations and a portfolio of evidence.

If the learner has not worked in another school they will also need to complete a second school teaching placement of at least 20 days. In order to minimise the disruption to the classroom you can spread the learner’s second school placement across the programme if required. If you cannot release the learner for 20 consecutive days to complete their contrasting second school placement, we recommend a placement that is one or two days a week (until the full 20 days have been completed). It is also important that the learner is teaching the same classes each week and building relationships with the pupils as part of their second school placement.

The learner would also need a suitable school mentor. This should be someone who has experience working with trainee teachers or NQTs and should be capable of guiding the learner’s development toward meeting the Teachers’ Standards. Whilst the mentor will have support from the nominated TES Institute Pathway Tutor, they will need to meet with the learner on a regular basis (ideally weekly) to provide feedback on their development, set targets and conduct formal lesson observations.

Funding and fees for a Straight to Teaching QTS programme

The cost of a Straight to Teaching course will depend on the length of the programme, which ultimately depends on the extent that the learner currently meets the Teachers’ Standards. Whilst the course isn’t eligible for initial teacher training bursaries or funding, a learner can apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL), a Government backed scheme available through commercial High Street banks. If the school decides to contribute to part or the entire course fee as a way of investing in their staff, they may be able to recover VAT. Payments can be spread monthly, termly or paid in full at the start of the programme.

Do you need to employ the learner as an unqualified teacher?

Your staff member’s employment contract or status does not need to change during the programme. If they are a Teaching Assistant, for example, they can remain employed as one but must be given the additional hours of teaching time. They don’t need to be employed as an unqualified teacher, unless the school wants to.

Once the learner has successfully gained QTS it is up to the school to decide whether they want to employ them as a qualified teacher. TES Institute does not get involved with employment discussions or contracts between the school and the learner. 

How does the school benefit from Straight to Teaching?

Straight to Teaching can help you take control of your teacher shortages by utilising existing school staff rather than recruiting from outside the school, which in some areas of the UK is becoming increasingly difficult. The programme helps you to develop a teacher that is the right fit for the school and shows that you want to invest in your staff.

As Straight to Teaching can be completed in your school your staff member won’t have to leave the school to gain QTS, which they would normally have to do if they chose a traditional teacher training route. It also takes into account their existing teaching experience, which means the course could be cheaper and take less time than traditional teacher training. 

Why choose TES Institute?

Since launching the programme in November 2013, we have helped hundreds of school staff onto the path to become a qualified teacher through our Straight to Teaching QTS programme. TES Institute provides a range of teacher training and development programmes, from subject knowledge enhancement and teacher training through to CPD programmes. Because of this we have a wealth of experience in developing and training teachers.

Finding out more about Straight to Teaching

If you have any questions about the programme or TES Institute one of our enrolment team will be able to help if you call 0203 194 3200 or email institute@tesglobal.com.


*Dependent on existing teaching experience and the programme director’s approval. Eligibility criteria apply