The government has announced that teachers will qualify through a new "English-style" global teacher training qualification abroad.

Today, the Department for Education published its response to a consultation on developing a new ‘iQTS’ qualification, which could be delivered by English school-centred initial teacher training providers (SCITTs) and universities to countries worldwide.

The government proposed a framework based on English methods and standards of teacher training. During the 12-week consultation, 264 responses were received, with just over a third coming from international schools.

Here’s what you need to know from the government’s response.

1. Small pilot to take place ahead of full roll-out

The DfE said it would launch a pilot of iQTS to allow it to “test and learn during the first year”. This pilot is expected to begin in September 2022.

Involved will be a handful of providers, each with a relatively small number of candidates. It is hoped a mixture of higher education institutions (HEIs) and SCITTs with a global reach take part.

Providers would need to be existing English ITT providers who have completed the DfE ‘s accreditation scheme.

Applications to join the pilot will open in the autumn, with the providers chosen by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

2. Expert working group has been established

The DfE has appointed an expert working group composed of HEI providers, SCITT providers, headteachers, international associations, and other sector experts.

The group, which the DfE chairs, is tasked with producing recommendations for the iQTS framework, which officials will use to draft the final product. These include the iQTS teachers’ standards, iQTS criteria for providers, and further guidance.

Recommendations are expected to be produced by the end of summer 2021.

3. Entry requirements will mirror English courses

The entry criteria for iQTS will mirror what is used for English ITT courses.

The DfE said this would “ensure consistency and maintain high standards.” In total, 70 percent of respondents agreed with this course of action.

However, there will be one exception to standard protocol – a requirement to demonstrate GCSE grade 4 legal equivalent in English “does not account for countries where English is learned as a foreign language.”

Instead, English proficiency will be tested in other ways. The DfE said an “added opportunity” for providers to offer preparatory courses for candidates where these criteria cannot be met.

4. Framework will ‘closely mirror’ ITT requirements…

The consultation response states the iQTS framework will closely mirror the requirements for ITT in England.

This will mean trainees will receive “an equivalent experience in terms of input and support, and course content will be the same.” While no core elements of ITT will be taken away, international context will be added.

5. …and could be amended in line with ‘domestic changes’

In July, the DfE revealed proposals to reshape England’s ITT market – including the re-accreditation of all providers.

Due to this, the department said it “reserves the right to amend iQTS in line with any domestic changes in the ITT landscape, including following the government response to the expert advisory group final report and ITT market review consultation.”

Despite the government’s move to shake up ITT provision, education secretary Gavin Williamson said in the foreword to the iQTS consultation response that England is “blessed with some of the world’s finest teachers, and this is down to the quality and rigour of our teacher training.”

6. Training will be in English but may expand to other languages

Almost 4 in 5 respondents agreed the delivery language of the qualification should be English.

The DfE said this would be the case initially and into the medium term. However, once established, it said there “may be an opportunity in the future to consider delivery in additional languages.”

7. No limitations on online or distance learning

As the iQTS will be a global qualification, ITT providers will be able to decide their delivery methods.

This includes no limitation on distance learning. In total, 70 percent of respondents supported this course of action and highlighted the move to online learning during the pandemic as proof remote delivery can be successful.

8. Accreditation process will be ‘lighter-touch.’

The provision of iQTS will be limited to providers who are accredited and inspected in England “at least initially,” the DfE explained.

Providers will need to be approved by the DfE to offer the new qualification. However, given that these providers already have passed through the ITT accreditation process, the DfE states this will be a “lighter touch system.”

Providers will be approved to award the iQTS themselves, and the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) will maintain a record of all iQTS holders.

9. New inspection framework will quality-assure provision

The DfE said it would “create a framework of approved inspectorates to quality assure the provision of iQTS.”

These inspectorates would have to prove expertise and experience in ITT and working in an international education context.

Any inspection regime would follow a “hybrid model” of in-person visits and virtual elements.

Inspections will not occur during the first year.” but monitoring and evaluation will take place instead.


    • 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.

  • For entry criteria, the iQTS will mirror English ITT courses except 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 must 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.
  • A second placement is 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 set 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.
  • In total, eight in 10 – 81 percent – of respondents said that the potential market for iQTS would be within the British international school sector. The same proportion said the wider global school sector would be the potential market for the qualification.
  • Half this proportion of respondents – 42 percent – said the global state sector would be a potential market, while 39 percent said the local private sector could be.
  • And 7 in 10 providers who responded – 72 percent – said they believed they could offer iQTS in the short or medium term, while 58 percent 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.
  • He added: “Many 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 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.”

The government has announced that teachers will qualify through a new ``English-style`` global teacher training qualification abroad.

The International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS) will be awarded after completing international teacher training courses and 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.
    • The government’s consultation response says that the proposals could increase foreign teachers coming to work in the UK.
    • 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.”
    • 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 retained mainly for the qualification,

    • “Adapting the standards would preclude parity with QTS and diminish the English basis of the qualification,” it says.

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