About the Straight to Teaching QTS preparation course

Straight to Teaching is a high quality, low-cost alternative to initial teacher training that is completely personalised to you and your school.

This unique, online and in-school professional development programme is delivered as QTS preparation followed by application for the Assessment Only (AO) route to gaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). It takes into consideration your existing school and teaching experience*, which means you could become a qualified teacher in less than one academic year – depending on your existing evidence and experience.  

Straight to Teaching is aimed at suitable school staff (such as unqualified teachers, high level teaching assistants or teaching assistants) who have been teaching pupils* and want to become fully qualified teachers. The programme supports and prepares you in your existing school to meet the English Teachers’ Standards, providing you with the opportunity to prepare a portfolio of evidence and to demonstrate that you meet the QTS requirements before you start the Assessment Only process.

Experienced teachers

If you already have at least two years teaching experience**, you may be eligible to go straight to assessment via our Assessment Only (AO) route, which assesses you for QTS in as little as 12 weeks.

Read more about our Assessment Only programme

Available in any school in England, or internationally if the school follows the English national curriculum, the Straight to Teaching QTS preparation programme and Assessment Only route are designed to put more teachers with Qualified Teacher Status into the classroom.

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

Please note that Tes Institute's Straight to Teaching programme and AO route leading to the award of Qualified Teacher Status qualifies you to work as a teacher in England.

If you’re planning to teach outside of England please discuss the programme, and the required teaching qualification for your particular region, with your employing school or the relevant regulatory body before applying. 

If you plan to teach in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales you should consult the relevant regulatory body before applying for one of our programmes:


*Teaching is planning (including resourcing) delivering, assessing, and reporting on pupils’ progress as defined by the Specified Work Regulations 2012.

Course Outcomes

As well as providing you with the opportunity to prepare and be assessed for QTS, Straight to Teaching could help you to:

  • Become employed as a fully qualified teacher
  • Be promoted and/or gain more job security
  • Increase your salary by up to £7,000* per annum
  • Become an outstanding teacher
  • Share best practices with colleagues
  • Play a more significant role in school leadership and management

Your progress will be continually assessed against the English Teacher’s Standards throughout the Straight to Teaching programme, helping you to build a portfolio of evidence which will contribute to your independent QTS assessment via AO. Your pathway tutor and school mentor will monitor your work, responding to online tasks and reflections in your Learning Diary, while supporting your progress towards the Teachers’ Standards and the award of QTS.

During the final tutor visit of your Straight to Teaching programme you’ll be recommended for independent QTS assessment via our AO route, provided that the pathway tutor and school are confident that you have sufficient evidence and your teaching is deemed to be ‘good’ or better.


 *On average, a fully qualified teacher in England earns approximately £6,000-£7,000 more a year than their unqualified counterpart. For full details about qualified and unqualified teacher pay scales, visit www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching/salary.


Delivery - QTS preparation & QTS assessment

Your Straight to Teaching programme will be delivered through a mix of in-school experience and online learning and theory. The course will enable you to develop your teaching and prepare a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that you meet the Teachers’ Standards. You can then apply for an independent QTS assessment via our Assessment Only route.

The length and context of the preparation required will be based on your existing experience and will be designed in collaboration with you and your school. Your skills and experience will be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards at the beginning of the programme and this will determine your QTS development plan.

If you have significant teaching experience already, then your QTS preparation will be shorter and if you’re an experienced teacher with a degree and a minimum of two years teaching practice, you may be eligible for the Assessment Only route immediately*.  


*You must have been teaching for two or more years before you can be assessed under the Assessment Only Criteria.

Entry Criteria

You should be a self-motivated person with the desire to become a qualified teacher and meet the following entry criteria:

  • Be employed in a school in a teaching role by the time you start the programme
  • Have the express agreement of your current or intended employer (school) to support you to prepare for QTS through Straight to Teaching and be assessed via our Assessment Only route (the school will be asked to sign a working agreement with Tes Institute). This support includes the appointment of a suitable member of staff to act as a school mentor
  • Have the relevant experience and skills to succeed through the Straight to Teaching programme
  • Have the health and physical capacity to teach
  • Have been subject to and passed the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and criminal/other records check

You must also meet the following suitability criteria before you can be recommended for QTS assessment via Assessment Only:

  • Have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C/4 or above at GCSE level in English language and mathematics. Those intending to teach pupils aged 3-11 will also need to have achieved a standard equivalent to grade C/4 or above at GCSE level science*
  • Hold a degree** from a UK higher education institution or equivalent qualification
  • Be able to demonstrate that you have the appropriate intellectual and academic capabilities and personal qualities, attitudes, ethics and values
  • Be able to communicate clearly and effectively in standard English
  • Have passed the professional skills tests
  • Have undertaken significant teaching experience for a minimum of two years (this can include prior experience as well as experience completed during the Straight to Teaching programme)
  • Have taught in two or more contrasting schools and also taught the full age and ability range for that age range.
  • Be able to demonstrate that you meet the English Teacher’s Standards across a minimum of two consecutive age ranges for your chosen teaching specialism

*It is the standard and not the certificate that matters. Applicants who do not have a grade C/4 GCSE may be able to show they meet the required standard by taking an equivalency test available through Tes Institute, or by offering other agreed evidence of attainment.

**Learners who are in the process of completing a degree may still be able to start the programme.

Start Dates

Take the first step to get QTS and qualify to teach in England by joining one of our Straight to Teaching start dates.


Application Deadline  Start Date
17th January 2020 24th February 2020
24th February 2020 20th April 2020
20th April 2020 1st June 2020
22nd June 2020 7th September 2020


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.


Straight to Teaching courses fees

Straight to Teaching Total fee Fee without VAT
Short QTS preparation (1 to 1.5 terms) and Assessment Only £5,400 £4,500
Medium QTS preparation (2 to 3 terms) and Assessment Only £7,200 £6,000
High QTS preparation (4 to 5 terms) and Assessment Only £9,000 £7,500


All fees include the full Straight to Teaching programme and the cost of QTS assessment unless otherwise stated. The length of your Straight to Teaching programme (and fee) will depend on the amount of existing experience that you have. When you apply, we’ll give you an estimate of how long we think the programme could take, and therefore the cost of the course, based on the information that you provide in your application.

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.

Using a loan to help pay your fees

Funding is available to Tes Institute learners on our Straight to Teaching programme through a private loan company, such as Future Finance, who can provide learners with flexible loans with long-term repayment options. These can help you pay for course fees and other living expenses:

  • Loans from £2,000 upwards to cover both tuition and living costs*
  • Offered to Undergraduate and Postgraduate students
  • Cover up to 100% tuition costs, and up to £12,500 for cost of living*
  • Loans are available to UK, EU and international students with a UK domiciled address
  • Repayment periods of up to 7 years*
  • Reduced payments while studying and up to three months after the programme end date
  • Borrowers can apply for up to two payment holidays during the loan period
  • Interest rates are dependent on each student’s specific circumstances
  • Representative 17.2% APR (variable)

 * Based on individual circumstances

Full information on eligibility criteria, interest rates and other key terms are available on the Future Finance website.  FFLC are Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Register number 719436.

How to apply for a loan with Future Finance

Applicants with an offer for a place on a Straight to Teaching programme can apply online for a loan to assist with tuition fees up to six months prior to the start of their programme, although we recommend that you apply after you have completed your Initial Needs Assessment (INA) at the beginning of the course. This should give you a good indication of your programme length and thus the tuition loan amount to apply for. An application for a living cost loan can be made at any point during the programme.

You can apply online using the Future Finance website. You’ll get an immediate decision and, if everything looks good, they will contact you to check the details before giving you an offer. If you are rejected you are able to reapply for funds for the same programme at a later date if you wish.

How you’ll receive your loan

If you’re approved for a tuition fee loan, the money will be paid directly to Tes Institute. Loans for living expenses are paid to you once your programme starts, either in one lump sum, or in regular instalments to help you manage your finances. 

Please note, Tes Institute is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is not Authorised to provide financial advice. You may wish to seek Independent Advice from a suitably qualified individual.

How to apply

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 and we’ll contact you to discuss the programme further. You’ll also receive a copy of the Straight to Teaching QTS prospectus which will provide more detail of how the programme works.

Westbrook primary school's Straight to Teaching experience

Straight to Teaching has had an enormous impact, it has had wide ranging benefits to other staff as they have the skills of mentoring somebody on the programme and for the candidate it is fantastic because they’re going through a route that they might not have been able, traditionally to access. Watch the videos here... 

Will Lyons - Primary School Straight to Teaching

The Straight to Teaching programme provided me with an opportunity to use my experience and add to it. Tes Institute’s course is a high quality programme and from the information available from both Tes and other sources it provides a realistic assessment of a teacher’s ability​. Read more here...

Angela Mackenzie - Geography Straight to Teaching

When I was applying to become a teacher I had to make sure that the course was suitable for myself, my school and my young family. Straight to Teaching was the only option that suited everyone and it also allowed me to keep earning whilst working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Read more here... 

Helen Horner - Primary school Straight to Teaching

After working as an HLTA and covering lessons I decided that I wanted to gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to become a teacher. It was important to find a course that allowed me to learn and continue earning at the same time and whilst I considered distance learning, Straight to Teaching was the best fit for me. Read more here...

Oliver Moore - Computing Straight to Teaching

I had been working as an unqualified Music teacher for over a year before I discovered that I could gain QTS through Straight to Teaching. Due to the size of the school I couldn’t take regular time off to train to teach on a traditional route, but the fact that I could complete Straight to Teaching without leaving my school meant that it was the best option for me. Read more here...