New bursaries and broader eligibility criteria for ATS

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) is making available 100 bursaries and broadening the eligibility criteria to help widen access to Advanced Teacher Status (ATS).

Extra support will also be available to help those working towards the gold standard practitioner status in the FE and Training sector. Those awarded the status will continue to be awarded Chartered Teacher status as all current ATS holders are.

The 100 bursaries will be available to those joining the next cohort to work towards ATS, which will begin in October 2020. Each bursary will be worth £500, meaning that participants – or their employer – will pay just £250. These places are limited and preference will be given to those applicants who present a strong case for requiring a bursary. They will do so by making a statement explaining how a funded place will support both themselves and their organisation, focusing on three key areas of the ETF Professional Standards: Values & Attributes; Knowledge & Understanding; and Skills.

Those working towards ATS will benefit from extra support including a programme of webinars. This support has been introduced in response to feedback from those who have previously attained the status.

The eligibility criteria for ATS has also been changed, with the requirement for applicants to already hold Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status or Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) no longer a prerequisite. Instead, advanced teachers and trainers who have held their initial teaching qualification at Level five or above for at least five years – rather than the four required of QTLS and QTS holders – and who meet all of the other eligibility criteria relating to access to teaching and coaching, can also apply. All applicants must be members of the Society for Education and Training (SET), which oversees ATS.

Although the eligibility criteria have been updated, the ATS programme has not been changed in any way. Participants will carry out the same tasks and portfolios will be assessed with the same rigour they always have been.

Martin Reid, Director of SET said: "We know from listening to our members that ATS is seen as a highly-valued badge of professionalism that demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of teaching and learning. It is also an important aspect of the work we are doing to drive up the professionalism of the whole sector, with those who achieve ATS telling us that its positive impacts are not just on them personally, but also on colleagues and their institutions.

“These ETF-funded bursaries, alongside changes to the eligibility criteria, will make ATS accessible to a wider group of highly-skilled and experienced practitioners for whom financial barriers or a lack of opportunity to undertake QTLS early in their careers may be issues.

"Additionally, applicants who are accepted will benefit from enhanced support as they undertake what is a rigorous programme to achieve ATS. We hope that more people in the sector will now be able to embark on their journey to ATS and achieve Chartered Teacher status."

ATS was launched in 2017 and more than 100 individuals have attained it. Those who are awarded ATS are additionally conferred with Chartered Teacher Status by the Chartered College of Teaching.

The window for applications for the next cohort of the ATS programme is open until 13 September 2020. Successful applicants will be offered places within two weeks of submitting their application, ready for a 1 October start.