Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) – gained after successfully completing a 12-month period of professional development, and maintained through membership of the Society for Education and Training and re-accreditation every three years – is a fantastic way for teaching professionals to demonstrate their mastery of the profession and to challenge themselves in their practice.
ATS has boosted the confidence of so many of those who have undertaken it, and it has opened countless doors professionally. But what are the longer-term impacts of undertaking ATS on practitioners’ careers? Six years on from the launch of ATS, we take a look at the continued positive impact on those who were part of the earliest ATS cohorts.
Sophia White – Safeguarding Adviser at Humber Learning Consortium and Community Development Manager at Christchurch in Bridlington – was on the first ATS cohort that began in 2017. Her improvement project focused on the development of Recognising and Reporting Progress and Achievement (RAPRA) processes, specifically initial assessment and its implications for learning progress.
Undertaking ATS a year after Sophia in 2018, Bob Hunter, at the time, was working as a Curriculum Manager for Marine Engineering at City College Plymouth. Leaving the college in 2022, Bob is now an Independent Education and Training Skills Consultant, who also works independently for IFA and Ofqual. Bob’s ATS improvement project involved working with local industry to create a flexible training programme suited to their needs.
Before applying, Bob had heard discussions about ATS and was interested in its link to Chartered Teacher Status. “When the chance to undertake ATS came along, it was a great opportunity to push my skills and knowledge from QTLS to ATS, which I think was long overdue for teachers. I saw ATS as that next level and natural progression,” Bob says.
After presenting his ATS improvement project at the AoC Conference and going on to also win Training Provider of the Year for it, Bob applied for a new internal position as Director of Student Services and was successful. He describes the role as “a great chance to strategically change the direction of the student voice and support services,” which he did by bringing together student wellbeing services to create a Wellbeing Centre.
Sophia also shares her experience of improving processes at her provider, following her ATS accreditation: “As a result of undertaking ATS, we now incorporate a lot more soft information into our initial assessments to find out about the actual person, not just the statutory things.”
Following ATS, Sophia went on to complete the SUNCETT / ETF MPhil as part of the Practitioner Research Programme, and she’s been developing courses for Syrian refugees and disadvantaged families. A programme she helped develop to support Syrian families has been run out nationally by the Women’s Institute as a model for other women’s institutes to help improve language acquisition with refugee families.
“When the chance to undertake ATS came along, it was a great opportunity to push my skills and knowledge from QTLS to ATS, which I think was long overdue for teachers. I saw ATS as that next level and natural progression”
Both Bob and Sophia talk about the core skills they developed through ATS, and how these have been a foundation for career progression.
“I think once you’ve got ATS you feel more confident that you know what you’re doing and that you can improve things,” Sophia reflects.
Bob reflects on how crucial skills learned through ATS helped him when working on the Wellbeing Centre in his new role: “I learned a lot from ATS about collaborative working with colleagues and critical thinking, which came in handy after presenting my business plan and getting the go ahead for the Wellbeing Centre.” Talking about the success of opening the centre after negotiations to secure the estate and the required funding, Bob adds: “that was something I felt that ATS impacted. It was those critical reflection skills that really pushed me and helped me to negotiate differently than I did before.”
Sophia also found ATS honed her collaborative skills: “I have benefited from being able to work with others in the organisation to improve our offer for learners. It has made me more aware of making positive changes and completing research in order to do this.”
Interested in taking the next step in your own career?
To find out more about the eligibility criteria for ATS and to apply, visit the SET website ATS page. Applications close on 31 August 2023. Don’t miss this opportunity to boost your professional development, achieve recognition for your advanced teaching practice, and take your career to the next level.