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    Assessment Only Route to QTS

    Have you got experience of working as a teacher and would like to complete a formal qualification granting you fully Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)?

    If you have, Southfields Teaching School Alliance’s Assessment Only Route to QTS is ideal for you.

    We are one of the small number of institutions that have been chosen by the National College for Teaching & Leadership and the Department for Education to offer the Assessment Only Route to QTS.

    The Assessment Only Route to QTS requires that you have already arranged for a suitable school / further education college to support your application. The school / college must be prepared to host you for the entire time it takes for you to undergo the process and also give you sufficient teaching experience (paid or unpaid) and further professional opportunities to allow you to demonstrate that you meet all of the QTS Standards.

    What is the Assessment Only Route (AOR)?

    The AOR allows you to be assessed against the QTS Standards over a 12 week period in school.  It does not include any training and is not intended as an alternative for those people unable to find places on an initial teacher training course.  The assessment will be tailored for each individual and must be completed in 12 weeks.  The assessment is carried out by experienced mentors in school and the Academy will act as a guide and final assessor and will provide quality assurance for the Route.

    The Route can begin at any point in the year as long as a good quality teaching and assessment experience can be guaranteed. AOR applicants will be expected to be working in a school on entry to the programme and will have the support of the school in the assessment process.

    Who is AOR for?

    You need to show evidence that you have managed classes as a teacher in complete charge, who has planned, taught and assessed units of work over a period of 2-3 years.  For assessment purposes, you need to be teaching (i.e. in charge of a whole class of 15 or more pupils) for at least 50% of timetable for 12 weeks.  You need to have taught two consecutive age ranges and either covered the range of core NC subjects with younger classes or taught a specialist subject to older students.

    Does any teaching experience count?

    A broad range of school/college contexts can be counted, but teaching very small groups (in a Pupil Referral Unit or in a Special School) may not be appropriate.  Evidence can be drawn from your 2-3 years of teaching experience, but the final assessment draws on the designated 12 weeks which will be observed by school mentors and Academy assessors.  Some experience as a TA or HLTA may be helpful as part of the two or three years, but you need evidence of acting as a full class teacher with responsibility for the planning, teaching and assessing of a whole group for the majority of the time.

    For secondary schools, the teaching experience will be assessed against the curriculum requirements of one specialist subject.  Cover supervision across a range of subjects can only be considered as supporting experience, and not as the main part of the assessed evidence.

    What are the entry requirements?

    • An honours degree (2:2 or above) or equivalent, linked to your specialist subject (at least 50%).
    • Grade C or equivalent in GCSE English and Mathematics (The University of Worcester and UCL organises alternative examination in these subjects for those without the appropriate certificate).
    • Certificated passes for the NCTL’s Teachers’ Skills Tests in Literacy and Numeracy.
    • 2 years’ experience of teaching whole classes or groups in two different institutions.

    How do I apply for the AOR?

    An application form is available by clicking ao_appl_form_Applicant.

    The form should be returned directly to Carol Gray training@southfields.wandsworth.sch.uk

    The form asks for your professional details as a teacher and a personal statement supporting your application.  The application form also requires support from your designated school and identifies a proposed assessment period with timetabled classes.  It also requires evidence of mentoring experience on the part of the school and a reference from the head teacher.  The assessment period of 12 weeks can take place at any time convenient to you and the school provided the Academy has available assessors.

    shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview and asked to present evidence of short and medium term planning of lessons and units of work as well as examples of assessment of students’ work.

    What does it cost?

    Candidates will be charged £2,400 for this Assessment Only Route.

    Any additional guidance necessary as part of the preparation for the Route will be subject to a fee. An additional day’s pre-assessment observation for instance will be costed at £500.

    How do I accept a place and register?

    Once your application forms are checked for meeting the minimum requirements you will be sent pre-interview information and be asked to commit to interview dates art your school and complete pre-interview tasks. Prior to interview you will need to arrange for payment of the initial fee of £700. The is non-refundable if you are not considered suitable to progress to full assessment.

    What are we looking for in a successful applicant?

    You will:

    have the intellectual and academic capabilities needed to meet the required teaching standards;

    • possess the appropriate qualities, attitudes and values expected of a teacher;
    • be able to read and use clear and accurate Standard English in order to communicate effectively in verbal and written form;
    • have met the requirements for health and physical capacity to teach;
    • have passed the NCTL’s Skills Tests;
    • have evidence of lesson observations judged to be at least ‘Good’ by Ofsted criteria.
    • You will be able to explain the reasoning behind your lesson planning, to show your understanding of curriculum issues related to your specialism and the thinking behind your use of assessment as well as an appreciation of whole school issues.

    What support is required from my school?

    Most of the standards require evidence collected from the whole duration of the 12 week assessment period (e.g. how you set good targets for students over a term, how you assess progress). 4-6 lesson observations will be required with one teaching group to provide supported evidence of pupil progress.

    Some Standards require a breadth of experience 9e.g. good subject knowledge and pedagogy to teach across the age/ability range). One observation of each of the identified teaching groups on the timetable will provide good supporting evidence.

    It is helpful if classroom observations provide some detail as well as an overview. Tick-box forms are appropriate for some summative judgements but for formative purposes, more detail is required. The mentor and AOR teacher should agree in advance about the focus of an observation and the report might describe all or part of a lesson. Examples of teacher and student exchanges would be helpful as evidence of good use of language and appropriate subject knowledge in action.

    Some Standards may be evidenced through good evaluations completed by fellow teachers to cover such experiences as parents consultation events, team meetings, school visits, tutorial and pastoral contributions. Witness statements, as well as items such as minutes from department and staff meetings, can provide good evidence.

    What is meant by a second school placement?

    If your teaching experience currently has been in one school, you will need to arrange a placement in an additional school to add to your experience. We advise a minimum 4 week placement as a block, or a one-day per week experience over a term, prior to beginning any assessment period.

    The second school experience provides you with the basis to compare school cultures and expectations, to assess the transferability of your skills and knowledge from one context to another and to gain additional collaborative teaching. A senior teacher from the school should be able to provide a professional reference relating to your overall contribution.

    The second school placement may be arranged for a very particular experience; for example, a teacher from an independent school or a special school may want additional experience in a mainstream school. A teacher with experience of KS5 may want to work in another setting with KS4 students and staff. You are strongly advised to discuss any necessary additional school experience at the stage of your initial AOR application.

    What happens during the 12 week assessment period?

    You will be teaching a half timetable at least. Your school mentor will observe lessons (at least 3) and help you record evidence of achievement against Standards. You will work together with your mentor to identify any additional evidence required to meet the Standards and record this using a tracking document. You will keep a record of any lesson evaluations of your own and any written reflections on experiences in your own and other schools in a reflective journal. These will provide useful material for your commentary on your development, which will be presented in a final Portfolio.

    You will organise a visit from the Academy assessor at the beginning (usually at week 4) and end of the 12 weeks. Discussions with you, your mentor and your assessor can help to identify any issues related to meeting the standards, appropriate teaching experiences, collections of evidence or use of a second school experience. You can gather further advice through e-mail correspondence with the Academy Director.

    The purpose of the final assessment is to ensure that you have met all of the Teachers’ Standards. the final assessment is organised with mentor and the assessor to ensure there are opportunities for a lesson observation, discussion of evidence and a review of the portfolio.

    What evidence do I have to provide to pass the AO Route?

    Obviously, teaching experience will be a mixture of what you have done in the past and what you do over the 12 weeks of current experience. You will need to complete an Assessment Tracker which provides a signposting to the evidence in your day to day teaching files (electronic or hard copy). Weekly mentor meeting notes that record important issues for your professional development will be completed and supported by appropriate evidence.

    What is the Individual Training Plan?

    Following interview you need to use the AOR Initial Assessment Audit to review what you have achieved already against the Standards and where the evidence can be found. Do this with your mentor in school and send us an electronic copy to use at the very beginning of the assessment period. This document serves as a signpost to where the evidence of achievement can be found in your teaching files, computer etc. Once you have begun the assessment process you will need to keep portfolios of evidence which link to the tracker and contains annotated evidence for each of the subsets of the standards.

    What kinds of evidence are necessary to support the portfolio?

    Evidence for assessment against the Teacher’s Standards should be drawn from a range of sources:

    • Lesson plans
    • Lesson evaluations
    • Schemes of work
    • Record keeping
    • Marking
    • Monitoring and assessment data
    • Formal and informal lesson observations and written feedback
    • Notes made by the candidate duringmentor meetings, discussion with colleagues, INSET, Testimony from other teaching and non-teaching personnel
    • Resources
    • Learners’ work
    • Displays
    • Prior experience
    • Attendance at courses, INSET/Departmental meetings
    • Parents’ evenings
    • Tutoring
    • Extra-curricular activities; after school activities; trips; work experience
      Annotated documentation e.g. NCTL documents, school policies, SEN Code of Practice

    How soon do I get my QTS qualification?

    As soon as you have met all the assessment requirements, we notify the NCTL and recommend you for QTS. The formal confirmation from the NCTL takes two to three weeks usually.

    Do I have to follow up with an induction period in school?

    The current regulations suggest that where the school requires full QTS qualification, an induction period can be as little as a term for someone with appropriate experience of that particular school. Some schools may consider employment without QTS qualifications and therefore not ask for an induction period.

    Contact us

    By Post:

    Assessment Only Route
    Southfields Teaching Alliance
    c/o Carol Gray
    333 Merton Road,
    SW18 5JU

    By Telephone:

    020 8875 2600 and ask to speak to Carol Gray – Teaching School Administrator

    By E-mail:




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