Assessment Only (AO) Route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for Secondary Teachers

We have recently changed our AO guidance, please read the information carefully and contact the office for more information. 

The Assessment Only (AO) route does not require a period of training and is ideal for experienced graduate teachers from the UK or overseas who are currently teaching in a school but do not have QTS. This route is aimed at experienced graduate teachers who have taught in at least two schools or colleges. The minimum length of time that teachers have to have taught for is three years (or part time equivalent thereof). The teachers have to have taught over at least two consecutive age ranges within the 11-16 or 14-19 age range. 

Please be aware that we are only offering this route to Partnership Schools. We also only offer the secondary AO route.  A list of schools can be found here. 

If you think you are suitable for the AO route and would like to apply please read all of the information on this page carefully and then complete the Assessment Only Criteria Questionnaire which can be found here.


" I would highly recommend the MSC for their efficiency and accuracy. I feel equipped for my future in teaching."

                                                      MSC AO trainee

 Introduction and Overview

Assessment Only (AO) Route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) for Secondary Teachers 

The information below is designed to provide some information on how to apply, the selection and assessment requirements and the fees. 


Eligibility and selection for the MSC Assessment Only route

 In order to be considered for this route the applicant must fulfil the following criteria. 

  1. Eligibility requirements: 


a) Must hold a UK first degree (normally a 2.2 or above) or equivalent qualification. (ENIC checked in the case of overseas trained teachers);

b) are required to have 50% of the subject they wish to teach in their degree;

c) Must have achieved a standard equivalent to a Grade 4 in the GCSE examinations in English and Mathematics (ENIC checked in the case of overseas trained teachers). Please note that qualifications in Key Functional Skills at Level 2 are not regarded as equivalent to GCSE;

d) Must have passed the Maths and English professional skills tests for ITT (this can be done during the MSC’s AO process but must be completed before the MSC can register applicants with the DfE)

e) Must have been subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced disclosure check and satisfy the Secretary of State’s requirements for health and physical capacity to teach requirement.

f) Must be able to demonstrate that they can meet all of the Teachers’ Standards (2012) within the 11-16 or 14-19 age phase without the need for any further training.

g) Must be working in a UK School, who are willing to support the training programme. Unlike our other routes to QTS, we do not match AO candidates to schools. AO candidates should apply with a school confirmed. 


Suitability requirements 

Applicants must 

a) Be currently teaching in a suitable educational setting in England (see below).

b) Be able to demonstrate that they have at least three years full time (or part time equivalent) classroom experience in teaching in the English curriculum in UK schools, in one or more of the following settings 

  • A state funded mainstream school, FE college, special school or PRU
  • An independent school

 c) Produce evidence that they can meet the Teachers’ Standards (2012) for classes, within the age ranges 11-16 or 14-19. Classes must customarily not have fewer than twenty learners.

d) Have taught in a second school for a minimum of 4 consecutive weeks before the candidate can be registered with the DfE. For applicants working in the independent sector the second school must be a mainstream, state funded school. Applicants working in specialist settings e.g. a special school, must have a second school teaching experience for at least 12 weeks in a mainstream setting. Applicants do not have to complete the second school placement before applying to the MSC but must have completed it before Stage 3 of the MSC’s AO process. Candidates are registered with the DfE after stage 3.


 The overall fee for the Assessment Only route is currently £2500.

Please email the office to ensure your are eligible for the AO route.