Read our frequently asked questions about Advanced Teacher Status.

What is 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 or network. 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.

ATS is a step up from QTLS because participants 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 hold QTLS and who have held their initial teacher education qualification for at least four years.

5. 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. 

6. How does ATS relate to Chartered Teacher Status?

In November 2018 it was annouced that those who achieve Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) will be conferred with the Chartered College of Teaching’s Chartered Teacher designation.

Applying for ATS

7. How do I apply for ATS?

In order to apply for and gain ATS, you first need to be registered as a member of SET. Check your eligibility on the ATS eligibility page. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you then need to download and complete an ATS Application form. You can apply for Cohort 4 (beginning March 2019) via the Apply for ATS page. Any queries should be sent to  

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

Once the application window has closed, applications will be reviewed during January. Notification of the outcome will be sent to applicants by the end of February. The e-portfolio will be issued in early March and an introductory webinar will take place towards by the end of March.

9. How will SET decide who will be accepted?

SET will review all applications and will allocate places taking into account the eligibility of practitioners to participate with reference to the eligibility criteria, the date on which individuals applied (allocation on a first-come, first-served basis).

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, then we will notify you by this date and add your name to our waiting list for next cohort.

11. When will cohort four start?

You can now apply for Cohort 4 (beginning March 2019) by visiting the Apply for ATS page.

12. When can I apply for ATS?

Please visit the Apply for ATS page for more information.

13. How much does it cost?

The cost of ATS is £600. Payment can be made in direct debit instalments with an initial payment of just £150 required on acceptance of a place followed by six payments of £75. 

All of the information and documentation needed to start ATS is contained in your e-portfolio. In order to access your e-portfolio, we must have received the initial payment of £150 or payment in full (visit the Apply for ATS page for more information about ATS fees).

14. When would I have to pay?

The discounted fee of £600 can be paid in direct debit instalments with an initial payment of just £150 required on acceptance of a place.

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

Participants will have until 31 January 2020 to complete their portfolios.

16. 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. New QTLS holders are welcome to apply for ATS. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. 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. You can still apply if you teach in blocks, rather than a regular number of hours a week, provided that the number of hours you teach on an annualised basis, is equivalent to 10 hours a week.

21. I am a teacher educator/I mostly deliver staff training. Am I eligible to apply?


23. 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.

24. 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.

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

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

26. 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.

27. 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.  

28. 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 teaching in HE. Am I eligible to apply?

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

29. 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. 

31. 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.

32. 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.

33. 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 your responsibility to organise any CPD activity. We will be able to signpost participants 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 your e-portfolio

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

You will need to complete an e-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.

35. What will an ATS participant need to demonstrate if their portfolio of evidence is to be successful?

Participants 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. 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. Participants 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 Participants will be available the month before being issued with the portfolio.

38. What counts as CPD?

CPD does not necessarily need to involve attending courses or one day events. Examples of CPD are provided in the Guidance for Participants. In the meantime, some suggestions for types of CPD activity can be found on the SET website.

39. Are there set deadlines during the process?

There are no set deadlines during the process, but there is a suggested timeline of activity and it is anticipated that participants work closely with their mentors to set realistic deadlines early on in the process.

40. 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.

41. 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. 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. 

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

45. 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 in the month following the review of your portfolio.

46. 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.

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