What is the Assessment Only Route?
To date, all initial teacher training (ITT) programmes have been required to include an element of teacher training. This Assessment Only (AO) route is a new route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and does not require individuals to complete teacher training.
The AO route is suitable for applicants who are currently employed in a school delivering high quality lessons as unqualified teachers.
Further information about the AO Route to QTS can be found at the Department for Education.
How long should the AO process take?
The whole AO process of assessment should normally be completed within 12 weeks.
Who can apply?
Those who wish to gain the qualification through the AO route might include very experienced graduate teachers without QTS who have experience of teaching the English National Curriculum across the required age and ability ranges in two different settings, and are:
- currently teaching in schools
- trained to teach overseas
- trained to teach in the further education sector, and
- teaching in the independent school sector.
Applicants must have experience of teaching across two consecutive key stages (for secondary candidates) and across two consecutive age ranges (for primary candidates).
Applicants will need to have enough experience to be able to demonstrate meeting all the standards for QTS fully, particularly those relating to national curriculum, examination arrangements and statutory duties in the age range that they are being assessed in.
If applicants are unable to meet these standards (for whatever reason) the would need to explain how they intend, with support from the school, to develop their practice and/or seek further opportunities so that it is possible to gain QTS during the maximum 12-week assessment period.
The Professional Standards for QTS and associated guidance can be found at the Department for Education.
What teaching experience can be taken into account?
All relevant teaching experience may be taken into account; voluntary/unpaid work as well as employed teaching experience. The location of prior experience is less relevant than ensuring that the applicant has enough experience to be able to demonstrate meeting all the standards for QTS fully, particularly those relating to national curriculum, examination arrangements, statutory duties in the age range that they are being assessed in.
The settings in which applicants have taught must also have provided them with substantial and sustained experience of whole class planning, teaching, assessment and reporting to parents across the full age ranges of assessment, including use and evaluation of distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support all pupils.
I am currently teaching in a FE setting. Can I still apply for the route?
Applicants who have experience of teaching Key Stage 5 at FE must normally be employed in a secondary school with the opportunity to teach a substantial amount of Key stage 4 in order for the application to be considered.
I only have experience of teaching in SEN settings. Can I still apply?
For an applicant with experience only in SEN settings, we would need to feel confident that settings provide the applicant with sufficient and appropriate experience at a suitable level to enable them to demonstrate meeting all the standards for QTS without the need for further training or time in other settings.
In particular the applicant would need to demonstrate meeting the standards across the full age ranges of assessment including use and evaluation of distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support all pupils, including those with special educational needs, those of high ability, those with English as an additional language and those with disabilities.
Another factor to consider is that assessments must take account of the physical ages of the pupils taught, not any other measure of their relative developmental age. The Secretary of State’s criteria refer to physical ages not developmental (or other) ages. The prior experience of applicants must demonstrate meeting the standards for the chosen age ranges of assessment.
I only have experience of working in one school. Can I still apply?
The NCTL stipulates that any AO candidate must have already worked in two schools before applying to be assessed for QTS and would need to have experience of teaching the English National Curriculum across the required age and ability ranges in two different settings. The experience may have been paid or voluntary, full-time or part-time.
How long does an applicant need to have taught in a second setting?
The length of time spent teaching in a second setting would be dependent on whether the applicant has enough experience to be able to demonstrate meeting all the standards for QTS fully, particularly those relating to teaching the national curriculum, examination arrangements and statutory duties. Applicants would need opportunities to demonstrate meeting the breadth and variety of experience, including teaching children from different backgrounds, across the ability range as well as gaining experience of different approaches to teaching and learning and to school organisation and management.
How recent must a candidate's evidence be?
We would normally expect a significant proportion of evidence to be recent (within the last 12 months). However, evidence from teaching in a second setting could be older. There are no hard and fast rules about the age of evidence. We will make a professional judgment in individual cases.
What percentage of a timetable does the candidate need to teach?
All teaching timetables must provide opportunities for candidates to work across two consecutive age-ranges (3-5, 5-7, 7-9, 9-11, 11-14, 14-16, 16-19).
Candidates will be expected to teach a minimum 50% timetable for the duration of the assessed placement.
The timetable must be sustained for the entire period of assessment and must provide opportunities to work with pupils across the ability range; to work with other colleagues (TAs, SEN Assistants etc.); and to work in a pastoral role.
Applicants for the Secondary age range will normally be expected to teach a minimum 50% timetable across the 12 weeks and that 80% of this timetable must focus on their specialist subject.
What about Overseas Trained Teachers who have exceeded four years of employment as teachers?
Overseas-trained teachers (OTTs) who have exceeded the four-year rule can still be employed to teach in maintained schools and non-maintained special schools as instructors. They are therefore eligible to apply for the AO route.
Will my experience of teaching overseas be accepted?
In terms of accepting teaching experience, the location of prior experience is less relevant than ensuring that you have enough experience to be able to demonstrate meeting all the standards for QTS fully, particularly those relating to teaching the national curriculum, examination arrangements and statutory duties. An applicant’s experience must demonstrate meeting all the QTS standards without the need for further training and within a term.
What if an applicant needs some additional training?
It is possible to include a small element of training where an otherwise very suitable applicant does not meet a small element of the QTS standards. Manchester Metropolitan University reserves the right to charge an additional fee for any training provided within our Assessment Only Route.
An applicant who has more significant training needs will be redirected to an alternative ITT route.
Must candidates be assessed in school in all age-ranges where the candidate is seeking QTS?
Not necessarily. Placement assessments in a school will be used in collaboration with other evidence provided by the candidate to ensure that we are confident in judging that the candidate meets all the QTS standards across the age ranges of assessment. However, candidates will need to provide strong evidence of age-range experience on application if they are proposing an assessed placement in a single age-range.
Can a candidate be assessed working in an independent school or FE college?
Yes, in certain circumstances a candidate can have their teaching assessed in an independent school or FE college. However, for this to be appropriate we need to be confident that the setting presents a candidate with sufficient opportunities to address the assessment needs of the candidate identified from the application. For instance, a candidate with very strong evidence of teaching in Key Stage 4 could be assessed in an FE college.
Can a candidate be assessed in an early years setting?
Yes, the requirements are the same but you will be assessed against the EYFS Statutory Framework.
Can we accept a DBS check from a school currently employing a candidate?
Where a candidate is employed by a school, with a current DBS check, and has been in continuous employment with the school since the check was received (no breaks in service of more than three months at any time), then providers can accept assurance from the school head teacher that the check had been undertaken and that s/he had no concerns about the candidate, subject to a barred list check.
What is the role of a candidate’s school?
It is important that the school is committed to the applicant undertaking this route and the applicant must seek the permission of the head teacher to support the application.
Having the school’s commitment to provide a school-based mentor who has undergone ITT mentor training will also be a condition of acceptance on to the route.
It is possible to include an element of mentor training where a mentor is not familiar with ITT processes. Manchester Metropolitan University reserves the right to charge an additional fee for any training provided within our Assessment Only Route.
The mentor will be expected to meet the candidate weekly to support the candidate in addressing any professional development targets established through the phases of assessment, including portfolio development and lesson observations.
All schools will be asked to sign the partnership agreement, which is drawn from elements of our existing ITT partnership agreements.
In addition, we will provide on-line support for mentors that are new to our Partnership.
Why do I need the Headteacher to support my application form?
It is important that your school is committed to you undertaking this route, as you will need the help of the school to make the most of their approach.
The school will need to support you with the development of the portfolio and to undertake lesson observations on the assessed practice. It is essential to seek the permission of your head teacher to support your application. This support will be your responsibility.
The Headteacher should provide an assessment of the applicant’s strengths and suitability for a career in teaching and say why the applicant is judged to be ready for final assessment. This statement should provide evidence, which references the teachers’ standards.
What about the Professional Skills Tests?
Applicants for Assessment Only (AO) programmes, which began in 2012/13 and beyond, are required to have passed their QTS skills tests before acceptance on to the route. Applicants should register online and take responsibility for attending a test centre in the UK.
Applicants do not require a TRN number to book for the skills tests for the AO route. Applicants should visit the Department for Education website for registration instructions.
What happens when the candidate is judged to pass and meet the QTS Standards?
We notify the NCTL and QTS will be awarded within 20 working days. A certificate will be sent to the candidate.
Will I have to undergo the NQT induction Year?
All candidates who are assessed and recommended for QTS become Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs). Information about statutory arrangements for the induction of NQTs can be found online at the Department for Education.
What class of degree would you accept for the AO route?
Applicants can apply if they have a UK first degree or equivalent qualification. A first degree comprises 300 HE credit points of which 60 must be at level 6 of the QCF. To meet the Teacher’s standards you must demonstrate degree level subject knowledge in your subject. Therefore your chosen subject should be the main component of your degree. If this is not the case then you will need to provide substantial evidence of how your degree relates to the subject you intend to teach and your teaching of the subject in key stage 4.
Would you accept a 3rd class degree for the AO route?
Applicants with a 3rd class degree will only be offered a place in exceptional cases. The will be made on a case-by-case basis. For example; such candidates could give evidence that they have a higher qualification and significant school and/or teaching experience.