Assessment only route to QTS

Frequently asked questions

Am I eligible?

QTS can be awarded if a person:

  1. holds a first degree or equivalent qualification granted by a United Kingdom institution or an equivalent degree or other qualification granted by a foreign institution;
  2. is assessed by an accredited institution as meeting such criteria as may from time to time be specified by the Secretary of State; and
  3. is normally working in a school in England or similar educational setting.

What does it cost?

The total cost of the AO Route undertaken between September 2013 and August 2014 is £5,500 but with discounts available it may be as little as £2,500 (for example, if your school is part of OBU’s wider partnership). This cost covers application, health and CRB checks (where appropriate), initial assessment, needs identification, portfolio advice and final assessment.

How much training do I get from Oxford Brookes as part of the AO Route?

  • The AO Route is not a ‘teacher training’ programme. It is designed to enable unqualified teachers with substantial teaching experience to gain QTS very rapidly.
  • Tutors from Oxford Brookes School of Education will undertake initial assessment, provide advice regarding collection and presentation of evidence, ensure rigorous adherence to QTS Standards, carry out high quality moderated assessment of classroom practice and of each candidate’s portfolio of evidence.

What does my school have to provide?

• Your headteacher will need to fully support your application and feel confident that you are ready to undergo assessment for QTS. Schools will need to sign a special partnership agreement as part of the application and initial assessment process: for example, you will need support from within the school in compiling appropriate evidence against the Standards; your school will need to ensure you have the opportunity to be assessed in all areas identified by university tutors' initial assessment; you will need to be observed in the classroom by appropriate colleagues.

I have only ever taught in one school. Is that sufficient?

  • Unfortunately, no. The TA Assessment Only Requirements (2011) state that to gain QTS you must have taught in two schools prior to assessment against the Standards.

What teaching experience can be taken into account?

  • All relevant teaching experience may be taken into account as evidence: voluntary/unpaid work as well as employed teaching experience.
  • When assessing evidence arising out of your overall teaching experiences, our assessors need to be confident that you have had the opportunity to demonstrate that you can meet all of the QTS standards across at least 2 consecutive age ranges (most commonly 2 Key Stages).

How long does the whole process take?

  • The whole AO process will usually take no less than six weeks and no more than a term.
  • The AO process includes (not exclusively): receipt/review of application, initial interview, and submission of evidence and assessment.
  • TA advice is that if an applicant appears to require more than three months to complete the AO route, it is likely that an existing ITT route would be more suitable (eg. PGCE or GTP).

Am I eligible if I currently work in an independent school or FE college?

  • Yes, you can have your teaching assessed in an independent school or FE college, as long as our assessors are confident that the setting presents sufficient opportunities for you to fulfil any needs identified as part of your initial assessment
  • Where our assessors are not confident that your current setting would enable you to address your assessment needs fully, it may be possible to arrange to assess you in another setting as well.

How recent must all my teaching evidence be?

  • We will take into account any evidence our assessors judge to be secure, valid and of direct relevance to an assessment against the current QTS Standards.

Do I have to be observed teaching across both age ranges?

  • Normally yes, but there may be exceptions depending on the quality and range of your additional evidence.

I worked as an instructor in schools for a number of years, but I'm not working at the moment. Can I still be assessed?

  • The Oxford Brookes programme requires you to have already arranged for an appropriate school/FE college to support your application for the Assessment Only Route; this school/college must be prepared to host you for the time it takes to undergo the full assessment process, and enable you to gain sufficient teaching experience (paid or unpaid) and other professional opportunities to demonstrate that you have fully met all of the QTS Standards

Do I need to get a new CRB check?

  • If you are currently employed by a school you are likely to have undergone enhanced CRB clearance. If you have been in continuous employment with the school since your CRB check was received (with no breaks in service of more than three months at any time), then we can accept assurance from your headteacher that the check has been undertaken.
  • If you are not currently employed by the supporting school, but you have been in the past three months, we can similarly accept assurance from the headteacher that a check was carried out and that s/he has no concerns about you.
  • In either case acceptance on to the AO Route will be subject to the University carrying out a barred list check.
  • In all other circumstances, a new CRB check is required

What happens at the final assessment point?

  • Your university assessor will visit your school to observe you teach (normally, two different classes), meet with key personnel, and to scrutinise your portfolio of evidence.
  • The assessor will make a judgement based on the range of evidence. You will normally be awarded a pass or fail (note that a candidate only passes when they have met all the QTS standards, including the QTS Skills Tests: there is no deferred award option pending Skills Test success as with other ITT routes).
  • Under certain circumstances, at the discretion of the assessor, you may be awarded a Pass subject to presentation of additional documentary evidence within 5 working days of the final assessed school visit.

If I pass the final assessment how soon do I get QTS?

  • The University will straight away notify the GTCE that we are recommending you for the award of QTS.
  • QTS should be awarded within 20 working days by the GTCE; the certificate will be sent directly to you.

How do I know that the work I have done for QTS on the AO Route is judged at the same standard as for traditional PGCE or GTP trainees?

  • Tutors who act as Oxford Brookes assessors are highly qualified teacher trainers, most of whom work across more than one ITT programme. They are experienced at working with and assessing against the QTS Standards.
  • The AO Route adheres to the same rigorous Quality Assurance procedures as all of our other ITT programmes and is not only internally/externally moderated but subject to Ofsted inspections.

I'm an Overseas Trained Teacher (OTT) but have exceeded four years of employment as a teacher.

  • You can still be employed as an instructor in a school. You are therefore eligible to apply for the AO route.
  • However, you need to be aware of a recent government announcement which stated that, in the future, OTTs from Australia, New Zealand and Canada will be recognised as qualified teachers. This policy is still to be implemented, but it is recommended that any potential applicants who are OTTs from these countries should make further enquiries through the TA before deciding to embark on an AO Route.
  • The same applies to graduate holders of QTLS status.


For further information about fees and how to apply please contact:

Mandy Winters, Principal Lecturer for Educational Partnerships (