Teachers to train for qualified status abroad from 2022

Plans could see more foreign teachers moving to UK to work, according to DfE

Catherine Lough

Geography teaching resources and globes

Teachers will be able to qualify through a new "English-style" global teacher training qualification abroad, the government has announced.

The International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS) will be awarded after the completion of international teacher training courses, and will be equivalent to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in the UK.

Following a Department for Education consultation on the issue which closed in May, the government has confirmed its plans to pilot the iQTS through accredited international English ITT providers, with training "closely aligned" to ITT in England.

Related: DfE praises 'quality' ITT - after opting to overhaul it

Background: UK teacher training going global with new qualification

Comment: Why international teaching can be a very small world

International: 8 key insights about the international teaching market

The proposals could lead to an increase of foreign teachers coming to work in the UK, the government's consultation response says.

It says: "Recognising iQTS as equivalent to QTS would also permit iQTS holders to teach in England if they so wished, supporting the domestic teaching workforce."

It adds that, following the government's ITT Market Review, "DfE reserves the right to amend iQTS in line with any domestic changes in the ITT landscape".

The DfE adds that it will create a framework for a "robust inspection regime" of the iQTS.

Respondents to the consultation said that additional standards based on the iQTS' local context could be introduced.

In its response, the government said that English Teachers' Standards would be largely retained for the qualification,

"Adapting the standards significantly would preclude parity with QTS and diminish the English basis of the qualification," it says.

British values

However, Part Two, which calls on teachers to not undermine "fundamental British values", will not be retained as it is, but could be adapted.

"Several respondents suggested that international or global values could be a suitable replacement," the consultation response says.

Entry criteria 

For entry criteria, the iQTS will mirror English ITT courses with the exception that candidates must demonstrate an equivalent to GCSE grade 4 in English.

Candidates will need an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.5 or higher, or will need to have completed some of their education in England, for example, while studying for a degree.

"Where the entry criteria cannot be met initially, we think there is an added opportunity for providers to offer preparatory courses to help some candidates meet these requirements," the response says.

Second placement not required

The iQTS will also not require trainees to complete two school placements, although this should be "highly encouraged" where possible.

"If every effort has been made to facilitate a second placement, but it has not been possible, providers must show evidence of trainees gaining experience of another setting in an alternative way," it says.

"This could be via observations and remote teaching through providers’ existing partnerships internationally or in England," it adds.

And there will be no limitations on distance learning.

International schools

In total, eight in 10 - 81 per cent - of respondents said that the potential market for iQTS would be within the British international school sector and the same proportion said the wider international school sector would be the potential market for the qualification.

Just half this proportion of respondents – 42 per cent – said the global state sector would be a potential market, while 39 per cent said the local private sector could be.

And 7 in 10 providers who responded – 72 per cent – said they believed they could offer iQTS in the short or medium term, while 58 per cent of respondents overall said they would like to be involved in the pilot.

The plans are expected to be piloted in September 2022 before a full rollout, and an expert working group will advise on its development. 

Colin Bell, chief executive officer of the Council of British International Schools (Cobis), said his organisation was "encouraged that the DfE are increasingly recognising the value and opportunity within the international market" and pleased that the iQTS would be recognised as equivalent to QTS or provide a route to QTS.

He added: "Many Cobis Schools are already actively engaged with a range of initial teacher training routes that are available internationally...and we continue to believe that there are opportunities to scale up engagement with, and remove barriers to, those existing routes for high-quality schools.

"Nonetheless, it is positive to hear the secretary of state echoing the message from our own teacher supply research that teaching is a global profession, and we look forward to continuing to work with the DfE on their developing plans to grow the global teacher workforce."


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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