Assessment Only (AO) Route for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)

The University offers a Primary and Secondary Assessment Only Route to Qualified Teacher Status.

The assessment only route is intended for very experienced graduate teachers without QTS who can demonstrate meeting all of the Teachers’ Standards without the need for further training. Candidates are accepted onto the assessment only route after an initial assessment to assess whether they are likely to be able to demonstrate that they are meeting all of the Teachers’ Standards. 

Teachers who have been trained in another country and have qualified teacher status in that country, may apply for assessment for QTS in the UK. To do so they must be employed in a UK school.

The University of Wolverhampton provides the Assessment Only Route for unqualified teachers working in mainstream Primary or Secondary schools across our region, delivering a mainstream curriculum to full classes. We are able to work with special schools and Pupil Referral Units delivering a mainstream curriculum. 

Our Assessment Only Route leads to recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status in Primary Education (age 3-7, 5-11 or 7-11) or Secondary Education (subject, age 11-16, or 14-19 for subjects such as Psychology, Business Studies and Social Science).  Following completion of the route, the statutory induction period is commenced.

It is expected that all candidates will have worked as an unqualified teacher for a minimum of two years (or full-time equivalent), having undertaken all of the duties and responsibilities that would be expected of a teacher.  This includes; the planning, delivery, leading of learning and assessment of pupils’ across the age and ability range.  Cover supervisor or Teaching Assistant roles would not enable a candidate to demonstrate all of the Teachers’ Standards.

This route is completed in no longer than 3 calendar months from the registered start date.  Where a candidate fails to meet a provider’s reasonable expectation of providing evidence for assessment within the 3-month period, or where assessment determines that the candidate does not fully meet the Teachers’ Standards, the candidate is deemed to have failed the route.

In order to assure candidates’ English and mathematics, an online audit is carried out, prior to commencement on the route.

  • All candidates must have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 or above in GCSE English and mathematics.

  • Those who intend to teach pupils aged 3 to 11 additionally must have achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 or above in a GCSE science subject.

  • All candidates must hold a first degree (i.e. a Bachelors degree) or equivalent qualification granted by a United Kingdom institution, or an equivalent degree or other qualification granted by a foreign institution (A first degree comprises 300 higher education credit points of which 60 must be at level 6 of the Qualifications and Credit Framework).

  • The University of Wolverhampton offers equivalency tests for those candidates who do not have a GCSE grade 4 or above in English, Maths or Science.

  • Original certificates are required to confirm qualifications at interview.
  • All candidates will require two years (minimum) experience of teaching as an unqualified teacher across the age range for assessment.

  • Assessment only criteria requires candidates to have had experience of teaching in an alternative setting. This may be a condition of commencing the route (please see the 'Two School Requirement' tab').

There is no statutory requirement for primary applicants to have a degree in a national curriculum subject, or for secondary applicants to have a degree in a specified subject, as long as they meet all of the Teachers’ Standards, including those that relate to subject and curriculum knowledge.

The assessment process is designed to assess candidates’ suitability to teach and demonstrate meeting all of the Teachers’ Standards without the need for any further training.  An interview will take place with the candidate and supporting staff at school, along with an assessment of the candidate’s portfolio and lesson observations from across the age range. In order to assure candidates’ English and mathematics from April 1st 2020, an audit will be carried out in English and maths as part of the assessment process.  Prior to this date, passing the Professional Skills tests remain a requirement for entry to the route.  Successful candidates will continue to provide evidence to support their ability to meet this expectation whilst following the route.

Candidates being assessed in non-specialist primary settings will be assessed across the relevant curriculum subjects. Secondary candidates will be assessed on their knowledge and understanding of their subjects and related pedagogy.  Candidates that are assessed in a subject that is always or predominantly taught in only one age range (for example post 16) may need to demonstrate subject knowledge in a related subject if they do not have the opportunity to be assessed in their subject across the full age range.  For example, Psychology candidates may provide evidence through the teaching of Health and Social Care in the 14-16 age range.

We are open for applications until the end of March each year in order for assessment only candidates to complete the route before the end of the summer term. Applications received after this date will be assessed but the route may not be commenced until September, at the earliest.

An application assessment will check that candidates meet the requirements outlined by the Department for Education (LINK to criteria) for consideration for the Assessment Only route to QTS. Candidates will be must be able to demonstrate that they have:

  • Achieved a GCSE grade 4 or above in English, mathematics (and a science subject for Primary) or equivalent.
  • Achieved a UK Honours degree or equivalent
  • Taught as an unqualified teacher for a minimum of two years
  • Taught across the age and full ability range for assessment
  • Evidence of teaching in two schools or settings across the age range for assessment
  • Satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service, and Prohibition Order checks in place.
  • The health and physical capacity to teach

Following a successful application assessment and background checks, candidates will take part in an initial assessment day at school. 

This will include:

  • An interview
  • Assessment of portfolio of evidence against the Teachers’ Standards
  • An audit to assure candidates’ ability to: Communicate effectively and to solve mathematical problems, in line with the expected duties of a teacher.
  • Two lesson observations across the age and ability range for assessment.

Following a successful initial assessment day, candidates will be registered for the route with a view to completion within a 12 week period. A final assessment day will take place to enable the University to verify that candidates are continuing to meet the Teachers’ Standards, and that a subsequent recommendation for the award is secure.

We assess Primary candidates in either the 3-7, 5-11 or 7-11 age ranges.

Secondary candidates are assessed in either the 11-16 or 14-19 age ranges.

Candidates are required to provide evidence against all of the Teachers’ Standards  for QTS across the age range of assessment.   For example, those seeking assessment in the 3 -7 age range, evidence would be required for the 3-5 and 5-7 age range (teaching this age range at foundation stage and key stage 1).  For those seeking assessment in the 5-11 age range, evidence would be required for age ranges 5-7 and 7-11 (teaching this age range at key stage 1 and 2).

Candidates seeking assessment in the 11 – 16 age range would be required to provide evidence for age ranges 11-14 and 14-16 (teaching this age range at key stages 3 and 4). Those seeking assessment for the 14-19 age range need to provide evidence of 14 – 16 and 16-19 (teaching this age range at key stages 4 and 5).

The vast majority of assessments take place in mainstream primary and secondary schools. However, we are able to offer assessment in special or independent schools, though must be assured that candidates are able to teach across the full age and ability range with whole classes.  This evidence may be gained through the second school experience in a mainstream setting.  Please contact us to discuss how this type of assessment might be supported.

Evidence for assessment purposes will come from; initial application forms, references, portfolios, teaching observations, interviews with the candidate and staff at school.

Candidates will be required to present evidence against all of the Teachers’ Standards from their teaching experience.   Folders of evidence may be presented using the University guidance booklets, further evidence will be assessed through interviews, observations and discussions.

All candidates for the route must have taught in at least two schools or settings. Candidates must be able to demonstrate sufficient breadth and variety of experience in schools, early years or further education settings to enable them to meet all of the Teachers’ Standards.  This includes having:

  • Taught children and young people from different backgrounds, across the ability range in their chosen age ranges;
  • Gained experience of different approaches to teaching and learning and to school organisation and management.

A second school experience may be a condition of entry to the route, for those who meet the criteria in all other respects but do not have evidence from two schools.   The University will advise schools to support meeting this requirement.

Applications can be made at any point during the academic year however candidates must have full support of their employing school. The start date is flexible - you can start the programme at any point throughout the academic year and it is possible to complete it within the academic year.  


Stage 1: 

Application consideration

The application will be assessed for suitability for entry on to the AO route.  If you are successful you will be interviewed by a University assessor in the employing school.

To request an application form please email or 

Stage 2:

The Interview  

Part of the interview process will involve identifying your suitability on the AO route. Candidate will need to prepare an initial portfolio of evidence for initial assessment.

Stage 3: 

Meeting the offer conditions

The following conditions MUST be met prior to final acceptance on to the route. You MUST:

  1. have undertaken a second school experience if required.
  2. have taken and passed the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy*
  3. have met any other conditions specific to the individual and determined by the initial application Stage 2 and Interview Stage 3.

*University audits must be completed to assess fundamental literacy and mathematics skills for teaching.

Stage 4:

The programme

The individual guidance will indicate the length of the programme and will be based on your initial application, teaching experience, evidence of standards already met, and the interview day. The length of the programme is a maximum of 12 working weeks.

Stage 5:

Final Assessment

The purpose of the Final Assessment visit is to verify the judgment of the employing school by making an independent judgment as to whether you have met all the standards for the award of Qualified Teacher Status.

Candidates completing this route will gain QTS which will allow them to teach in maintained schools in England with greater opportunities for career development. 

Prices for applications are:

Application £80 – Assessment of information pack, including; Head teacher endorsement, timetables, qualifications and experience

Stage 1 – £300 – Formal interviews with candidate and relevant school staff

Stage 2 – £900 – school visit with observations, quality assurance of evidence, recommendations for route commencement, University registration to route if all criteria is met.

Stage 3 – £970 – Final assessment in school including observations, quality assurance of final evidence and recommendation for Qualified Teacher Status.

To apply:

If you have further enquiries or meet the all the above criteria and have the full support of your employing school and you require an application form please email:

Primary AO route:

Secondary AO route:


The route is aimed at teachers who are highly experienced but unqualified.

It is ideal for those unqualified teachers who have been teaching for a minimum of two years in an English school and who can assemble evidence of meeting the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). 

This route allows you to gain QTS in your current setting without further training or study. We have set up detailed assessments and procedures so that candidates can gain QTS in their current educational setting.

The assessment period normally takes 12 weeks and can be commenced at any point in the year following a diagnostic interview. Interviews are currently conducted throughout the academic year.