Train Aid’s Tom & Nick caught up with Patricia Odell from the Society of Education and Training to find out about Qualified Teacher of Learning and Skills Status (QTLS), and what it means for new and current teachers. Check out the podcast below to find out more yourself:

What is the Society for Education and Training? 

Patricia- The Society for Education and Training otherwise known as SET is the membership organisation for trainers or teachers working within the Further Education and Skills setting. Our members typically work within training organisations, colleges, prisons, adult and community learning settings and specialist colleges. We also have members working within Schools and Sixth Forms if they are working with post 14 learners.  

What is QTLS?

Patricia- QTLS stands for Qualified Teacher of Learning and Skills status. It is a status and not a qualification which you can gain after you have achieved your initial teacher training and is eligible for those who have achieved the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training or a PGCE. The status enables you to demonstrate the development of your pedagogical skills as well as your subject knowledge which is a key requirement in order to achieve your Qualified Teacher of Learning and Skills status. 

How much does it cost to apply for QTLS?

Patricia- The total cost is £485, which can be paid in full up front or you can pay a deposit of £100 and then 3 payment instalments of £125 which can be paid by direct debit. 

Tom- Can some individuals get that funding from their own organisation such as a college?

Patricia- Indeed, more and more companies are either paying for the full cost or subsiding the cost so it is always worth asking your organisation.

What are the benefits of applying for QTLS and joining the Society for Education and Training?

Patrica- One of the key benefits is that it has parity and recognised in law with QTS- Qualified Teacher Status which is the equivalent status which has been gained by teachers who are trained to work in schools. This means that if you hold QTLS you are legally entitled to work in any part of the sector including schools and to work under the same terms and conditions as a teacher working within a school and you will be paid as a qualified teacher legally. 

A lot of our Level 5 Education in training learners are interested within teaching within the secondary sector, with QTLS status can they teach within primary?

Patricia- Yes, QTLS would enable them to work in primary, secondary, sixth forms and post 16 settings so it gives people the flexibility to work within any of those sectors. Secondary schools are offering vocational courses and a lot of our FE trained teachers are very well placed to share their work experience and qualifications with those learners. A benefit is QTLS status does offer flexibility.

Nick- Is QTLS recognised within the independent school’s sector? 

Patricia- The status is recognised within England and focused on the state sector primarily. However, every school is different and the independent school may accept this. 

What are the different application dates for QTLS? 

Patricia- There are rolling registrations from 1st February 2019, anyone who is interested in pursuing QTLS status can register at any time but there will only be two points in the year when they can be allocated with a portfolio. Those dates are 30th September and 15th December. 
We have removed the April/May registration period because of a lot of people felt they did not have time to develop their practice 

Tom- If someone begins on the 30th September, when can they finish by? 

Patricia- They will be submitting their portfolio in April, anyone starting on the 15th December, will submit in June. Teachers are required to spend 6 months focused on their pedagogical skills and also their subject knowledge and therefore more time for teachers to complete their portfolios and submit in the 2 dates. 

When would be the best time to begin QTLS?

Patricia- The most popular period is September as it is the start of the academic year, however a newly qualified teacher may want time to settle into a new position, perhaps consider the December start point when you felt more confident in your role with a view to submitting the portfolio in June. 

How much work is involved from the mentor point of view? What advice would you give to a mentor? 

Patricia- We have ‘stepped up’ the role of the mentor from September 2016. The mentor is supporting the learning throughout the process rather than simply writing a supporting statement at the end of the programme.  
We would expect the teacher to meet with their mentor 3 times throughout the year- at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the process. 
Beginning- helping the learner to put together their personal development plan, what CPD should they pursue.
Midway through- the professional template discussion to be completed-checking in to see if they are on track, how is the CPD going? 
End- a final professional discussion and the role of the supporter is to check everything within the portfolio is shared with them and they write a supporting statement. 

Tom- Does the supporter need to have teacher status themselves? 
Patricia- They do need to be a fully qualified teacher, they do not need to have QTLS or be a member of SET but they do need to be qualified and would need to comment on the applicants current practice-typically this is a manager or a more experienced peer it can’t be a situation where they are both going through the QTLS status together 

What are the different sections of the QTLS process? (1- 7)  

Patricia- There are 7 different sections to the QTLS process: 

About you- This is where you set the scene provide a ‘pen portrait’ Your role, responsibilities, your motivations for doing QTLS, we ask you to upload copies of your certificates, your Level 2 Maths and English qualifications, subject specialist qualifications and CV. 

Roles and Responsibilities- You provide details of what your current role is by providing lots of evidence is important for the assessor when reviewing the portfolio.

Self-assessment- This is an online review of your professional standards (The 20 professional standards) The applicant must review where they are in relation to the own standards and must identify what they want to focus on in their QTLS process. The professional standards will cover 3 broad areas, planning and delivery, assessment skills and how you are showing development in your subject specialism and knowledge. The self-assessment is the first part of the QTLS journey and we recommend for the learner to have an observation within the first 6 weeks of starting the QTLS process. The feedback from the observation and the self- assessment plan will help them to put together their professional development plan. 

Professional development plan- The PDP is important to bring in the mentor to discuss their goals and identify a plan on how to improve their teaching practice. 

CPD- This can be attending online courses or seminars, peer observation, professional reading and discussions.  The learner will choose CPD which is relevant to their professional development plan. 

Critical reflection section- This is the main component of the portfolio. Reflecting on what did they try out?  how did their training influence the changes that happened it the practice? We get learners to reflect on 3 points:  What difference has it made to their practice? What difference has it made to your learners? What difference has it made to your organisation? Learners are required to have a final observation during this period and a self-evaluation. 

How many observations are required for the process? 

Patricia- There are two observations required, one at the beginning and one at the end of the process. 

Final Action Plan- Which is completed at the end of the process. 

What evidence can be uploaded to the work book? (lesson plans, schemes of work, observation records, minutes of meetings and any CPD courses?) 

Patricia- There is a checklist of what is required of what is required for the work book that we advise everyone to read as this is a step by step guide. Documents can be scanned and uploaded to the work book. There is a rosette system which turns ‘green’ when a piece of evidence has successfully been uploaded. 

Can someone use evidence from their Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training towards QTLS? 

Patricia- No, the reason for that is that the QTLS status is a ‘post’ qualification which means that evidence must be current and be from the date from the beginning of the portfolio. You can upload certificates which have been achieved prior to the start date but observations and lesson plans must be uploaded from the start date. 

Is the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training and QTLS recognised abroad? 

Patricia- QTLS is an English status, it is not recognised it parts of Wales and is recognised in some parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. In international terms, it is essentially up to the employer whether QTLS is accepted within that School. 

What is ATS? 

ATS stands for Advanced Teacher Status which was launched in the summer of 2017. This pathway is for more experienced teachers and trainers who hold QTLS. It has been developed from feedback by our learners asked to develop a progression route from QTLS. One of the important features is that provides another route to fellowship, if you want to become a SET fellow, you must have a masters within education. The ATS is a ‘step up’ from QTLS, one of the main difference’s is demonstrating collaborative working with peers, less experienced teachers and making a difference with developing others practice through assisting less experienced teacher but improving the quality of an organisation.

How soon after achieving QTLS can you apply for ATS? 

As soon as a member has achieved QTLS they can begin ATS, there is an eligibility check for ATS as learners need to demonstrate that they are a strong practitioner of teaching and learning and ability to achieve high outcomes with their learners. When registering for ATS, the teacher must obtain testimonies from a manager who can confirm these high levels of teaching and learning. 

What are the benefits of joining ATS? 

Once the learner has achieved Advanced Teacher Status then those participants will be able to be awarded with Charter Teacher Status.  

How much does it cost to apply for ATS?

The qualification is larger than QTLS and is an 11-month process, the full cost is £600 which can be paid up front or through direct debit payments. Employers are interested in subsiding the cost of the status. Learners can download and E-Certificate and will also receive a hard copy through the post. A key benefit of advanced teacher status is that teachers can be awarded with Charter Teacher Status.

Is the ATS sections the same as QTLS?

Patricia- The structure is similar to the QTLS process which involves a self-assessment at the beginning of the programme. We are looking for more depth in the writing (level 7 standard), evidence of professional reading, research, case study.

Tom- Does the subject require a mentor (the same as QTLS)?

Patricia- Yes, the mentor should not be their manager to ensure there is no conflict of interest. The mentor should be someone who is an advanced teacher and should be able to observe them within 3 observations.

What is the time frame to complete ATS?

Nick- Is 6 months- a year sufficient?

Patricia- There is only one cohort per year and you can apply up until the 7th January to start in March 2019. After that it will be an October Start. It is an 11-month period, there are regular webinars and bulletins to help guide a learner through the qualification. It requires roughly 4-6 hours a week, there is also a critical reflection towards the end of the process which is a 3,500-word research essay where more time would be required at this stage.

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