Guidance for headteachers

Find out how the Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status relates to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for holders teaching in state maintained schools.

In 1 April 2012 the Department for Education (DfE) changed the law to add QTLS status to the list of qualifications and statuses equivalent to QTS. This change followed a recommendation from the 2011 Review of Vocational Education.

The two sets of regulations were amended included the following:

The impact of these changes on you as an employer

As an employer of teachers within state maintained schools you are able, and we encourage you to, recruit from a wider pool of qualified teachers for positions in both primary and secondary schools. The Department for Education (DfE) has outlined what these changes mean for employers in its Teachers’ Standards document, and on the website, which states as follows:

•  "If you have QTLS status and membership with the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), you will be eligible to work as a qualified teacher in schools in England."

•  "Since 1 April 2012, further education teachers who have been awarded QTLS by the Society for Education and Training and are members, are recognised as qualified teachers in schools."

This will allow them to be appointed to permanent posts in state maintained schools in England and they will be paid on the qualified teachers’ pay scale. They will continue to be recognised as qualified school teachers providing they remain registered as members of the Society for Education and Training.

•  "QTLS holders, as is the case for all holders of QTS, will be allowed to teach both curriculum and non-curriculum subjects in schools and across the breadth of school ages."

•  "A person with QTLS status and membership of SET will automatically be recognised as a qualified teacher in schools. There is no need for them to apply to the Teaching Agency for QTS. A certificate from the Foundation is sufficient evidence."

•  "QTLS holders will be exempt from serving statutory induction and will not be required to complete a statutory induction period in schools. This is because QTLS holders have already completed a period of teaching and professional formation, verified by the Institute for Learning/ Foundation which bridges the gap between initial teacher training and employment as a practising teacher."

• "Under the 2012 regulations, the performance of teachers will be assessed against their objectives and against the relevant standards. All teachers except for QTLS holders will be assessed against the Teachers’ Standards that were published by the Secretary of State in July 2011." 

In the case of QTLS teachers, alternative standards may be more appropriate. The regulations therefore give schools and local authorities the flexibility to decide which standards are relevant to QTLS holders. They can assess 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

School employers can check a person’s QTLS status with the ETF 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.

Teacher’s reference number for QTLS holders

A teacher who is qualified to teach in Further Education with QTLS is entitled to work as a qualified teacher in maintained schools without Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), provided he or she maintains membership with the Society for Education and Training.

Teachers with QTLS are not required to complete a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year, as this is only required by teachers with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). However, if recommended to do so, teachers will not receive a certificate, as QTLS teachers are not subject to completing an induction.

You will need to ask a representative from the school where you are teaching to contact Capita Teachers' Pensions to request that a Teacher Reference Number is allocated to you. Your employer should know how to do this via the Capita employer portal. 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 plays no role in providing Teacher Reference Numbers.

If an employer requires a Teacher Reference Number (TRN) for a QTLS qualified teacher, they need to contact Capita Teachers’ Pensions.

Prohibition Order Checks

In October 2013 the Government revoked legislation requiring FE teachers to be qualified and to gain QTLS status, so that this is no longer a legal requirement. Since there are no longer any regulations, we no longer receive notification of prohibition checks or sanctions.

It is, however, possible for SET to confirm if the member of staff you employ has gained QTLS and remains in good standing as a registered member, completing annual CPD and complying with the Code of Professional Practice. If you require such confirmation, please email

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