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Overseas Trained Teachers

If you’re from overseas and want to teach in the UK Link Education can help

Qualified in the European Economic Area (EEA)

If you are qualified to teach in the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA, you may be able to gain qualified teacher status (QTS) in England without any further training or assessment.

Qualified outside the European Economic Area (EEA)

If you trained outside the EEA you can also apply for QTS. An EEA member state needs to recognise your qualifications and you will need 3 years of experience as a teacher in that state.

Swiss nationals are also eligible to apply for QTS in England.

It may take up to 4 months to process your application. You won't need further training and will be exempt from having to serve a statutory induction period.

If we are unable to award you QTS, you will need to complete a course of initial teacher training (ITT) in England.

Information on how apply for QTS can be found on the website:

Information on ITT can be found on the website:

The Education (Specified Work) (England) Regulations 2012 allow teachers qualified in a country outside of the UK to teach in state maintained schools and non-maintained special schools in England without qualified teacher status (QTS) for up to four years.

The four-year rule

Overseas trained teachers can teach in state maintained schools and non-maintained special schools in England as unqualified teachers for four calendar years. This is known as the four year rule and it applies to teachers who qualified in countries outside of the EEA and Switzerland except for teachers who qualified in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America (USA)

An OTT is an unqualified teacher and the four year rule begins on the first day the individual taught in a state maintained school or a non-maintained special school in England and expires exactly four years later regardless of whether the OTT has taught throughout the four year period. OTTs are not permitted to teach in Pupil Referral Units until they have been awarded QTS.

In order to teach after four years, OTTs must have been awarded QTS

OTTs who have been awarded QTS by the end of their four year period become qualified teachers and are allowed to continue teaching subject to UK Visa and Immigration permission if required.

It is unlawful for OTTs to continue teaching in state maintained schools and non-maintained special schools in England beyond four years if they have not been awarded QTS.

From 1 April 2012 qualified teachers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA can apply to the National College for Teaching and Leadership for QTS without undertaking further training or assessment in England. If they are awarded, QTS, they are exempt from the four year rule.

If the four-year rule applies to you, you will need to complete a programme such as a flexible PGCE to gain QTS, or gain employment in an independent school to continue teaching.

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We have used the services of Link Education for several years now. The agency deliver a very high quality of service and the teachers supplied have been of high standard too. They provide a very prompt service and listen to the request carefully so that teachers are well matched to the class group needing cover. Link Education has a good bank of teachers to work with our Special Needs children. Knowing that I can pick up the phone and a good quality teacher will arrive at school on a Monday morning certainly takes at least one pressure off my shoulders. I have no hesitation in recommending Link Education to another school. They are a life line for today's hectic school life.

Special Needs School, Kent
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