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U.S., Canadian Teachers Automatically Qualified in England

By Tiffani Razavi, TIE Staff Writer

Teachers wishing to work in countries other than the one in which they trained often face challenges, and the prospect of retraining can be enough to dissuade many from continuing in the profession. But over the past couple of years and in the hope of engaging the best possible teachers in the workforce, rules determining who is qualified to teach at schools in England have been reformed—although publicity for the change has been scant.
To teach in state maintained schools or most academies in England, Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), the professional qualification for teachers in England, is required. “Free schools,” including studio schools, university teaching colleges, and technical academies, have additional freedoms and can appoint staff with alternative qualifications.
For some time, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals who are recognized as qualified school teachers in another EEA member state (or Switzerland) have been eligible to apply for QTS to the awarding body, the Teaching Agency, without the need to undertake further teacher training in England.
As of April 2012, restrictions on teachers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States were lifted, giving teachers from these countries the same working rights as those from the European Union. In other words, they are recognized as qualified teachers and awarded QTS without training or assessment.
The Department for Education emphasizes that individual schools or local authorities will still have to check the suitability of the teacher in the normal way, including proper background checks. Staff will also have to meet existing immigration criteria that may apply to them for the purposes of entering or remaining in the UK to work as a teacher, as set out by the UK Border Agency.
To be recognized as a fully qualified teacher in England, a person must be able to teach as a fully qualified teacher in the country where he or she was trained. Specifically, in order to be awarded recognition, those seeking to work in England must have satisfied two conditions in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the USA.
First, they must have successfully completed a course of initial teacher training (ITT) which is recognized by the competent authority in that country. Second, they must have successfully completed or satisfied any additional conditions, including any period of professional experience comparable to an induction period, which are required for employment on a permanent basis in government-funded schools in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the USA. Teachers who are barred or subject to any restrictions in their country of qualification will not be recognized as qualified teachers in England.
In giving the rationale for lifting restrictions, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said that research shows that teaching qualifications offered in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA are already equivalent to those in England. In a speech to the House of Commons, Mr. Gove said: “One of the aims of my department is to make sure that the most talented people possible are teaching our children.”
He added that in the future he hoped to extend this freedom to teachers from other Commonwealth countries including South Africa, Jamaica, and Singapore. At present, teachers who come from countries that do not qualify for automatic QTS are permitted to work in state and other schools for up to four years before having to take extra training.
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03/13/2014 - Editor
Scottishlaura - thanks for pointing out the inaccuracy. We'll change the headline, which is indeed potentially misleading.
03/12/2014 - scottishlaura
You need to update your headline as it is inaccurate. The rules have not changed in the UK (which includes Scotland, England, N.Ireland and Wales). They have only changed in England.



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