The Assessment Only (AO) route

Applications for the academic year 2021 – 2022 will be accepted between 21 June 2021 and 1 March 2022. Interviews can be arranged throughout the year until 31 March 2022 (with the exception of school holidays when the AO office is closed).

We are also continuing to provide advice to potential candidates at this time and and are keen to support schools in this way. Please do contact us if you have further queries.

The AO route

The University of Hertfordshire is an accredited and approved provider of the Assessment Only (AO) route into teaching, working in partnership with schools across:

  • Hertfordshire
  • Bedfordshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Essex
  • the North London Boroughs

The AO route allows you to demonstrate that you already meet all of the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) without the need for any further training.

Find out more from the overview of the AO route.

Assessment Only route requirements

You will need to present detailed evidence, and your teaching will be assessed in a school by University of Hertfordshire tutors.

In all cases you must already be working in a school in the area we cover and have the full support of your school. You must also provide assurances of competency in fundamental English and Maths by one of the following, as appropriate: either passes in both Professional Skills Tests, achieved less than three years before beginning the AO assessment process; or, successful assessment against the University of Hertfordshire Competency Audit in Fundamental English and Maths – this can be provided by the AO lead on request.

The AO route is not Initial Teacher Training. All applicants must demonstrate that they meet the Teachers’ Standards without the need of further training. The application and interview process will address this and places are only allocated when full requirements are met.

Assessment on the AO route leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), after which the full requirements for 'early career teachers' apply including the early careeer teacher induction period.

What is the time scale?

The maximum time allowed for the AO route is twelve weeks from the point of registration to the Final Assessment.

How much does it cost?

There is no funding for the AO route so full costs must be paid by applicants or their schools. There is no cost for the 'Initial Expression of Interest'.

Payment must be made in full before the applicant will be registered on the AO route.

Find out more information about the AO costs.

Who should apply for AO?

Overseas trained teachers

If you have a recognised teaching qualification from another country within the European Economic Area or from Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States of America it is possible that you may be granted QTS without further assessment.

In this case you need to apply to the Department for Education so that your status may be assessed.

If you have a recognised teacher qualification from any other country than those listed above, or you are not granted QTS without further assessment, you can apply for QTS through the AO route.

Specific requirements apply and these are set out on our application form.

Please start by completing the Initial Expression of Interest form.

Post-16 PGCE or QTLS (England)

If you are a Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) holder teaching in a school, but do not wish to maintain your Institute for Learning (IfL) membership, you can apply for QTS through the AO route.

Specific requirements apply and these are set out on our application form.

Please start by completing the Initial Expression of Interest form.

Teaching experience in England – but no teaching qualification

If you are a graduate with an honours degree you may be eligible to apply for QTS through the AO route. In most circumstances, it is expected that a minimum of two years' successful whole class teaching (or part-time equivalent) is required before applying for the AO route.

There are significant requirements for you and for your school and these are set out in our application form.

Further details are also on the Department for Education website.

If you believe this is the right route for you, please start by completing the Initial Expression of Interest form.

Other questions?

Visit the Department for Education website if you have other general questions about the Assessment Only (AO) route.

The Overseas Trained Teacher Programme  (OTTP)

This programme has been closed by the DfE effective from January 31 2013. Teachers who qualified as teachers in a country outside the UK and who do not meet the DfE requirements for having QTS awarded without further assessment, may wish to consider the Assessment Only option as a means of gaining QTS.

How to apply

Complete the Assessment Only Initial Expression of Interest form to begin your application process.

If you meet the requirements you will be sent an application form.

Please note the requirement of at least GCSE Grade C in Mathematics and English (and for the Primary route at least GCSE Grade C in Science in addition). The required grade under the new reformed GCSEs with examinations from June 2017 is a grade 4 or above. The AO route will accept GCSE equivalencies. (See the Equivalency Testing website for further information.)

The AO route has flexible start points between September and April. Applications are now welcomed for September 2022 onwards.