ITTE Computing/QTS Standards

Introduction to QTS StandardsEdit

The aim of this resource is to exemplify the revised standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in the context of teaching Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a subject. This page introduces you to the concept of standards. Additional pages provide

This resource does not address the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Requirements, or ‘R standards’, as these are likely to be dealt with at an Institutional level, rather than subject level. These can be found at: .

This whole Standards section is available as a Word document which you can download here: Download Word document: Standardsv10.doc (263K)

The AudienceEdit

The audience for this resource is, in the first instance, new ICT Initial Teacher Education (ITE) subject tutors. However it will also be valuable for established subject tutors, subject mentors in school, to trainee teachers themselves and anyone who might be asking ‘what do the standards mean in the context of teaching ICT’.

Why standards?Edit

The standards approach was developed in England and Wales to better focus teacher trainers, mentors and trainee teachers themselves on the knowledge, skills and attitudes involved in becoming an effective teacher. In favour of the approach, standards are often seen as integral to target setting, summative assessment and progression both within teacher training and beyond. For example, the QTS (Q) standards are intended to be seen alongside core (C) teacher standards, threshold (T) standards, Excellent Teacher (E) standards and Advanced Teacher standards (A) ( and to be consistent with the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children’s Workforce ( as an integrated and consistent approach to teacher development. However, the approach has always had its critics: standards can be decontextualised and, at worst, lead to a ‘tick box’ approach to teacher development. There is, then, a longer debate to be had about the ‘standards approach’, which is beyond the scope of this resource.

Our challengeEdit

Our challenge is to inform that debate by providing a perspective on the revised standards. Trainee teachers are engaged in a continual cycle of developing professional knowledge and understanding through the application of professional skills in their planning, teaching, assessing and evaluating. This is embodied in Figure 1 and is reflected within the standards.


This resource has been compiled by Andrew Connell, Anthony Edwards and Michael Hammond. We are grateful for the input of Valerie Bayley, June Feeney, Ruth Puzzar, John Sharrock and Jude Slama and the support of The Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education (ITTE, the Training and Development Agency for Schools(TDA)

author: Andrew Connell, Anthony Edwards & Michael Hammond

Holistic description of trainee teachersEdit

When someone asks us about a trainee teacher’s progress we might begin by offering a ‘best fit’ description – ‘she is struggling’; ‘he is doing OK’, before referring to progress against individual standards. However these descriptions can be misleading if we do not have a shared understanding of what we mean by ‘OK’ and ‘doing well’.

In order to provide a starting point for debate, we, therefore, consider four imaginary trainee teachers: one who is struggling; one who is making satisfactory progress; one who is making good progress and one who is making very good progress towards the Q standards. These trainee teachers are then referred to within the exemplification that follows.

The descriptions are not comprehensive but provide a ‘snap-shot’ of where they might be on the journey to meet the Q standards. To keep these best-fit descriptions concise we refer to what might be thought as key standards. In particular we focus on how these trainee teachers:

  • Have a commitment to collaboration (see Q6)
  • Reflect on and improve practice (see Q7a)
  • Are creative and constructively critical (see Q8)
  • Have knowledge and understanding of a range of teaching and learning strategies (see Q10)
  • Demonstrate secure subject knowledge (see Q14)
  • Plan lessons and sequences of lessons (see Q22)
  • Teach (see Q25)
  • Assess (see Q26)
  • Establish a purposeful learning environment (see Q30).

However, it is important to remember that all the standards must be met despite the fact that some may have more immediacy than others. What further complicates this form of analysis is that, in reality, trainee teachers may be at different stages in relation to different standards at different times. However, we still regard this approach as valid.

1 ‘Struggling to meet the standards’Edit

In university this trainee teacher appeared to be knowledgeable and confident, but in his assignments and discussions with mentors he struggled to explain conceptually how approaches such as personalised learning enabled learners to learn more effectively (Q14). In school he had difficulty coping with the teaching and learning cycle, particularly assessment of learning (Q26).

He appeared uneasy and hesitant in front of the class on his own, but was quite successful working as part of a team (Q6). When introducing a new topic he found it difficult to strike a balance between exposition and hands on activity (Q22). With problematic classes he sent learners to undertake practical activities before fully explaining a task. With more pliant classes he talked for too long. He often engaged in unproductive exchanges with learners (Q30). He was overwhelmed by all the information he had to act upon. He needed a great deal of mentor support.

Over time, he gained confidence and was more consistent in managing children. At times learners appeared to enjoy his lessons. However, he still had difficulties in applying his subject knowledge in a school context. He had a good degree in IT and industrial experience to draw upon but he found it very difficult to break concepts down for children (Q25). When planning, he often focused on ICT skills rather than capability and underestimated the range of abilities in his classes. Lesson evaluations did not focus enough on learners learning. (Q7a)

He acknowledged the problems with classroom management but did not respond well to advice about how to better apply subject knowledge (Q8). His mentor felt he had to tread carefully and that the trainee teacher was not being proactive enough (Q10).

2 ‘Making satisfactory progress’Edit

In university this trainee teacher was able to show a growing understanding of ICT pedagogy. She recognised that teaching was going to be a challenge for her and acted accordingly. In school she familiarised herself with the relevant policies and support systems and was keen to seek advice. She was positive and professional in developing relationships with learners. She volunteered to help out in an ICT lunchtime club (Q6).

Initially her delivery in the classroom was a little ‘robotic’ and nervous. Over time she grew in confidence, employing proven and successful routines for planning and teaching of classes (Q30). Most of her lessons would be split into three parts (Q22). Introductions were well rehearsed but, sometimes, learning objectives were not made clear. Explanations were factual but did not capture the imagination of the children (Q14).

During question and answer sessions she found it difficult to vary the types of questions asked, or to react quickly to changing circumstances. She moved around the classroom and monitored learner progress effectively. She was good at working with individuals. Most lessons ended with a plenary or summary (Q25).

She made sensible and intuitive decisions about assessing learners’ work but found it difficult to identify how much of it was their own and how much was as the result of the input of others (Q26). In her planning she tended to stick rigidly to the schemes of work used in the department, rarely adapting materials (Q10) or responding to her own lesson evaluations (Q8). She responded well to advice but struggled to come up with her own solutions to address the professional difficulties identified above (Q7a).

3 ‘Good Progress’Edit

This trainee teacher positively involved himself in the cycle of professional learning. From the start of his course he was able to demonstrate understanding of the theoretical principles that underpin ICT teaching and how skills relate to capability. In school, he was confident and well prepared and able to start team teaching with his mentor very quickly (Q6). He readily acted on advice.

When teaching his own classes he provided detailed lesson plans that balanced activities with discussion and built in opportunities for group work (Q22). He pre-planned his questions and over time developed a range of assessment strategies (Q26). He established effective routines for class management and set out his expectations of behaviour, in line with school policy (Q10). He was also able to find learner friendly terms to explain lesson aims and concepts (Q14).

He showed he could consistently teach structured lessons with clear objectives. These lessons were generally engaging for learners (Q25) (Q30). He used his evaluations as a pointer to where he needed to improve (Q8). He sought out feedback from others and looked for models to extend his teaching. When he encountered difficulties, he could usually identify the reasons why himself and sought his own solutions to address them (Q7a).

4 ‘Very good progress’Edit

She was genuinely interested in the principles that underpin ICT teaching (Q14), ICT as a subject and the contribution technologies make to the changing nature of learning and teaching. She actively contributed to university sessions (Q6) and her assignments were insightful and well researched. She recognised that teaching itself would be a challenge.

In school she quickly won the trust of teachers due to her reliability and willingness to help (Q6). When starting whole class teaching she provided detailed lesson plans that balanced activities with discussion and built in opportunities for group work (Q22). She was aware how different types of activity appealed to different types of learner and sought to offer variation in how she taught and presented her material to particular learners. She established effective routines for class management and encouraged learners to take responsibility for their own learning (Q25).

She employed enquiry based learning when appropriate. She adapted schemes of work to make them more relevant and appealing and promoted learner creativity (Q30). She was consistently trying to extend her range of teaching styles (Q10) and used her evaluations of lesson and assessment of learning (Q26)to inform her future practice (Q8). Other teachers saw her as an asset to the department and to the school. When she encountered difficulties, she could identify the reasons why herself and sought her own solutions to address them (Q7a).

author: Andrew Connell, Anthony Edwards & Michael Hammond

Evidencing StandardsEdit

An interpretation of the standards is more an art than science. An unthinking tick box approach will not work. The key is to consider the evidence over an extended period of time and ask what is your ‘best fit’ judgement based upon the information you have. This information is likely to be in the form of observations, questioning, lesson plans, meeting records, examples of learner’s work, conversations with other teachers; with other adults; assignments; and conversations with the trainee teacher themselves.

It is important to remember that trainee teachers are at the beginning of a journey of professional development. Obtaining QTS is the minimum requirement and we should strive to push all trainee teachers beyond this baseline in true preparation for their NQT year.

Standards can and should be used as more than just an exercise in making a summative judgement. They can give a picture of the progress a trainee teacher has made at a particular point in time but more importantly, can help identify areas for development to meet QTS and beyond. For example a session with a trainee teacher might cover:

  • the general picture: here a mentor might discuss general progress towards the Q standards and the evidence on which this is based.
  • a focus on a particular standard: here a mentor might discuss an area to develop in terms of say questioning (see Q25) as a way of drawing learners into a lesson and checking their understanding.
  • a modelling of a solution: here a mentor might make suggestions and show the trainee teacher how to script questions in advance; make notes on the range of question types used by other teachers; how to allow learners to discuss in pairs the answers to questions before asking anyone to put up a hand.
  • application of a possible solution: here classes could be identified in which the new approach is used and arrangements made for observing the new strategy in action
  • review of that solution: here a time put aside for discussing progress together

author: Andrew Connell, Anthony Edwards & Michael Hammond


In this part of the resource we provide a table with each Q standard listed, a comment, which is our explanation of the standard, suggestions of possible ways of evidencing that standard, exemplification with reference to the holistic descriptions of trainee teachers, mentioned above. There is also a suggested overlap with the 02/02 QTS standards.

The tables are substantial so we have included them as separate downloadable documents. They are also included in the full document of this Standards section, which you can download using the link at the bottom of this page.

1 Professional AttributesEdit

These are probably the most generic and intuitive standards. A trainee teacher can easily show a willingness to listen to others and courtesy towards those trying to help. However, some require further exemplification.

Download Word document: StandardsEx1.doc (94K)

2 Professional Knowledge and UnderstandingEdit

It is unclear what the TDA mean by ‘understanding’ in this context, but in our view is it vital that all teachers know why they do things.

By implication knowledge and understanding and awareness could be demonstrated theoretically but use and adaptation requires a context. The most effective context is a learning environment e.g. ICT classroom. City Learning Centre (CLC) or the home.

The challenge that is generated by all the standards in this section is to get the balance right between theory and practice in terms of the sources of evidence.

The balance will possibly be more theoretical than practical but it depends where the trainee teacher is in the training cycle.

ICT trainee teachers may struggle initially with academic writing and will need support, particularly if they hope to achieve a postgraduate level qualification.

Download Word document: StandardsEx2.doc (136K)

3 Professional SkillsEdit

Skills have to be demonstrated, but trainee teachers must understand why they do things.

The most effective context is a learning environment e.g. ICT classroom, City Learning Centre (CLC) or the home.

The challenge that is generated by all the standards in this section is to get the balance right between practice and theory in terms of the sources of evidence.

The balance will be more practical than theoretical but it depends where the trainee teacher is in the training cycle.

Download Word document: StandardsEx3.doc (126K) author: Andrew Connell, Anthony Edwards & Michael Hammond

download Word document: "Standardsv10.doc" (263K)

How the standards have changedEdit

Although, the revised standards are in many ways more succinct than those from 02/02 QTS standards, there are a number of key themes that seem to reflect current political thinking.

  1. The whole revision is underpinned by ‘Every Child Matters’, particularly in relationship to: effective communication and engagement with children, young people and families (Q4); child and young person development (Q20); safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child (Q22); supporting transitions; multi-agency working (Q4, Q20); sharing information(Q4). It is, therefore, very important that all ITE ICT courses include work relating to ECM and that trainee teachers have good knowledge of its principles.
    For more information see: [[The Every Child Matters website]]
    Ofsted (2006), Every Child Matters: the implications for inspection
    Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) document ‘Every Child Matters and Teacher Education: Towards a UCET position paper’ and further documents at
  2. The revision is informed by the ‘Remodelling of the Workforce agenda’, with a number of standards specifically relating to it. This is not a new concept, but its profile has been raised, which has implications for trainee teachers in school. (Q4, Q5, Q20, Q32, Q33). They must have evidence of working with others, such as technicians and teaching assistants. For more information on this go to
  3. Assessment has been subdivided into formative (Q12, Q27, Q28) and summative (Q11). This reflects the Assessment for Learning Strategy, so should not pose a particular problem for courses.
  4. The use of data by trainee teachers is now a specific standard (Q13). It is now more important that partnership schools give trainee teachers the opportunity to access learner data.
  5. In Q3(b), and Q7 trainee teachers are now required to reach a level of competency which in the past has been more associated with NQT standards.
  6. Some standards that have been difficult to address in the past have been ‘watered down’ or disappeared e.g. school visits are not mentioned and EAL becomes part of a standard not a standard on its own. EAL is regularly highlighted in NQT surveys as the most problematic area, so cannot be ignored in ITE courses. Citizenship is not mentioned, although I would expect it to be in Q23. It is still desirable for trainee teachers to be familiar with it. Setting and getting in homework does often cause difficulties for trainee teachers, so now they have to plan it only (Q24).
  7. There is, on the face of it, a distinction between theory (Professional Knowledge and Understanding, Q10 – Q21) and practice (Professional Skills Q22 – Q33), though they should not be treated separately. Knowledge and understanding are best demonstrated through practice.
  8. Theories for learning have a more prominent place – this has major implications on how some courses are organised, probably at a generic level and particularly GTP and SCITTS. (Q14, Q18)
  9. It is good to see the introduction of a standard encouraging a critical approach (Q8). This is particularly relevant to technology and we should continue to expect trainee teachers to question and be critical of government guidelines and strategies.
  10. The concept of coaching is introduced (Q9). There are different definitions for coaching. The definition used is that given by the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education at
  11. ‘Personalised learning’ has a very high profile in a number of standards (Q10, Q19, Q25) and will need to paid particular attention.
  12. Creativity is also mentioned. There are different definitions for creativity. The definition used is that given by the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE) at . I welcome any move towards creativity but this definition seems to focus on what learners do and does not include what the trainee teacher does. Creative teaching should not be forgotten.
  13. Trainee teachers now have two standards on literacy, numeracy and ICT – one on supporting the teacher (Q17) and one on developing the learner (Q23). The latter may be a challenge for some and courses may want to revisit this area.
  14. E-learning has become the focus for the application of technology to learning and teaching (Q25).

Finally, Q10 and Q25 are in effect ‘know the theory of teaching’ and ‘do it in practice’. They form the bulk of what is done in ITE partnerships. It is important not to let trainee teachers and schools forget the other standards.

For another view, see the response to the ‘draft’ revised standards published by the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) (2006) ʘ at

ʘ ‘TDA Consultation: Draft Standards for Classroom Teachers, UCET RESPONSE’, (Feb. 2006), Universities Council for the Education of Teachers.

author: Andrew Connell