Working towards QTLS: Helen Tinkler

QTLS-qualified member Helen Tinkler tells us about her experience.


Tell us a little about your current role and where you work

I qualified as a solicitor but stepped back from full-time practice in 2011 to allow me more flexibility to develop my interests in legal education and skills training. Since then, I have experienced a rapid acceleration into various education roles, which have become ever more challenging, and to which I have had to adjust as quickly as possible.

I am now a member of the public examination teams at the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and the Bar Standards Board. I am also a tutor for CILEx Law School and an author of a range of study materials for various training providers and an External Quality Assurer for CILEx charged with responsibility for quality assurance in the delivery of its Diplomas in Legal Services as part of the legal apprenticeship programme. I have also been appointed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority as the Chief External Assessor for the civil litigation component of the Legal Practice Course.

Why did you decide to undertake the professional formation via the recognition route?
With so many responsibilities, I wanted to ensure that what I was doing was firmly rooted in sound educational practice and to obtain recognition and validation for my efforts and achievements over the years in supporting new entrants to the legal profession. The recognition route was an ideal route for this purpose.


What did you particularly like about the process?

It was ideal because the process could be undertaken at my own pace. As the workbooks are broken down into sections, it is manageable and easy to complete one section at a time. It was also enjoyable and satisfying going back over the years to draw out appropriate evidence as assets to support my application and to take the opportunity to reflect on what I had achieved and also to see how my own practice had changed with increasing experience.

What did you learn from it and how do you think it will make a difference to your practice?
I learned the need to be self-critical and evaluative about what I have done and what I am doing and to value different perspectives on learning to ensure that as many students as possible can be encouraged and supported to learn, to progress and to achieve. This important lesson will ensure that whatever I am asked to deliver will be the result of my best efforts and will maximise the quality of my work.


What will be your next step, now that you have achieved QTLS?

I am very proud to have achieved QTLS status as a valued qualification which will greatly enhance my credibility in all of my educational roles. It has also allowed me to fulfil my conditional offer from the University of Oxford to study for an MSc in Learning and Teaching, which I began in September.


Tell us about any tips/advice for members who are thinking about registering for QTLS.

Persevere. It may seem a daunting process at first, especially if you are compiling the recognition route and professional formation workbooks for the same submission session. Be honest in what you write. The chance to reflect and evaluate is a great opportunity to be honest with yourself and learn something about yourself as a result. The reward is well worth the effort to know that you belong to a respected profession which sets such high standards for its entrants.