Does your school offer alternative routes to QTS via your CPD programme?

Does your school offer alternative routes to QTS via your CPD programme?

The teacher shortage in the UK is having an impact on the teacher recruitment pool. Experienced, unqualified teachers are finding it challenging to develop their careers as an increasing number of international schools and governments within which they operate require that teachers have QTS.  

The 2022 COBIS Teacher Supply in British International School Report states that 91% of school leaders find it challenging or somewhat challenging to recruit qualified candidates that meet their expectations. Additionally, school leaders would like to see an increased availability of routes to QTS to train local and international staff to support recruitment efforts. According to a 2023, ISC Research report, schools still face recruitment challenges.  

Have international schools considered supporting their teachers to achieve QTS whilst on the job? This article presents a case study at the British International School of Cairo and how they helped key talent achieve QTS.  

Case Study – The British International School of Cairo.


After having gained her iPGCE and six years teaching experience, this teacher searched for alternative routes to gain QTS. Without QTS the teacher believed that her ability to develop her career further at BISC would be limited and finding future employment more challenging due to many schools requiring QTS status. At the same time, recruiting highly experienced qualified teachers to Cairo was challenging due to the political situation in the country. BISC saw the potential in this teacher progressing further within the school and fully supported her to participate in EducatorsAbroad’s (EA) AOQTS programme.  

The same organization worked with senior leaders at BISC and a school-based mentor, to support the candidate through her portfolio development process, conduct observations and finalise the process through an onsite visit from an EA supervisor. During the AOQTS process the teacher enhanced her teaching skills and became a fully reflective practitioner who demonstrated an outstanding ability to meet teaching standards throughout all lessons observed.

Upon completion of the programme, the teacher progressed to a middle leadership role and later in her career moved into senior leadership. At the time, the DfE required passing skills tests in Mathematics and English which required the teacher to fly to the UK to take the online tests; luckily for teachers and schools, this is no longer a requirement. The teacher served a five-year tenure at BISC and made significant contributions to the development of the school as a middle leader, hence achieving QTS proved to be beneficial for the teacher and the school.

Other COBIS schools who have worked with EducatorsAbroad to support their teachers to gain QTS include: The International British School of Bucharest, Rugby School Thailand, St. Andrews International Primary School, The Alice Smith School, The British School of Amsterdam, The British School of Barcelona, The British School of Brussels.

 As the teacher shortage continues to impact recruitment efforts, is it time for schools to consider offering an alternative route to QTS as part of their CPD programme? Currently several international schools and the same organization are working towards integrating AOQTS into their CPD programme and schools are also considering partially funding this programme. According to a March 2023 ISC Research report, schools which stick with traditional routes to recruitment and retainment are struggling to attract talent and retain their most experienced, fully qualified teachers, who currently, have the luxury to negotiate lucrative contracts at other schools.

  Competition is fierce and some key markets such as the Middle East are luring teachers through the salary and benefits, they offer. An alternative to increasing payroll costs could be investing more in the professional development of unqualified staff and being willing to employ unqualified, experienced educators who can gain QTS in as little as two to three school terms. Will your school consider this alternative approach to attracting and retaining teaching talent?