Professional formation

Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) is the badge of professionalism for post-16 education and training, helping practitioners advance in their careers and demonstrate their expertise and experience to colleagues, employers and learners. SET members can gain QTLS by successfully completing professional formation.

Professional formation is a post-qualification process that enables you to demonstrate the effective use of skills and knowledge gained in your initial teacher training qualification and applied in your current professional practice that is required to achieve QTLS.

Download a flowchart summarising the professional formation process.

It enables you to demonstrate the following through professional practice:

  • the ability to use effectively the skills and knowledge acquired whilst training to be a teacher
  • application of the occupational and professional standards required of a teacher.

Applicants should note that QTLS is an English status and, as such, is only formally recognised in England and may not be recognised by employers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Keeping your QTLS current and up to date

After completing professional formation, as a SET member you can keep your QTLS current and up-to-date by remaining in good professional standing, completing effective CPD, and adhering to our Code of Practice.

As a SET member who holds QTLS, your name will be included on our Professional Register, as a way of proving to prospective employers your qualified status and ongoing commitment to professional development. Alternatively you can use your QTLS certificate and up-to-date SET membership card as evidence of your current QTLS status. SET members holding QTLS status are also eligible to teach in schools on the same terms and conditions as those holding QTS.

Read more about the parity between QTS and QTLS.

Length of time it will take to achieve QTLS

Members are given six months to complete their workbook, starting on either 1 October and finishing on 31 March, or starting early January and finishing on 30 June. Although members can submit their workbook before the deadline, they must allow time to prepare and submit their work, since the process has been designed to enable practitioners to reflect on their practice and demonstrate they have developed their knowledge and skills during the six month period.

Please note that the two observations must be three months apart as a minimum. See a suggested timeline. You can register your interest in the next cohort of QTLS at any time. 

Elements of the professional formation process

There are six sections to complete in your online workbook when completing professional formation.  In each section you will be required to upload supporting evidence, such as notes from meetings, observation reports of your teaching, assessment plans, etc, as well as narrative. You will be given maximum word counts throughout for guidance.

Introduction: About you

In this introductory section, provide information about yourself, your qualifications and background that have led you applying for QTLS. You also need to tell us who you have nominated to be your supporter (or mentor), who will support you through the professional formation process.

You will be asked to provide scanned copies of the following:

  • Initial teacher education qualification
  • Subject specialist qualification, or CV that outlines your work experience in relation to your subject specialism.
  • Level 2 maths and English qualifications
  • Maths and English qualifications at Level 3 or above if you teach maths, English or ESOL.

Section 1:  Role and Responsibilities

Describe your career to date and say why you decided to become a teacher or trainer. Tell us about your current role, the age range of your learners and about the subject(s) you teach. Tell us why you are undertaking professional formation. Include a copy of your current teaching timetable.

Section 2:  Self Assessment

In order to benchmark your starting point for professional formation, you will need to carry out an online self assessment against the 2014 professional standards and upload the results. This self-assessment will help you identify your areas for development that you will undertake during professional formation and it should be carried out within one month of being issued with your portfolio.  You will also need to arrange for your first observation within the first month of professional formation.

Section 3:  Professional Development Plan

The results of the self assessment will inform your Professional Development Plan.  This will include activities that will support you in developing your teaching and learning skills and subject specialist skills.  You may want to share and discuss your plan with your supporter at this stage.

Section 4:  Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Record

In this section, you will complete a CPD record detailing the CPD that you are undertaking during the professional formation process.  You will need to reflect on the intended impact of your development activity on your practice and on your learners.

Section 5:  Critical Reflection on impact

This section requires you to provide an informed reflective account of the professional development activity undertaken as part of the professional formation process and evaluate the effect it has had on your practice, the outcomes of your learners and your organisation. It enables you to reflect on the actions you have taken and review your progress. You will need to arrange for your final observation to take place, ensuring that there is three months between your first and final observation.

Section 6:  Final Action Plan

Complete a final action plan that will provide details of professional development that you plan to undertake to ensure that you are continuing to develop your practice after you have completed professional formation, using the support of SET membership.



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