Recognising overseas qualifications

Recognising overseas qualifications for initial teacher training (ITE) is a process of the evaluating, and awarding of, English ITE equivalence on the basis of demonstrated professional practice in the classroom.

The process is designed for those teachers, currently employed in England, who already hold an overseas ITE qualification. 

Overseas trained teachers who undertake professional formation must be able to evidence their current teaching practice underpinned by all of the 20 2014 professional standards.  This is achieved by candidates mapping their evidence against the standards.

View an example showing how the mapping can be demonstrated. 

Who can apply for this process?

The process is open to teachers who:

  • are current members of SET
  • already hold an overseas ITE qualification from a country other than England, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • are currently employed in a teaching role by an English FE and skills sector provider
  • are able to provide evidence that they have met the learning outcomes commensurate with the requirements established through the Professional Standards. 

If you hold an overseas teaching qualification, you will need to provide a statement from UK NARIC that states the level of your teaching qualification and that confirms your qualification entitles you to teach in your country. Please note, we do not accept the PGCE (i) to register for QTLS.

How do I apply?

Register for the Recognition Route

Applicants making a claim must understand that it is the outcomes of any learning gained through experience that might be recognised and not just the activity of learning itself.  Therefore reflection on their learning is required as part of the application process.

All applicants will be expected to use SET’s online learning tool, My QTLS, to complete the professional formation process.

For further information or assistance in applying, please email

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the overseas route to QTLS.

Approval of recognition

SET ensures that all applicants meet the required standard to obtain QTLS, and that all applications are treated equitably. Therefore a holistic review and moderation approach has been developed to make certain that the learning derived from classroom experience in the UK is equivalent to that of the learning that might otherwise have been achieved by following the full programme of study to obtain Level 5 ITE.

Consequently it must be satisfied that the evidence submitted in support of a claim meets the following criteria:

  • Sufficiency: The applicant must provide enough evidence to demonstrate fully the achievement of the learning being claimed.
  • Authenticity: The evidence should be clearly related to the applicant’s own efforts and able to be verified as such.
  • Relevance: The portfolio provided should be relevant to the teacher’s current practice within the FE and skills sector.


The process as defined here does not apply to the assessment of an individual’s prior learning and/or experience for any purpose other than entry to professional formation. It should not be considered as an alternative to ITE.

Finally, it is important for candidates, employers and stakeholders to understand that it is the achievement of learning, or the outcomes of that learning, that is being recognised by the scheme rather than the activity of learning itself. Therefore, the key questions are:

  • What has been learnt?
  • How has it been applied to practice?

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