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Your Career• 3 Min read

29th April 2019

What are the DfE Teachers’ Standards?

The Teachers’ Standards as set out by the Department for Education (DfE) outlines the minimum requirements for teachers’ practice and conduct in the UK. This guidance is for the use of school leaders, staff and governing bodies alike, and is issued into law as the requirements teachers must follow.

Teachers cannot receive Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) unless this minimum level of practice is followed – the Standards are used to assess all trainees working towards QTS and for all teachers covered by the 2012 appraisal regulations.

You can download the entire Teachers’ Standards here.

The DfE’s Teachers’ Standards is split into two broad sections:

  • Teaching
  • Professional and personal conduct

What are the eight goals of teaching laid out in the teachers’ standards?

The ‘Teaching’ section of the Teachers’ Standards outlines eight goals all teachers must aim for, which are:

  1. Setting high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils
  2. Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils
  3. Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
  4. Plan and teach well-structured lessons
  5. Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils
  6. Make accurate and productive use of assessment
  7. Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment
  8. Fulfil wider professional responsibilities

These eight aims include everything that is expected of teachers in general, from teaching and assessing students, to maintaining communication with parents and continuing your professional development.

What do the teachers’ standards say about personal and professional conduct?

The second section covers the expectation on teachers in regards to their everyday conduct. There are three broad statements contained in this section which set the required standards for conduct throughout your teaching career:

  • Teachers must uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour.
  • Teachers must have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies, and practices of the school in which they teach.
  • Teachers must have an understanding of and always act within the statutory frameworks which set out their professional duties and responsibilities.

Within this section, the Teachers’ Standards explains in depth the behaviour expected of teachers. These behaviours include treating all pupils with dignity and respect whilst observing proper boundaries appropriate to your professional position; having regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ wellbeing; showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others; not undermining fundamental British values; and ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability.

The DfE’s Teachers’ Standards were developed by an independent review group of teachers, headteachers and other experts to give the best possible guidance for teachers. It is good practice to refer to the Standards at different times in your career to review your own professional development outside of official appraisals.

For headteachers, referring to the Standards is the best way to assess the performance of the teachers in your school, as well as using your professional judgement to judge what else should be reasonably expected of that teacher given their role and level of experience.

Do the teachers’ standards apply to all teachers?

The Teachers’ Standards apply to:

  1. Trainee teachers proceeding with their QTS
  2. All teachers finishing their induction period 
  3. Teachers with a QTS who are included in the 2012 appraisal regulations and are working in maintained schools (and the standards may also be used for teachers who come under these regulations and hold a QTLS status)

How can I achieve the teaching standards?

You might feel intimidated by the teaching standards as a trainee teacher, but they’ll soon become second nature. Here are some tips to incorporate the standards into your lessons:

Literacy and numeracy — the three Rs have to be well supported during lessons, whatever the subject is. The standards say that you have to ensure that your lessons promote: ‘high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English’.

Lesson planning — school inspectors will need proof that you prepare thoroughly for each lesson. They’ll also need to see that the individual needs of your students are met and lesson plans should be annotated with ideas on how to do this. Lesson plans which take differentiation into account will also show that you’re aware of certain factors that prevent a student’s ability to learn, but that you can see how you can overcome them. 

Homework — ensure that the homework you set is relevant to the lessons in school and will motivate independent learning at home.


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