Mandatory Qualifications for HI, VI and MSI Teachers - the MQ

All qualified teachers of HI, MSI and VI children and young people are required to hold a specialist Mandatory Qualification, often known as the MQ.
The UK government guidance on the mandatory qualification can be found at

MQ Documents in the Document Library

The Mandatory Qualification also has its own section in the  NatSIP document library.  You can find the MQ section here.

Looking for training pathways information?

See the Training Pathways section of the Sensory Learning Hub.  You can find the TP section here.

Seashell Trust has been awarded a contract by the DfE to offer a PG Diploma Mandatory Qualification in MSI.  The course will start in September 2024 and will be delivered with a University providing academic rigour as well as offering an opportunity to make use of the state of the art specialist campus at Seashell.  

This offers teachers wishing to specialise in MSI a choice of training course and establishment again. This ensures children with MSI have access to the specialists they need and enhances availability of course providers for the sensory impairment sector.

The Seashell Trust MQ course will be delivered through distance learning and also offer ample opportunity to visit the Seashell site and benefit from the specialist facilities there.

Expressions of interest and applications are open now and you can find out more here:  You will find that at the bottom of the webpage there is a link to book onto one of the monthly "Q&A - find out more about the course" online sessions.  

On 7th September 2023 the teacher for the sensory impaired (QTSI) apprenticeship was approved by IfATE (the Insitute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education) .

  • The Trailblazer Group is assisting University course providers to prepare for delivery of their training as an apprenticeship. The apprenticeship will only be possible once a suitable end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) has given an ‘in principle’ commitment to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to deliver assessments on this apprenticeship standard.


  • It is very important that sudent intakes for September 2024 continue to apply to the University course providers for the delivery of the MQs as they are now.


The Trailblazer Group led by Rory McDonnell and Tina Wakefield are to be congratulated and thanked for all their work and support to reach this stage. It is also important to thank colleagues in IfATE for their help during the process. Whilst there is still work to be done before we are able to start the QTSI Apprenticeship this is an amazing achievment for the SI sector. Thank you.

Following NatSIP work for the Department for Education on the Future of the Sensory Impaired workforce, in 2019/20 DfE engaged NatSIP in the revision of Mandatory Qualification Standards across the three specialist areas for teachers of children and young people with Hearing Impairment/deaf (QToDs), Multi sensory Impairment/deafblind (QTMSIs) and Vision Impairment (QTVIs). 

The requirements of the DfE were that the new standards should reflect the changing landscape in education, be flexible in order to continue to meet the needs of SI children, align with DfE priorities to co-design and deliver training in an increasingly school led system and raise aspirations for children and young people with SI.

As a result of the collaborative working and consultations across the sector new standards for the Mandatory Qualifications for Teaching Children with Sensory Impairment are in place and were published alongside the SEND and AR Improvement Plan in March 2023.

The three different mandatory qualifications provide the opportunity for professional development and essential grounding in highly specialist skills to ensure that children and young people with sensory impairments can have equality of access to education, opportunities to develop independence and be prepared for successful adult life. The qualifications provide teachers with the tools to develop and maintain the knowledge, understanding and skills within a dynamic and changing educational environment.

The Mandatory Qualifications for Teaching Children with Sensory Impairment continue to be open for applications from the course providers in University of Birmingham (HI, MSI, VI), University of Edinburgh (VI), University of Hertfordshire with Mary Hare School (HI), University of Leeds (HI), University of Manchester (HI), Liverpool John Moores University with St Vincent's School (VI).  Recruitment is underway for September 2023.