Is QTLS equal to QTS?

From 2012 the relevant regulations were changed so that anyone holding QTLS status would have to be employed as a qualified teacher if they worked in a maintained school in England. This means that QTLS holders must be treated as if they have QTS in these schools and are not required to complete a training (induction) year when joining the school.

Other schools are not bound by these regulations, so they are free to choose how they employ those with QTLS, along with other teachers.

This was done following the publication of the Wolf Report to allow schools to recruit a wider range of experienced vocational and technical teachers on an equal footing with other teachers. The purpose is clearly set out in the Teachers’ Standards.


What does this mean for schools who want to recruit FE trained teachers?

Some schools may want to recruit teachers who can teach technical and vocational subjects, usually at key stage 3 and 4. Teachers with these skills are more likely to have trained to teach in the learning and skills sector rather than through a schools ITT route.

FE teachers who hold QTLS and are registered with the Society for Education and Training hold the professional status recognised in the learning and skills sector and are committed to maintaining their professionalism and subject knowledge through completing ongoing professional development.

Maintained schools who recruit a teacher with QTLS and membership of SET must pay them as a qualified teacher on the relevant pay scale and treat them as if they hold QTS for the purposes of performance management, pay progression etc. – the Teachers’ Standards say more about this.

Other schools do not have to do this, they have the freedom to set their own terms and conditions, but many choose to maintain this parity and recognise the important knowledge and skills that FE trained teachers can bring to their subjects.

Does this mean that someone with QTLS can work as a qualified teacher in a primary school?

It is important to remember that QTLS is the professional status for the learning and skills sector and is the recognition of professionalism for those teaching adults and young people. If someone has QTLS and is a member of SET then they are eligible to be paid as a qualified teacher in any maintained school including a primary school., The same would apply to any QTS trained teacher who trained to teach in the secondary phase.

In all cases the employing school will determine through robust recruitment processes whether a potential applicant holding QTLS has the requisite knowledge, experience and skills for the role and will also take into account that they have trained to teach in the learning and skills sector.

There may be some teachers, for example those with experience of working in SEND settings who have transferable skills, knowledge and experience that mean that they can work in a primary setting. That is a decision for employers.

If someone with QTLS is employed in a maintained school do they need to undertake statutory induction?

No, in order to be awarded QTLS you have to undertake professional formation following your initial teacher education, this is considered to be equivalent to induction. The advice on the DfE website makes this clear.

Are teachers with QTLS subject to the same performance management arrangements?

The Teachers’ Standards set out the expectation that QTLS holders who teach in a school will be subject to the same performance management processes as their peers. Their employer has the choice of which standards they use to make those decisions. They can assess QTLS trained teachers against the Teachers’ Standards, any other set of standards relating to teachers’ performance published by the Secretary of State for Education, and/or the Professional Standards for FE teachers.

How can QTLS be the same as QTS when some FE teachers don’t have a degree?

The regulations make allowances for SET members who hold QTLS to be employed as a qualified teacher in a maintained school, recognising that there will be some circumstances where this would be beneficial to schools. The Teachers’ Standards explain why this was done. The DfE’s intention is not to provide an alternative route to QTS for those who do not hold a degree, it is to allow schools to employ excellent technical and vocational teachers should they wish to so that they can offer a broad and balanced curriculum at secondary level.

If you are thinking about teaching in Further Education, then the FE Advice Service will be able to help in terms of the options available to you. If you think teaching in a school might be your preference, then you should contact Get Into Teaching to discuss the various routes available.

How does an employer check that a teacher has QTLS?

The Society for Education and Training can confirm whether someone has been awarded QTLS. School employers can check a person’s QTLS status using the Professional Status register on the SET website, via email to, or by telephone.

Please note that some members have chosen not to be listed on the register so if you believe a person holds QTLS who is not on the register then please call 0800 093 9111 (free number) or email us at for confirmation.

You will also need to confirm that they continue to be a member of the Society for Education and Training in order to maintain their equivalence to QTS for employment purposes.

Is someone who has QTLS issued with a teacher reference number?

FE teachers are not issued with a TRN as a matter of course as they only relate to teaching in a school. If you employ a teacher with QTLS you will need to contact Capita Teachers' Pensions to request that a Teacher Reference Number is allocated to them.

Capita will then contact SET to confirm the date when QTLS was awarded to you, so that a reference number can be allocated. Please note that SET cannot do this on behalf of a school.


What about prohibition order checks?

As FE teachers are not regulated by DfE, SET are no longer notified of any prohibition notices that are issued relating to those holding QTLS. Schools should continue to check with the TRA against the list of teachers who are subject to prohibition or interim prohibition orders and who should not be employed in a school.

SET can also confirm if the member of staff you intend to employ has gained QTLS and remains in good standing as a registered member. If you require such confirmation, please email