Climbing the career ladder



The DfE released a consultation on strengthening the qualified teacher status (QTS) and career progression on 15 December 2017.

The consultation is aimed at anyone with an interest in teacher professional development – namely teachers, school leaders, higher education institutions, initial teacher training providers, LAs and governing boards; therefore, it’s vital that school staff and members of the governing board register their views.

The consultation closes on the 9 March 2018 – you can submit your response here.

This guidance explains the key proposals outlined in the consultation.


Proposals for strengthening QTS


The two pertinent proposals for strengthening QTS are:

  • To extend the current one-year induction period, i.e. the statutory period immediately following initial teacher training (ITT), to two years.
  • To change the name of the award received at the end of ITT – instead of gaining QTS, teachers will gain ‘QTS (Provisional)’. Full QTS would be awarded at the end of the extended induction period, i.e. after teachers have completed two years of classroom practice.

Under the proposed model, teachers who complete ITT will have the same rights and protections as current NQTs, their salaries will still be on the qualified teacher pay scale, and teachers in their second year will have the same entitlements for pay progression that stand currently.  

The commitment to introduce the new QTS by September 2019 applies to trainees starting their ITT in 2019; therefore, most schools and new teachers will see the impact from 2020.

Other proposals relating to the strengthening of QTS and supporting teachers in their first years include the following:

  • To develop a proposal for a structured early careers content framework that is adaptable to the needs of different teachers and aims to make sure new teachers are supported.
  • To consider having an additional mentor role into the statutory induction guidance – this would be in addition to the role of the induction tutor.
  • To strengthen the statutory induction guidance to require schools to provide for frequent mentoring sessions and for this provision to be assessed more rigorously.
  • To consider making the training of mentors mandatory for all schools.
  • To develop existing policies to ensure new teachers get sufficient time to focus on their professional development.


Proposals for improving career progression


The pertinent proposals relating to improving progression opportunities for teachers throughout their careers include the following:

Professional qualifications

  • The consultation proposes several different approaches in relation to national professional qualifications (NPQs) to fill the gap for teachers who don’t aspire to ‘traditional’ school leadership positions; these are:
  • To consider expanding the provision of NPQs to include specialisms. 
  • To revisit the current NPQs and introduce specialisms within these, rather than creating new programmes.
  • To consider if CPD is a more appropriate route for these teachers than NPQs.
  • To assess the demand for, and potentially develop, subject specialist NPQs for classroom teachers.


  • To commission an independent external review body to ‘badge’ high-quality CPD to help school leaders navigate the market.
  • To develop several policies and practices to encourage the development of a culture of high-quality CPD in schools.


  • To explore how the DfE can support the building of a culture of mentoring leadership in schools.
  • To build a mentoring component into any new specialist qualifications that are developed.


  • To explore options for how some of the barriers for schools offering sabbaticals can be removed; thus facilitating sabbaticals for some teachers, so long as the sabbaticals positively contribute to the education system.




DfE (2017) ‘Strengthening Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and improving career progression for teachers’