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ATS FAQs

Read our frequently asked questions about Advanced Teacher Status and listen to our podcast with the Head of QTLS, Patricia Odell.

1. What is meant by Advanced Teacher Status?

2. What is the difference between QTLS and ATS?

3. How is ATS a step up from QTLS?

4. What level is ATS?

5. Is ATS replacing QTLS?

6. How is ATS an alternative route to SET Fellowship?

7. How do I register for ATS?

8. When will I find out if I've been successful?

9. How will SET decide who will be accepted?

10. What happens if I have been unsuccessful?

11. When will cohort two start?

12. When can I register for ATS?

13. How much does it cost?

14. When would I have to pay?

15. What sort of feedback will I need to provide if I want to pay the reduced fee?

16. How long will I have to complete my portfolio?

17. What qualifications and experience will I need to be able to apply for ATS?

18. What evidence is acceptable to demonstrate high level teaching skills?

19. What evidence is acceptable to demonstrate high level learning skills?

20. How many hours a week do I need to be teaching in order to demonstrate ATS?

21. I teach in blocks rather than a regular number of hours a week. Can I still apply?

22. I am a teacher educator. Am I eligible to apply?

23. I mostly deliver staff training. Am I eligible to apply?

24. I am a manager and in my role I deliver a mix of teaching learners and staff development, including one-to-one mentoring. What counts as teaching/training in terms of the hours of teaching required?

25. I trained to teach in FE, but I am currently teaching in a school. Can I apply?

26. I have QTS rather than QTLS. Am I eligible to apply?

27. I am the director of a company, so I don't have a line manager. Is this a problem when completing the Registration of Interest testimony form?

28. How many hours a week would I need to allow to work on my portfolio?

29. I am a self-employed freelance specialist teacher and lecturer, and self-employed. Do I need to be employed to undertake ATS?

30. I am already a SET Fellow. Can I undertake ATS? And why should I?

31. I am teaching in HE. Am I eligible to apply?

32. Do I need to have experience of mentoring colleagues before I apply?

33. I don't have a mentoring qualification. Does that matter?

34. Will I be required to attend any CPD events, meetings or conferences as part of the ATS process?

35. What do I have to do to achieve ATS?

36. What will an ATS applicant need to demonstrate if their approach is to be successful?

37. Do I have to complete my application using the Word template portfolio? Is there another format I can use?

38. What sort of evidence will I need to provide in the portfolio?

39. What counts as CPD?

40. Are there any set deadlines during the process?

41. Who should my mentor be?

42. How much time will my mentor need to support me during the process?

43. What would my mentor need to do?

44. How is my portfolio assessed?

45. Who will assess my portfolio?

46. When can I expect to hear whether I have passed or not?

47. What happens if I'm not successful? Can I re-submit my portfolio?

Registering and applying for ATS

1. What is meant by Advanced Teacher Status?

ATS is an advanced status for experienced teachers and trainers who hold QTLS. It is a developmental opportunity that will enable practitioners to develop their pedagogical skills and subject knowledge and demonstrate their effectiveness in working collaboratively with their peers to improve the quality of teaching within their organisation. Visit the What is ATS? page.

2. What is the difference between QTLS and ATS?

QTLS enables practitioners to develop their teaching skills and subject knowledge and reflect on the impact of the process on their practice and learners. ATS is a progression route from QTLS and enables teachers and trainers to develop their practice and subject knowledge further so that they can support others, working collaboratively with peers, sharing effective practice and so improving the quality of teaching within their organisation.

3. How is ATS a step up from QTLS?

It is a step up because applicants will need to be able to demonstrate mastery in their pedagogical skills, their subject knowledge and show how they are contributing to quality improvement in their organisations. It requires them to have been teaching for a minimum of four years following their ITE qualification, and to have held QTLS for at least a year.

4. What level is ATS?

As ATS is not a qualification, it does not have a level.  However, the assessment statements for ATS have been informed by several sources that include Level 7 assessment criteria.

5. Is ATS replacing QTLS?

No ATS is not replacing QTLS.  It is a progression route from QTLS aimed at those experienced teachers or trainers who have held QTLS for at least a year and who have held their initial teacher education qualification for at least four years.

6. How is ATS an alternative route to SET Fellowship?

ATS is an alternative route to SET Fellowship for those members who have not gained a Master’s Degree in Education, which is currently the only way of gaining SET Fellowship. The aim of introducing this opportunity is to enable high performing teachers and trainers from more diverse settings to undertake ATS, particularly those for whom a Masters qualification may not be a desirable or appropriate option. 

7. How do I register for ATS?

In order to register for and gain ATS, you first need to be registered as a member of the Society for Education and Training (SET).  Check your eligibility on the ATS eligibility page of our website.  If you meet the eligibility criteria, you then need to register your interest by completing a registration of interest form. Please note that registrations for cohort 1 have now closed and all places have been allocated. You can register your interest for Cohort 3 (beginning October 2018) by visiting the main ATS page and completing the online form. Any queries should be sent to ats@etfoundation.co.uk.  

8. When will I find out if I've been successful?

We will email you to let you know the outcome of your registration of interest. If you have been accepted, we will contact you to make payment by phone. You will then be allocated with your Word template portfolio. 

9. How will SET decide who will be accepted?

SET will review all expressions of interest and will allocate places on the first cohort taking into account the eligibility of practitioners to participate with reference to the eligibility criteria, the date on which individuals registered (allocation on a first-come, first-served basis) and also ensuring the cohort represents the breadth of the further education and training sector. In addition, no more than two places will be allocated to one institution.

10. What happens if I have been unsuccessful?

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, we will notify you by email. If you meet the eligibility criteria, but we have insufficient places in cohort 1, then we will notify you by this date and add your name to our waiting list for the second cohort of applicants.

11. When will cohort two start?

Cohort two will register in February 2018 and will need to submit their portfolio in January 2019. Please note that registrations for cohort 1 have now closed and all places have been allocated. You can register your interest fir Cohort 3 (beginning October 2018) by visiting the main ATS page and completing the online form.

12. When can I register for ATS?

Please visit the ATS application process page for more information.

13. How much does it cost?

The full cost for undertaking ATS will be £750. However, for the first cohort starting in October 2017, the fee will be significantly reduced to £250 for applicants who are willing to provide significant on-going feedback whilst undertaking ATS. This feedback will help us refine the ATS process for future cohorts.

14. When would I have to pay?

Once your Registration of Interest has been accepted and we have confirmed that you have a place, you will be asked to make payment.

15. What sort of feedback will I need to provide if I want to pay the reduced fee?

You will be asked to complete a minimum of three online surveys and participate in at least one telephone interview or focus group.

16. How long will I have to complete my portfolio?

Applicants will have until 31 August 2018 to complete their portfolios. Once your portfolio has been reviewed, applicants will be invited to attend a viva interview that will be an opportunity to discuss your application in more depth.

17. What qualifications and experience do I need to be able to apply for ATS?

You need to have been awarded your initial teacher education qualification for four years. Therefore your certificate should be dated no later than September 2013. You need to have held QTLS for one year prior to registration for ATS, so your certificate should be dated no later than September 2016. In addition you need to be able to demonstrate your high level teaching skills and your track record in achieving high level learning outcomes. See our eligibility criteria for more information.

18. What evidence is acceptable to demonstrate high level teaching skills?

Evidence could include a recent observation report of your teaching that has been carried out in the last six months or a witness testimony completed in the lasts six months. These should have been completed by an advanced practitioner, line manager or quality manager. Download a template for supporting testimonies.

19. What evidence is acceptable to demonstrate high level learner outcomes?

Evidence could include records of learner achievement that demonstrate improvements over two or more successive years. It could also include a witness testimonies confirming consistent improvements in learner outcomes, demonstrating distance travelled, taking into account the national average.

20. How many hours a week do I need to be teaching in order to undertake ATS?

You need to be teaching or training on average eight hours a week for the duration of undertaking ATS.

21. I teach in blocks rather than a regular number of hours a week. Can I still apply?

Yes, provided that the number of hours you teach on an annualised basis, is equivalent to 10 hours a week.

22. I am a teacher educator. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes.

23. I mostly deliver staff training. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes.

24. I am a manager and in my role I deliver a mix of teaching learners and staff development that includes one to one mentoring. What counts as teaching/training in terms of the hours teaching required?

You can meet the teaching hours requirement through direct teaching or training by delivering planned courses to groups of five trainees or more (trainees could be trainee teachers or learners on BTEC programmes, for example), or through teaching equivalent activities, such as coaching and mentoring (one-to-one or small groups) and/or staff development sessions, for example interactive sessions that have been planned by the candidate in order to develop specific aspects of trainees’/mentees’ knowledge and skills. Note that we would require at least 50 per cent of the annualised hours to be evidenced by direct teaching or training.

25. I trained to teach in FE, but I am currently teaching in a school. Can I apply?

Yes, provided you are teaching learners aged 14+ and teaching year groups 10, 11 and/or above.

26.  I have QTS, rather than QTLS.  Am I eligible to apply?

If you hold QTS, rather than QTLS you would be eligible to register your interest in ATS, provided that you are teaching learners aged 14+ (years 10 and 11 and above).

27. I am the director of my company, so I don't have a line manager. Is this a problem when completing the Registration of Interest form?

No, but we recommend that you obtain a source from a more experienced peer, such as an Internal Quality Assurance assessor.

28. How many hours a week would I need to allow to work on my portfolio?

You would need to allow between three and four hours a week to work on your portfolio during the process in order to be able to complete your portfolio. However, there will be times where you will need to allow additional time, particularly towards the end, when you will need to be writing up case studies and your research and generally reflecting on the impact that the process has had on your practice, your learners and your organisation.  

29. I am a self-employed freelance specialist teacher and lecturer. Do I need to be employed to undertake ATS? 

No you do not need to be employed to undertake ATS, but you do need to be teaching or training on average eight hours a week in order to be able to generate the evidence required.

30. I am already a SET Fellow. Can I undertake ATS? And why should I?

Having ATS entitles you become a SET Fellow. If you are already a SET Fellow through meeting our criteria in a different way, then you are also eligible to undertake ATS in order to gain a nationally-recognised status to reflect your advanced practitioner skills and knowledge. This is the same process as other new ATS applicants.

31. I am teaching in HE. Am I eligible to apply?

No.  ATS is aimed at teachers working in the FE and Skills sector, rather than HE. 

32. Do I need to have experience of mentoring colleagues before I apply?

No, but you will need to have an opportunity in your current role to be able to mentor others in order to be able to generate the evidence required.

33. I don’t have a mentoring qualification. Does that matter?

No, you do not need a mentoring qualification. However, you may want to undertake our online Introduction to Mentoring programme that is free to SET members. This practical programme will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to get started with mentoring.

34. Will I be required to attend any CPD events, meetings or conferences as part of the ATS process? 

You would be expected to undertake any CPD that you consider will enable you to meet the evidence requirements, but it will be the responsibility of applicants to organise any CPD activity.  We will be able to signpost applicants to CPD that is currently available on Foundation Online Learning (FOL), or CPD events the Education and Training Foundation or SET are running that may be relevant.

Completing the portfolio

35. What do I have to do to achieve ATS?

You will need to complete a Word template portfolio. Once you have been issued your portfolio, you then collect and collate your evidence and then when it has been completed, you share it with your mentor and then SET to be reviewed. You will also be required to attend a viva interview at the end of the process. Detailed Guidance for Applicants will be available in September 2017. 

36. What will an ATS applicant need to demonstrate if their application is to be successful?

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they have a high level of teaching and learning skills, an in depth knowledge of the subject they teach and that they can successfully mentor others, showing effective learning leadership skills.

37. Do I have to complete my application using the Word template portfolio? Is there another format I can use?

Where applicants are able to provide evidence of learning difficulties or disabilities, then we would be able to discuss and agree to submission of evidence through an alternative format. Contact ats@etfoundation.co.uk to discuss how we can best support you.

38. What sort of evidence will I need to provide in the portfolio?

You will need to complete a self-assessment and professional development plan where you will outline your professional development needs. You will also need to complete a record of the professional reading you have undertaken during the process and keep a reflective diary that will be an informed reflective account of the CPD you have undertaken during the process and an evaluation of the impact this has had on your colleagues and organisation. Applicants will need to be able to demonstrate that they have developed deep expertise in both the theory and practice of teaching during the process and this will be explored in the viva interview. Detailed Guidance for Applicants will be available in September.

39. What counts as CPD?

CPD does not necessarily need to involve attending courses or one day events.  We will be providing examples of CPD in the Guidance for Applicants that will be available in September.  In the meantime, some suggestions for types of CPD activity can be found on the SET website.

40. Are there set deadlines during the process?

There are no set deadlines during the process, but it is anticipated that applicants work closely with their mentors to set realistic deadlines early on in the process. 

41. Who should my mentor be?

Your mentor should be a more experienced colleague working in your organisation or network.  If you would prefer to nominate a mentor outside your organisation or network, SET may be able to help arrange this, but cannot guarantee this. More information on the role of the mentor will be available in September.

42. How much time will my mentor need to support me during the process?

Your mentor will need to provide support particularly at the beginning when you are putting together your professional development plan, midway through the process and finally towards the end.

43.  What would my mentor need to do?

Expectations of your mentor would include providing feedback on your professional development plan, completing records of professional discussions documents at the beginning, middle and end of the process and completing a final supporting statement. 

Submitting your portfolio

44. How is my portfolio assessed?

Your portfolio will be reviewed against a set of assessment statements aligned to the 2014 professional standards and against the criteria of sufficiency, authenticity and relevance.

45. Who will assess my portfolio?

Applications will be reviewed by a team of specially trained reviewers and moderators who are representative of the breadth of the sector.

46. When can expect to hear whether I have passed or not?

Your portfolio will be reviewed the month following the official submission date. You should be notified of your result within four weeks of the viva interview.

47. What happens if I’m not successful? Can I re-submit my portfolio?

If your portfolio does not meet the criteria, you will be given detailed feedback from your reviewer. You will have an opportunity to re-submit your portfolio, once you have added the additional evidence required.