Qualified Teacher Status


  • No education system can be better than the quality of its teachers.1 The most successful countries, from the Far East to Scandinavia, are those where teaching has the highest status as a profession. These countries have demanding initial teacher education programmes which require successful completion in order to enter into the profession. 
  • The rigorous criteria involved in achieving Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) ensures that teachers possess solid knowledge and understanding of educational values and subject matter, and high standards of planning, monitoring, assessment and class management. QTS represents a formal set of skills, qualities, and professional standards that are recognised as essential aspects of an effective educator.
  • Unqualified teachers may have difficulty coping with pupils with behavioural issues and special educational needs. They may be an expert in their subject specialism but they will lack the classroom experience and pedagogical background needed to maximise children’s learning potential and properly support their educational development.
  • It is impossible to guarantee consistency or quality of teaching unless the merits of QTS are universally recognised.  All schools, regardless of their status, should adhere to the same criteria and requirements when appointing teaching staff to ensure that all pupils are afforded the same high standards of teaching.
  • Allowing academies and free schools to hire unqualified teaching staff may lead to a decline in educational standards. Schools need a properly resourced team of qualified teachers and support staff, not lower investment presented as freedom of choice.
  • Unqualified teachers are cheap alternatives to trained and qualified staff. They may be expected to perform the same duties as qualified teachers but they do not receive the same financial remuneration.
  • DfE figures show that 13 per cent of teachers in free schools are not qualified compared to 3.8 per cent of teachers in all state-funded schools.2 In Sweden, free schools have made profits by reducing the number of qualified teachers they employ and its educational standards have declined.3
  • An NUT-commissioned YouGov survey of parents’ views on education showed that the overwhelming majority (80 per cent) would not want their children to attend schools that did not require their teachers to have professional teaching qualifications. The survey also showed that 73 per cent of parents believed that employing unqualified teaching staff in free schools was designed to save money, not improve standards.

1 McKinsey & Company (2007). How the world’s best performing schools come out on top. Available: here.

2 Department for Education (10 April 2014), Statistical First Release. School Workforce in England: November 2013, London: Department for Education. p. 6. Available here.

3  OECD (2014). Resources, Policies and Practices in Sweden’s Schooling System: An in-depth analysis of PISA 2012 Results. Available: here.