Tracey Bedford is Curriculum Lead for Health and Social Care and Functional Skills for GB Training. Tracey explains how undertaking Qualified Teaching Learning Skills (QTLS) status re-ignited her passion for learning and led to a number of positive changes in her role.
Three years ago, I completed my Diploma in Education and Training (DET) with the University of Warwick, in collaboration with Walsall College. I have always been passionate about personal development and enjoy any kind of CPD, so I enjoy setting myself a target every year to achieve something on a professional level.
My decision to undertake QTLS re-ignited my passion for learning again. For me, it’s not about ticking boxes to satisfy CPD requirements; it is because I thrive and enjoy it. I am always learning and looking at how we can make the learner have a better experience as an individual, as well as becoming a better practitioner.
I’ve loved the QTLS journey – it’s been such a positive experience, and I take all learning as positive. When I went through the professional formation process, it helped me to challenge my practice by using the Professional Standards. I had already been using them to self-evaluate as part of my DET, so this helped me to look at what I needed to develop and fine tune my teaching practice so I could make constant improvements to my practice.
There was plenty of guidance and support from SET and the online community, and I also had a fabulous mentor in the workplace, which really helped me. I am a very disciplined, so I like to do something every week if I’ve committed to something. Therefore, for me, the six-month deadline was manageable because I planned everything carefully and was able to keep on top of what I needed to do.
The impact of QTLS on my organisation
As a result of my QTLS, alongside the Quality Director, I’ve helped develop a programme of staff CPD for more than 40 staff, which I facilitate. This involves training tutors and assessors on question techniques, active learning, reviews, and everything they need to do to improve their practices as educators. I deliver this programme on a rolling basis, so that’s a much more improved platform of learning than there was previous to my achievement of QTLS. As a result, I’ve also been able to improve my methods of delivery and resources that I have designed for the staff.
In addition, I’ve sat on a board to introduce the UK’s first LGBT qualification and have been part of that group to write those standards. This addressed a gap in LGBT awareness amongst staff, so we have done something to change the face of that. Resources for my team have been re-vamped and brought up to date with the 21st Century, resulting in more inclusive learning materials. We have also re-evaluated the curriculum, which we did every year, but since doing so, it has had a massive impact in making things better for learners.
For the organisation, since doing QTLS, we now invest in our tutor and staff development programmes. We are also now able to use my skills to teach every sector now in teaching practice. I have also taken on more of a mentor role, so when someone is having an issue in the classroom, they can have a chat with me. I also do the observations of teaching and learning, which feed into our staff assessment processes.
My advice to anyone considering QTLS is to absolutely do it. You face a commitment when you embark on that journey to be honest with yourself – see what you can improve on and make the changes. They might be small, incremental changes, but they will make the difference and it will make you happier at work as you know that you’re doing the right thing – especially if it leaves you giving a better session to a learner.
Since doing QTLS, I have been successful in gaining a place on the Sunderland University Practitioner Programme, delivered by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF). I know that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have QTLS – that, alongside my DET, are like little links in the chain. Once I’ve completed that programme, I am going to see where that journey takes me and if there is scope for me to look at Advanced Teacher Status (ATS).
What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
I absolutely love going on holiday – and the sunshine.
If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would they be?
Meatloaf, as I like his music and Bradley Cooper.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself...
I completed the Three Peaks 22 Mile Mountain Gold Challenge in 2019.