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How will I be assessed with the Teachers’ Standards and awarded QTS?

“The standards define the minimum level of practice expected of trainees and teachers from the point of being awarded qualified teacher status (QTS).”

Teacher’s Standards, DfE, June 2013 paragraph 5

Topics on this page:

  • What are the Teachers’ Standards?
  • Interpreting the Teachers’ Standards for geography trainee teachers and early career teachers
  • How will I be assessed during my ITE training?
  • Final assessment for QTS
  • Induction and QTS

What are the Teachers’ Standards?

The current Teachers’ Standards were introduced in 2012. They apply to all teachers, not only to those in training but also to induction and beyond.

The Teachers’ Standards are presented as separate headings, numbered from 1 to 8, each of which is accompanied by a number of bulleted sub-headings. The DfE explains that:

‘The bullets, which are an integral part of the standards, are designed to amplify the scope of each heading. The bulleted subheadings should not be interpreted as separate standards in their own right, but should be used by those assessing trainees and teachers to track progress against the standard, to determine areas where additional development might need to be observed, or to identify areas where a trainee or teacher is already demonstrating excellent practice relevant to that standard.’  – Teacher’s Standards, DfE, June 2013 paragraph 13

The message is clear. The eight overarching statements in the Teachers’ Standards are of greatest importance. These state that a teacher must:

  1. Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge students.
  2. Promote good progress and outcomes by students.
  3. Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge.
  4. Plan and teach well-structured lessons.
  5. Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all students.
  6. Make accurate and productive use of assessment.
  7. Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment.
  8. Fulfil wider professional responsibilities.

Interpreting the Teachers’ Standards for geography trainee teachers and early career teachers

The Teachers’ Standards are designed to support you to become a high quality teacher with a clear vision and the leadership skills to promote a supportive environment for creative teaching and learning within a culture of continuous reflection and self-evaluation.

The GA pages Learning to teach secondary geography offer support and guidance for all new geography teachers on all routes into teaching and undergoing induction. This aims to help you progress through the Standards and beyond by providing guidance specific to the geographical aspects of each of the Teachers’ Standards.

How will I be assessed during my ITE training?

All ITE providers must use the Teachers’ Standards, but each can decide their own assessment system. Your scheme should provide specific guidance on how their assessment system operates, and the evidence you should keep, to contribute to the process.

Read this guidance carefully and discuss it with your ITE geography trainer or mentor. Most schemes have detailed monitoring and reporting procedures at specific assessment points. Assessment systems in most providers include these elements:

  • Formal observations of your lessons
  • Progress reviews and reports
  • Monitoring of targets, action plans and trainee self-evaluation
  • Subject knowledge audits
  • Reviews of trainees’ planning and trainees’ assessments of students.

In addition, and particularly if you are studying for a PGCE, or similar university qualification, assessed tasks and essays will form part of your assessment. Providers usually expect trainee teachers to keep evidence of teaching experience and achievements; often this is in a trainee teacher portfolio (or progress file) which may be kept electronically.

While your portfolio can contribute important evidence upon which the judgement for the award of QTS is based, you should make the evidence gathering manageable. The best systems are precise and rigorous. Prune the evidence to focus on examples that demonstrate your progress and achievements, rather than include all your lesson plans. But ensure you comply with your ITE provider’s specific requirements.

Formal lesson observations may take place every week or fortnight, but there will be more frequent informal observations of your lessons. Progress reviews are an opportunity to discuss achievements and the areas in which you need to develop. At these reviews you should agree how your future training and experiences will enable you to progress towards meeting the Teachers’ Standards.

Final assessment for QTS

At the end of your training the ITE provider makes a judgement, using the Teachers’ Standards, as to whether you have passed (i.e. are recommended for QTS) or failed. The DfE states that:

Providers of initial teacher training (ITT) should assess trainees against the standards in a way that is consistent with what could reasonably be expected of a trainee teacher prior to the award of QTS’.

Therefore, a trainee is not expected to be the ‘perfect’ teacher but is judged against the standard one might expect of a newly qualified teacher taking up their first post. You will still have things to learn but will have demonstrated that you have the ability to do this and can continue to improve.

To be recommended for QTS you must have shown your capability in each of the eight Standards and will need to demonstrate that you have met each Standard securely. These are not simple ‘can do’ statements to be achieved once and are then considered to be completed. Do not think of the Teachers’ Standards as a check list that you can tick off.

You will be expected to show that you can sustain teaching at the level required by the Standards in your day-to-day teaching. Qualifying for QTS means that you are a ‘rounded’ teacher and can teach effectively; this is more than just meeting each standard separately.

The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) is the competent authority in England for the teaching profession on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education. They are responsible for awarding QTS. When you have finished your training, the initial teacher training provider will inform the TRA of your results and, if successful, they will award you QTS and update your record on the database of qualified teachers.

 Induction and QTS

All qualified teachers who are employed in a relevant school in England must, by law, complete an induction period satisfactorily. An ECT cannot undertake statutory induction unless they have been awarded QTS. The Teachers’ Standards are used to assess an ECT’s performance at the end of their induction period. This is done as follows:

The decision about whether an ECT’s performance against the relevant standards is satisfactory upon completion of induction should take into account the ECT’s work context and must be made on the basis of what can be reasonably expected of an ECT by the end of their induction period within the context of the standards. Judgements should reflect the expectation that ECTs have effectively consolidated their initial teacher training (ITT) and demonstrated their ability to meet the Teachers’ Standards consistently over a sustained period in their practice. The ECF is not and should not be used as an assessment tool.

(DfE, Induction for early career teachers (England): Statutory guidance 2021)

The DfE statutory guidance set out the arrangements for assessments. In summary these are:

  • The headteacher or induction tutor is expected to review the ECT’s progress against the Teachers’ Standards throughout the induction period.
  • ECTs should receive an assessment in the final term of the first year (term 3) and in the final term of the second year of induction (term 6).
  • Evidence for assessments must be drawn from the ECT’s work as a teacher during their induction. Evidence gathering should not be burdensome. Judgements should relate directly to the Teachers’ Standards and not be made against the Early Career Framework.
  • ECTs should be kept up to date on their progress. There should be nothing unexpected.
  • For detailed information on assessment see DfE, Induction for early career teachers (England): Statutory guidance 2021.
  • Teachers’ Standards for assessment of ITE trainees and ECTs provides further information on each of the Standards.

How will I be assessed with the Teachers’ Standards and awarded QTS?