I got QTS ages ago, but have never done my induction year. Can I still apply for jobs as an NQT?

Is there a time limit on qualified teacher status? What sort of supply work can count towards a newly qualified teacher year? We answer your questions about life as a new teacher

Grainne Hallahan

NQT Year & QTS Questions

Hooray! I’ve finished my training year and I’ve been awarded qualified teacher status (QTS). But what if I don’t want to do my newly qualified teacher (NQT) training straightaway?

That’s no problem. You don’t have to do your NQT straight after your training year. In fact, there is no time limit on it at all.

What if it has been years since doing my training year? Decades?

It doesn’t matter. Once you’ve been awarded QTS, that’s it. As long as you can find a headteacher who is willing to take you on after such a long gap, there won’t be a problem.

Mary Rodger, a marketing manager for Voice Union, advises that if you have had a long gap, you might want to take steps to address this before applying.

“Your qualified teacher status will always be,” says a spokesperson for the union. “But if you have been away from education for a while, you would benefit from volunteering in a classroom and reading the latest curriculum documents from the Department for Education (DfE) and exam boards. It is also essential to check that you still meet all of the teacher standards.”

What about supply teaching?

Supply teaching is different: you are only allowed to do casual short-term supply for five years after being awarded QTS – after that, you have to do your NQT year if you want to carry on teaching in a state school.

Rodger adds: “If you gained QTS on or after September 2007, you can work supply for short periods of less than one term. If the contract extends for longer than one term, this can contribute towards your NQT induction and the school must put a plan in place to support you.”

What sort of supply work counts towards the NQT year?

If you’re doing long-term supply, such as maternity leave cover for three months, this can count towards your NQT year. Casual short-term supply does not count.

This should be good news for people who want more flexibility and prefer part-time work.

“The induction period normally lasts for one full academic year. But this can be spread over several years and does not have to be completed in one go,” Rodger explains. 

“If you work part-time, it may take you two or more years to complete your NQT year. You can begin your NQT induction and then have a break. You may work supply (which does not contribute to your NQT year) alongside your induction. However, you cannot continue to work supply for longer than five years unless you complete an induction period.”

If I start to do supply work that counts towards my NQT, do I then have to finish it within five years?

No, there is no time limit on how quickly you have to finish your NQT if you are doing it as supply. 

However, you can only do casual short-term supply for a maximum of five years. After that, you must undertake work that will count towards your NQT year.

Can I do my NQT year in any school?

You can do your NQT year in any school, except for schools in special measures, a secure training centre or an FE institution that has been given the Ofsted grading “inadequate”, or has had its leadership graded category four.

You can also complete your NQT year in an international school if it is a qualifying Cobis school that has successfully completed a British Schools Overseas inspection by theDfE.

Is there anything else I should read?

The statutory guidance on induction for NQTs is essential reading.