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Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

ITT Criteria: FAQs updated (3 December 2021)

3 December 2021

It is the responsibility of providers to have regard to wider legislation as well as the guidance found in the ITT criteria. This document provides ITT providers with clarification about aspects of the ITT criteria, practical examples and links to relevant websites.

Relaxations to the ITT criteria were implemented to support teacher training providers to adapt their courses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These relaxations no longer apply. The full ITT criteria and supporting advice has been reinstated for the 2021/22 academic year: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-criteria.

Changes have also been made to the Early years initial teacher training (EYITT): criteria and supporting advice: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013308/EYITT_Criteria_September_2021.pdf

and to the Assessment Only route to QTS: criteria and supporting advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-assessment-only-route-to-qts/assessment-only-route-to-qts-criteria-and-supporting-advice.

As per the June Teacher Recruitment Bulletin, relaxations to the below criteria are no longer in place:

§ expectation that trainees have taught in at least 2 schools before QTS recommendation

§ requirement for a trainee to have met the standards across the full age and ability range of training

§ expectation that training programmes cover no fewer than 4 school years.

Thus, from September 2021, the full criteria are in place, including legislation that requires practical teaching experience to take place wholly or mainly in England.


Do we have to utilise face-to-face recruitment events?

Providers can utilise a range of face-to-face and/or remote recruitment events as appropriate to their context. For instance, some providers are organising on-line coffee mornings, making greater use of social media to showcase their trainees’ experiences and replacing face-to-face events and taster days with webinars.

Do we to have to undertake face-to-face interviews?

There is no requirement for a face-to-face interview. Interviews may take place on-line. Some providers have replaced previous face-to-face interactions, for instance by using:

§ on-line meetings with pupils

§ asking candidates to prepare a short activity for the interview panel e.g. reading a picture book

§ asking candidates to teach a new skill to members of the interview panel

§ viewing and commenting on video footage of teaching episodes

§ on-line timed English tests e.g. spelling, grammar, punctuation and extended writing and on-line timed mathematics tests.

Where do we find the most recent information on recruiting trainee teachers from overseas?

The latest guidance on recruiting trainee teachers from overseas is available from: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recruit-teachers-from-overseas

Entry criteria

What can we do if candidates have not achieved a standard equivalent to a grade 4 in the GCSE examinations in English and mathematics and, in the case of candidates intending to teach pupils aged 3-11, in a science subject before their course starts?

The standard (GCSE grade 4) is more important than the certificate. Some providers are using their own GCSE equivalence tests for English, mathematics and, in the case of primary, science. Other providers refer trainees to other ITT providers to make use of their equivalency tests. Yet others allow candidates to submit alternative evidence of attainment, scrutinising this evidence carefully to ensure that it demonstrates the level and breadth of GCSE grade 4 requirements. The European Network of Information Centres in the European region (ENIC) provides advice on the equivalence of overseas qualifications. Providers should carefully consider retaining evidence around entry requirements.

What can we do if candidates are unable to provide proof of their degree qualification before their course starts?

Providers should view original degree certificates as soon as they are available. Digital versions may be requested during the application process. Some applicants find it difficult to provide original certificates in a timely manner, or even or even at all where the degree awarding body has closed and archives have not been retained. In any cases where an original certificate is no longer available, providers must gain assurance of an applicant’s graduate status and must keep an audit trail of the evidence obtained. Some providers have agreed what they will accept as alternative forms of proof e.g. university degree results transcripts, letters from the relevant university.

Where a candidate is unable to provide clear evidence of degree status, an offer should not be made. "The Education (School Teachers’ Qualifications) (England) Regulations 2003" requires all entrants to teaching in England to have a UK first degree or equivalent qualification: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2003/1662/contents/made.

Where do we find the most recent information on DBS checks?

Providers should have regard to the Keeping children safe in education statutory guidance:


when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. They should ensure that all trainees have been subject to appropriate selection checks. This will include obtaining and considering Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal records checks and children’s barred list information.

Providers can also utilise the available Safer Recruitment Guidance in Keeping children safe in education.

All trainee teachers are required to have an enhanced DBS check. This can be undertaken by a Responsible Organisation recognised by the Disclosure and Barring Service - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/responsible-organisations.

Should schools see the DBS check?

There is no requirement to do so in the case of trainees. However, providers should confirm in writing to schools that a non-salaried trainee’s criminal record check, including a check of the children’s barred list, has been completed and that the individual has been judged by the provider to be suitable to work with children. Providers are not required to provide any information to schools in addition to this confirmation. Schools may wish to record this confirmation in their single central record, but they are not required to do so.

In the case of salaried trainees, the responsibility lies with the employing school to ensure that checks have been carried out. The employing school should inform the provider that a satisfactory check has been obtained.

Where do we find guidance on safeguarding checks for overseas applicants?

DBS cannot access criminal records held overseas, so a DBS check may not provide a complete view of an applicant’s criminal record if they have lived outside the UK. Employers should make sure they have access to all the information available to them to make a safer recruitment decision. You can find out how to get a criminal record check for overseas applicants, or those who have previously lived outside the UK, on the Home Office website: "criminal record checks for overseas applicant:” https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas-applicants.

The DfE has published "Changes to checks for EU sanctions on EEA teachers:"


and "Recruit teachers from overseas:"


Providers should note the updated ID checking guidance, in line with new right to work rules, which came into force in July 2021: