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Teacher training reforms

  1. Teacher Education Reform: Frequently Asked Questions (LLUK)
  2. What happens when I apply to do a teacher training course? Do they accept everyone who applies?
  3. Can I train part-time?
  4. I have completed my GCSEs within the A*-C range, but I don’t have any ‘A’ levels. Will I be accepted onto a teacher training course?
  5. Can people get teaching jobs if they aren't fully qualified?
  6. Do teachers need to have IT skills – and to what level?
  7. I went to an advice session at my local college, and they told me there was training available at Level 2, 3 and 4. Which one should I do? Should I start at Level 2 and work my way up?
  8. Do I need to register with the Institute for Learning (IfL)?
  9. What is Professional Formation?


1. Teacher Education Reform: Frequently Asked Questions (LLUK)

1. What do the new reforms mean for exisiting teachers?
2. What are the new qualification titles?
3. Will those achieving the Diploma qualification automatically gain QTLS Status?
4. Who do these changes apply to?
5. Do the qualifications apply to Work-based Learning providers?
6. What are the new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements?
7. How will current qualifications fit into the new system?
8. Will the qualifications awarded outside the UK to teachers from abroad be recognised?
9. What has replaced the FENTO subject specifications that underpin qualifications for Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL?
10. What has happened to the minimum core and national external tests?
11. How will Centres for Excellence in Teacher Training (CETTs) support the reforms?
12. How will CETTs work?
13. Where can I find further information?

Q: What do the new reforms mean for exisiting teachers?

From September 2007 new qualification requirements for teaching and supporting learning in the lifelong learning sector were introduced for all new teachers in the sector.   Newly qualified teachers are required to apply to the Institute for Learning (Ifl) for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status.  See www.ifl.ac.uk for updates on QTLS.

If you are already working in the sector, the existing requirements remain the same – all teachers taking up post from September 2001 are required to have a recognised teaching qualification, and all teachers of literacy and numeracy from September 2002, and teachers of ESOL from September 2003, are required in addition to have a recognised subject-specific qualification. 

Q: What are the new qualification titles?

A: Equipping our Teachers for the Future (DfES 2004) set out a commitment to revise the current 2001 regulations, supported by new professional standards and a Teacher Qualifications Framework of new teaching qualification routes.

These reforms include the introduction of:

Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) minimum threshold licence to teach for all teachers, trainers and tutors

Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (or HEI equivalent) for those in an Associate teaching role, leading to Associate Teacher Learning and Skills status (ATLS)

Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (or HEI equivalent) at minimum Level 5 leading to Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status for those in a full teaching role.

The introduction of professional formation as part of gaining professional status is also being consulted on at present.

Q: Will those achieving the Diploma qualification automatically gain QTLS Status?

A: Not immediately. Having completed the qualification, new teachers are required to undertake a period of ‘professional formation’, covering induction and probation requirements, to demonstrate effective application of skills in practice.

Q: Who do these changes apply to?

A: The underpinning legal framework (2002 Education Act) only applies to FE colleges, and as a result statutory requirements around ITT and CPD will also only apply to FE colleges, i.e. teachers employed or contracted by FE colleges. These requirements apply regardless of where their teaching programme takes place or how it is funded.

However QTLS and ATLS are being established as the professional statuses for the whole sector, so the policy for FE workforce reforms and the funding that is made available to support these applies to the whole FE sector, including community learning and development, further education, offender learning and work-based learning.

The wider reforms therefore apply to all publicly funded providers and teachers who are delivering FE training through LSC funding. While it is currently only through LSC funding agreements that we will be able to specify a requirement for all providers to have qualified staff, we expect other publicly funded providers will also want their staff to gain the recognised sector professional qualifications and we will work to enable alignment of training where appropriate. Inspection and self-assessment procedures will also be used to ensure compliance. This is in the interests of improving the quality and professionalism of teachers in the FE sector.

The LSC will continue to support colleges and providers in ensuring that their investment in staff development is effective. LSC funded providers should have training and development plans for all of their staff - with equal access to support for CPD activities - depending on the individual’s role. As with learners in the sector, CPD activities need to be personalised to the need of the individual - not a one size fits all approach.

Q: Do the qualifications apply to Work-based Learning providers?

A: The current Initial Teacher Training reforms apply to all staff in a teaching role in the wider FE sector, which includes work-based learning. Any new entrants to the sector with an element of teaching in their role should therefore gain the PTLLS initial award, and if their role description is covered by the Full Teaching Role or Associate Teaching role as set out in the LLUK guidance, they should also gain the appropriate professional status (QTLS or ATLS) for that role.

Q: What are the new Continuing Professional Development (CPD)requirements?

A: Further Education: Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances (DfES 2006) set out proposals to improve professional development for the Further Education (FE) sector, including the intention to introduce new regulatory requirements on CPD in September 2007.

The regulations require:

• All full-time FE college teachers to undertake at least 30 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) per academic year, with reduced amounts for part time teachers, calculated on a pro-rata basis with a minimum underpinning amount of 6 hours

• All FE college teachers to maintain a portfolio of their CPD activities

• All FE college teachers to be professionally registered.

Q: How will current qualifications fit into the new system?

A: A ‘tariff database’ system has been developed to show how existing qualifications map to the new standards and assessment criteria in order to enable individuals to identify any training gaps according to their role.  APL and the SVUK professional recognition scheme offer other routes to gaining recognition.

Q: Will the qualifications awarded outside the UK to teachers from abroad be recognised?

A: In the case of teachers from states within the European Union, Directive 2005/36/EC on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications will apply. For nationals of the member states, this includes, in particular, the right to pursue a profession, in a self-employed or employed capacity, in a member state other than the one in which they have obtained their professional qualifications. The Institute for Learning will be working with SVUK to develop a mechanism whereby these individuals can claim credit based upon their existing qualifications and experience.

The work will be expanded to include individuals from outside the European Union.

Whilst this legislation does not apply to teachers from outside the European Union there will be professional routes to QTLS for practitioners from other countries, who are required to comply with the new requirements from September 2007.

Q: What has replaced the FENTO subject specifications that underpin qualifications for Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL?

A: The content of qualifications will be underpinned by the professional standards developed by LLUK. Documents detailing the knowledge, understanding and professional practice to be demonstrated by specialist teachers of English (Literacy and ESOL) Mathematics (numeracy), have been developed and are available on the LLUK website. A further document detailing the knowledge, understanding and professional practice for learning support practitioners is under development.

Q: What has happened to the minimum core and national external tests?

A: The minimum core within intial teacher training qualifications refers to the functional skills of literacy, language and numeracy that all teachers must demonstrate. The Minimum Core has been revised and now includes ICT.

LLUK will be continuing the development of national tests for the assessment of personal skills in language/literacy and numeracy identified in the revised minimum core. The feasibility of tests for personal skills in ICT are presently being considered following the extension of the minimum core to include ICT. 

Q: How will Centres for Excellence in Teacher Training (CETTs) support the reforms?

A: The 2003 Ofsted survey of FE teacher training highlighted some systemic weaknesses in post-16 teacher training provision. A range of initiatives are being taken forward to raise the quality of teacher training. The establishment of Centres for Excellence in Teacher Training (CETTs) is one such initiative.

CETTs will accelerate the process of identifying, developing and sharing practice and provide models for improving the quality of teacher training and support the teacher training providers. Their selection and appointment occurs in April 2007 and from September 2007 the CETTs are expected to be fully operational.

Q: How will CETTs work?

A: This is not a single organisation initiative. It is an opportunity to develop a range and depth of provision, comprising networks of providers and other stakeholders. These networks will work together to provide high quality Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities for the learning and skills sector. Some may be built on existing providers and their partners. Others may be new configurations.

Q: Where can I find further information?

A: We would advise signing up for the LLUK e-bulletins (which you can do on the following webpage: http://www.lifelonglearninguk.org ) to receive these updates.

Further information on individual qualifications and contacts for courses is also available from the LLUK helpline (020 7236 5798, advice@lluk.org)

For further information on any of the above, please contact the Lifelong Learning UK Information and Advice Service on 020 7936 5798 or advice@lluk.org


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2. What happens when I apply to do a teacher training course? Do they accept everyone who applies?

Most providers of adult literacy, ESOL and numeracy teacher training offer advice and information about their courses and the selection procedures. Generally selection for a teacher training course involves completing an application form and attending a half-day information and selection event.  This event tells you more about the course, the assessment and the practical teaching placement.  You'll also be asked to participate in a number of selection activities relating to the subject and the experience of training to teach.  For examples of selection materials check out the resources section of the talent website.

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3. Can I train part-time?

Yes, there are lots of part-time teacher training courses.  Most Literacy, ESOL and Numeracy teacher training courses in London, for example, are part-time and offered in stages or modules.  Depending on just how part-time your course is - the mode of study ranges from three days a week to just one evening a week - you'll find it takes at least two years to complete your training and your teaching practice. Even if you decide to train part-time you will need at least one other day in the week for teaching practice, assignments and self-study.

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4. I have completed my GCSEs within the A*-C range, but I don’t have any ‘A’ levels. Will I be accepted onto a teacher training course?

It will depend on you and your experience and achievements.  Your GCSEs are at Level 2 on the National Qualifications Framework, and teacher training is at Level 4. Teacher training providers usually require evidence that you are capable of studying at Level 4.  Successful completion of any Level 3 qualification, such as ‘A’ Levels or NVQ Level 3 would show that are ready to move on to a level 4-7.  You may want to try doing an access or bridging course at Level 3 to provide the evidence you need.   Or you may have evidence of working at Level 3 in an alternative setting such as the workplace.  Many course providers will be happy to consider alternatives to traditional qualifications, so long as they feel sure that your chances of success on the course are strong.


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5. Can people get teaching jobs if they aren't fully qualified?

Unqualified or part-qualified teachers can be employed so long as they undertake to start or continue their teacher training and to complete within 5 years.  As more people become fully qualified, it will however become increasingly difficult to get work without a full qualification.

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6. Do teachers need to have IT skills – and to what level?

All teachers are required to have basic IT skills and to consider ways of integrating ILT into their teaching.  Teacher training courses are likely to check candidates' IT skills at entry.  The courses will enable trainees to develop elearning as part of their teaching methodolgy for their chosen subject specialism. 

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7. I went to an advice session at my local college, and they told me there was training available at Level 2, 3 and 4. Which one should I do? Should I start at Level 2 and work my way up?

The 'levels' come from the national qualifications framework and relate to GSCE grades A - C (Level 2), A level (Level 3) and degree level, (Level 4).  The level at which you train depends on the work you wish to do or already do.  Level 2 is for Adult Learner Supporters - front line staff or volunteers.  Level 3 is for Subject Supporters or Teaching Assistants - people who work under the supervison of a teacher, helping learners in the classroom or in workshops.  Level 4-7 is for teachers or Subject Specialists.  If you want to take on a full teaching role, you will need to complete your training at Level 5.

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8. Do I need to register with the Institute for Learning (IfL)?

All teachers, tutors and trainers working in LSC funded provision need to register with the IfL unless they are already registered with the GTC.


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9. What is Professional Formation?

Professional Formation

1.  What is Professional Formation?  It is the post-qualification process by which a teacher demonstrates, through professional practice, the ability to use effectively the skills and knowledge acquired whilst training to be a teacher and the capacity to meet the occupational standards expected of a teacher.  Professional formation leads to the conferral of QTLS or ATLS.

2. What are QTLS and ATLS?   Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) and Associate Teacher Learning and Skills (ATLS) are the new benchmark standards for licensed practitioners which apply to teachers in the FE sector.

3. Is there any time limit to gaining QTLS or ATLS?  Professional formation is not limited to time, other than the requirement to achieve ATLS or ATLS within five years of employment in the sector.  Within this timescale there is a flexible approach to allow for differences in personal circumstances.

4. What type of evidence do I need?  There are two types of evidence:

a.  mandatory elements – These are common to all candidates and include:

i. Completion of an approved qualification (or equivalent) at an appropriate level (level 5 for QTLS and level 4 for ATLS)
ii. Evidence of numeracy and literacy skills at level 2 or 3
iii. Completed application form endorsed by a person deemed suitable to satisfy the requirements of the IFL
iv. Self-declaration of fitness to practice

b. personalized elements

i. Subject currency -Details of your expertise in your chosen subject (eg personal reflection, peer observations, copies of qualifications)
ii. Teaching and learning – Details of your ability to use the skills and knowledge gained through ITT to deliver your chosen subject to a range of learners
iii. Self-evaluation – Analysis of your needs for the next 12 months
iv. Professional Development Training – Individual learning plan with details of action needed to address the needs and goals identified through self- assessment
v. Reflective Practice – Ability to reflect on the impact of professional development on your teaching practice and the benefit to learners

5.  How do I get my Licence to Practise?  Licensed Practitioner status is not mandatory for all; however the IfL is encouraging all those teaching in the Learning and Skills sector to achieve this as a demonstration of professionalism. The licence will be conferred subject to successful completion of professional formation as outlined above.  See the IL website for more details (www.ifl.ac.uk).

6.  I’m qualified to teach in primary/secondary schools.  Can I get QTLS/ATLS?  From 1st September 2007, on entering teaching in the further education sector, holders of QTS will continue to be recognised as being qualified to teach in further education. You will need to complete an FE orientation module and professional formation within two years to become licensed.

7.  I already have a teaching qualification.  Does that mean I can automatically apply for QTLS/ATLS?  Qualifications are separate from licensed practitioner status (QTLS/ATLS), which will only be conferred following a process of professional formation

8.  To keep my licence, do I have to teach during the year (What happens if I have a career break?)  There is no requirement for you to teach during your membership but you will be required to provide evidence of remaining in good standing within the profession.


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