Teachers Defence Service

Teaching Registration in the UK

Legal Advice in Teaching Registration Law

Legal Advice about Teaching Registration

About Us

Teachers Defence Service represents teachers in Teaching Reistration and QTS applications and in professional conduct regulatory proceedings. This artcle focusses on the registration processes of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. For guidance on regulatory conduct proceedings, see our articles on reglation.


If you were awarded a teaching qualification from a Scottish education institution in Primary or Secondary education, you may be eligible for registration. 

It is a legal requirement for any teacher to be registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland to teach in a Scottish school.

The GTCS does not award Qualified Teacher Status or provide an assessment for QTS, which is required to teach in England and Wales. An application to the Teaching Regulation Agency (England) or Education Workforce Council (Wales) will need to be made for QTS.

You will be asked to join the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. If you were already a member of the scheme you will have an update processed.

If you have spent three months or more (in a single period) in a non-UK country in the last ten years, the GTCS will also require an overseas criminal record check.

Once the registration process is complete, the GTCS will send confirmation of registration with the GTCS and a registration number.

Teachers who have obtained QTS elsewhere in the UK via completion of a structured programme of study completed on an in-service basis (those without the PGCE) can apply for Provisional (Conditional) registration. They will be able to go on to obtain full registration after completion of a top-up programme and confirmation of satisfactory and relevant teaching service meeting the GTCS probationary service requirement. 

This option is not available if you obtained QTS via an Assessment Only route and you should apply for Named School Only Registration.

As of 1 October 2017, all teachers working in Independent Schools (including Education Through Care Establishments) are required to register with GTCS in accordance with the Registration of Independent Schools (Prescribed Person) (Scotland) Regulations 2017. 

Registration with GTCS by college lecturers is voluntary, as there is not yet a legal requirement for them to be registered.

For guidance on provisional registration and appeals from registration decisions, see our article: The GTCS, Registration and Appeals


Teachers in Wales must be registered. If you trained in Wales, to be registered to teach in Wales, the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is required.

If you trained as a teacher outside Wales, you may be able to apply for your qualification to be recognised by the Education Workforce Council.  If your application is successful, you will be awarded your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) which will enable you to teach in Wales. If you completed your initial teacher training in England, your award of QTS is recognised in Wales.

You can apply for recognition as a teacher in Wales if you qualified as a teacher in Scotland, Northern Ireland or the EEA. 

Once the Education Workforce Council receives an application, the information submitted will be assessed. A suitability assessment may be undertaken with a request for further information. If the EWC decides that registration can be granted confirmation will be sent by e-mail.

Northern Ireland

Every teacher that wants to teach in a grant–aided school in Northern Ireland must be registered with General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland.

Assessment is based on the completion of an Application and submitting appropriate documentary evidence along with the Registration fee.

Once you are a registered teacher in Northern Ireland you will have to renew your registration every year (the registration year runs 1 April to 31 March).


To teach in England you will require the QTS, please see separate section on QTS.

Our Services

We can provide advice and guidance, or advocacy services (including representation at hearings), if instructed, to assist you in dealing with the TRA regulator. We can provide advice and assitance in relation to Teaching Registration and QTS applications. Our fees are competitive. Give us a call on 020 3012 0402 without obligation and in strict confidence to see how we can assist you. Or, use our Contact Form.

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