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Overseas Trained Teacher Programme

If you qualified as a teacher inside the European Union, mobility laws apply. This means you can access teaching positions in the same way as home trained teachers.

If you qualified as a teacher overseas, and outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you may be eligible to work in England as a temporary, unqualified teacher for up to four years while you achieve qualified teacher status (QTS). Currently, this programme is only available in England.

Overseas Trained Teachers who wish to teach in Wales would need to undertake an employment based route – currently the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) – in Wales, in order to achieve QTS.

When you have found a teaching position in a school, the Overseas Trained Teacher Programme (OTTP) will provide you with an individual training and assessment programme. This will ultimately lead to your qualification to teach in England permanently.

How long does the OTTP take?

The length of the programme depends on how much additional training you need. However, the longest amount of time you can spend on the programme is one year full-time. If you feel your skills and experience meet all the QTS standards with minimal additional training, you may apply for assessment-based training.

Is there any additional funding available?

You may be eligible for a training grant; please contact your employment-based initial teacher training (EBITT) provider for further information. The TDA will pay for your final assessment against the QTS standards. Your school will continue to pay your salary. Find out more about funding for employment-based initial teacher training.

What qualifications do I need?

You must be qualified as a teacher overseas and working as an unqualified teacher in a school in England.

In addition, if you qualified outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you will need:

  • a qualification equivalent to a UK bachelors degree
  • to demonstrate that you meet a standard equivalent to GCSE grade C in mathematics and English, and
  • if you intend to teach primary or key stage 2/3 (ages 7-14), you must also demonstrate a standard equivalent to a grade C in a science GCSE.

If you have not successfully achieved a GCSE grade C, you may be given an opportunity to show that you can meet the required standard, either by taking an equivalence test or by offering other evidence of attainment. Visit the National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) website to find out whether your qualifications are of an equivalent level to UK GCSEs and an undergraduate degree.

If you qualified as a teacher in Scotland, Northern Ireland, another country in the EEA or Switzerland, you may be eligible for qualified teacher status (QTS) without further assessment. You will need to contact the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) to have your qualifications assessed.

If you wish to teach in Wales however, you will need to contact the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW).

How do I apply?

When you have a teaching post and you have established that you have all the necessary qualifications, you should apply directly to an EBITT provider in your area. They will assess and approve your application, discussing your training needs with you as necessary. If resident in Wales, you may be eligible to join an employment-based route towards QTS. An Overseas Trained Teacher may apply for an employment based route in Wales – the Graduate Teacher programme – and may be eligible to undertake the minimum three month period of training.

For more information call the Teaching Information Line on 0800 389 2500.

When should I apply?

There are no deadlines for the OTTP although it is up to EBITT providers to establish start dates for programmes.

OTTP four-year rule

The four-year rule for overseas trained teachers (OTTs) states that you can teach for up to four years before you have to be awarded QTS. If you have not achieved QTS in this time, you can no longer teach. The four years start from the first day that you teach in a maintained school or non-maintained special school in England, and includes any time out of service. For more information, please visit the Department for Education (DfE) website.

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.

In Wales, Overseas Trained Teachers can teach for two years as an unqualified teacher, not four.

If you would like to discuss any of the points on the Overseas Trained Teacher Programme pages, please contact

TDA Tracker

  • 30% more people are training to teach physics than in 2010
  • Every 3.5 minutes someone applies for postgraduate teacher training
  • 17 people apply for postgraduate teacher training every hour
  • Salaries for newly qualified teachers start from £21k–£27k
  • Bursaries: You could get £20k tax-free for courses starting in 2012
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