The Society for Education and Training (SET) has designed challenging but achievable eligibility criteria to support our desire to drive professionalism in the Further Education and Training sector. Whilst this may differ from the expectations of your employers and other training providers, the eligibility criteria ensure that organisations have the assurance that QTLS holders are highly qualified and highly skilled to support their learners.
In order to apply for the Professional Formation process and to achieve Qualified Teacher Learning Skills (QTLS) status, you must meet certain criteria. Full details of the eligibility criteria are given below.
To assist your understanding of our eligibility criteria, you can use our handy tool to check your suitability to apply which will help identify if you are in a suitable position to complete the application. Whilst this tool is a great indication of your suitability, it does not take into consideration your unique circumstances or setting. Whilst we can provide recommendations, unfortunately, neither the Professional Status nor Customer Service team will be unable to specifically confirm your eligibility until we have received your completed application.
After a cohort evaluation, we may make changes to our criteria to reflect sector requirements and participant feedback. Please note that we reserve the right to update our eligibility criteria and will do so prior to opening the registration.
Last updated June 2023
The criteria on this page is applicable to the August-November 2023 application window only.
The core eligibility criteria above may raise questions when applied to your specific setting and context, the following Frequently Asked Questions will help you to understand the criteria when applied to your role and organisation.
One. There is now one application window per year, from August – November, with successful applicants issued a Professional Formation portfolio in January.
For 2023, the application window was open from 14 August 2023 to 30 November 2023, and has now closed.
It is the obligation and responsibility of the member to check that they are eligible prior to registering to apply for Professional Formation. Once you have been issued with an application portfolio, you will have until the end of November to demonstrate that you are in a suitable position to undertake Professional Formation. At this point, you will submit your application portfolio for consideration. The Professional Status team will then review the application and the suitability of the applicant to undertake Professional Formation, leading to QTLS.
If your application is successful and then your teaching practice changes during the Professional Formation period, it is the participants’ responsibility to contact the Professional Status team to notify them of the changes.
You must have access to all qualification certificates that demonstrate your eligibility, prior to applying. These certificates must have been awarded before the application deadline, 30 November.
You should have access to your official level 5+ teacher training certificate prior to the application deadline, 30 November. In the unlikely event that you have not received your official teacher training certificate before the deadline, please upload your transcript/HEAR report, then upload the official certificate as part of the resubmission process, deadline 12 January. The official certificate must be dated before 01 January.
You must hold one of the following at Level 5 or above:
*Please note that we do not accept the Primary school or Early Years PGCE
Regardless of the subject(s) you teach, to apply for Professional Formation you must also hold an eligible level 2 (or above) in maths and English (graded at the equivalent of C or above). You will be expected to upload a copy of all relevant certificates/documents to your application portfolio. See a list of eligible qualifications for maths and English at level 2 and 3.
*Please note that we do not accept the Level 2 Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy.
Teachers of English are required to hold a Level 3 English qualification on our list of eligible qualifications, regardless of the number of hours taught per week and level taught. If teaching at or above level 3, English teachers should hold a qualification one level above what they are teaching.
Teachers of maths are required to hold a Level 3 maths qualification on our list of eligible qualifications, regardless of the number of hours taught per week and level taught. If teaching at or above level 3, maths teachers should hold a qualification one level above what they are teaching.
Regardless of the subject(s) you teach, to apply for Professional Formation you must hold a subject qualification at level 3 or above. This could be the same as a subject you are teaching for 5 or more hours per week, or different.
If you are teaching in a technical/vocational setting we will accept a level 2 qualification complimented by significant vocational experience in industry prior to teaching (5 or more years), as below.
*Please note that we do not accept ITE qualifications or SEND qualifications as a subject specialism.
Unlike QTS, Professional Formation leading to QTLS is not based on a single subject specialism, your portfolio of evidence will draw upon all subjects that you teach. You must disclose all subject/s taught to post-14 learners during the Professional Formation period, even if teaching takes place for different organisations. Participants are required to upload a copy of their highest-level qualification in every subject they teach during the Professional Formation process for 5 or more hours per week; these must be at level 3 or above, regardless of the level or context taught. If you are teaching subjects at or above level 3 you must hold an appropriate qualification/s at least one level above the subjects taught.
Please note that for technical/vocational subjects, in the absence of a level 3, we will consider an appropriate level 2 qualification if accompanied by significant vocational experience in industry prior to teaching (5 or more years) demonstrated through a detailed CV. E.g. Construction, Engineering, Hair and Beauty and Catering.
You are expected to upload a level 3 qualification (or higher) in all/any subjects taught for 5 or more hours per week during the Professional Formation period, even if this is only in a cover capacity.
Any subjects taught for 5 or more hours per week, even in a cover capacity, during the Professional Formation period should be accompanied by a level 3 qualification (or higher).
If you are teaching a subject for 1-4 hours per week, you are not required to present a level 3 qualification in your application, for that subject.
In the application process you will be required to demonstrate that you have access to 10 or more hours teaching per week, this is to ensure that you can meet the Professional Formation programme requirement, to log 230 teaching hours. If you teach in blocks, e.g. week on week off, provide a timetable that demonstrates access to teaching 10 or more hours in a given week and make note that you teach in blocks due to the nature of your setting.
You must be regularly teaching groups of five or more post-14 learners, which equates to 10 or more hours per week, throughout the Professional Formation programme and hold full responsibility for the planning, delivery and assessment for the group/s.
The requirement to teach for 10 or more hours per week does not take into account termly breaks, Christmas or Easter holidays. Accounting for this, during the Professional Formation process, you will be required to log regular teaching practice equating to a minimum of 230 hours over the duration of the programme.
Whilst some evidence can come from 1:1 or small group teaching, this must be in addition to the 10 hours above.
Please note, that during the application process, you will be required to upload a timetable and employment verification letter for each organisation where you work. The timetable must be formally signed by your line manager and formally signed and verified by your Human Resources (HR) department. Voluntary hours will not be accepted.
If you successfully apply to undertake Professional Formation, you will need to nominate a supporter or mentor who will support you through the process. Your supporter must hold a level 5+ teaching qualification, be able to comment on your developing practice through the process and provide a supporting statement upon your completion of the programme.
Your supporter must not be undertaking QTLS or ATS whilst supporting your developmental journey. Supporters can only provide support to up to three (maximum) participants at any given time.
If you hold a qualification achieved outside of England, Wales or Northern Ireland you will be required to upload a scanned copy of the original award certificate and an accompanying UK ENIC statement of comparability (formerly NARIC) to your application portfolio.
You will be required to apply for a UK ENIC statement of comparability for each qualification not issued in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. You will need to have a copy of this statement before applying to undertake Professional Formation.
If you gained your teaching qualification overseas, you’ll need to provide a UK ENIC statement which must confirm that your teaching qualification is equivalent to an English Level 5 and ‘entitles you to teach in the country of issue’. We would also need sight of the original award certificate and transcript.
If you have gained any other qualifications overseas that you wish to present to confirm your eligibility, you will need to provide a UK ENIC statement (formerly NARIC) confirming that your qualifications meet our criteria, alongside the original certificate and the transcript.
If your qualification or supporting transcript in not written in English you are required to provide an official translation.
Professional Formation, leading to QTLS has been designed for teachers and trainers working in the Further Education and Training sector and as such participants should have regular access to teaching in this sector. If you currently work in a school, particularly where the learners you teach are below sixth form, you should undertake QTS.
Professional formation has been designed for teachers in a post-14 setting, therefore if you are employed by and your core teaching is with Primary School learners, professional formation is unfortunately not appropriate for your setting.
If you teach learners in a school, evidence can only come from years 10 and above.
To teach PSHE we would expect you to hold at least one Health/Fitness/social sciences qualification and at least one Business/Finance/IT qualification at Level 3 or above to cover the breadth of the PSHE curriculum. If you teach PSHE for 5 or more hours per week you are expected to upload the relevant certificates to your application.
Alternatively, you may upload to your application other qualifications that include modules/units in Health/Fitness/Social Sciences alongside modules/units in Business/Finance/IT. The Professional Status team will provide feedback on their suitability during the application review period.
To teach Citizenship we would expect you to hold at least one of the following qualifications to cover the breadth of the Citizenship curriculum: Sociology, Law, Politics, Business/Finance at level 3 or above. If you teach Citizenship for 5 or more hours per week you would be expected to upload the relevant certificates to your application.
Alternatively, you may upload to your application other qualifications that include modules/units in Sociology, Law, Politics, Business/Finance at level 3 or above. The Professional Status team will provide feedback on their suitability during the application review period.
Traditionally, tutorial sessions are centrally designed and there is usually limited assessment. The content is usually so diverse (between departments and organisations) that a single/handful of qualifications held would not cover the broad subject knowledge required to teach these subjects. Furthermore, tutorials can often be an opportunity to speak with small groups or individuals rather than teaching a topic. Therefore, we would not consider tutorial sessions towards group teaching hours.
If you teach in a SEND setting you will be required to upload an RQF level 2 or above SEND qualification (related to an FE setting) which covers a broad range of conditions, to demonstrate your underpinning knowledge to teach our most vulnerable learners.
If you teach 1:1 or small groups, in this setting, evidence of this can be used, but it must be in addition to your regular group teaching practice. You must have access to 10 or more hours group teaching (with 5 or more learners present in each class) throughout the Professional Formation period.
Some Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes contain integrated SEND specialisms (e.g. DET/PGCE). A teacher training certificate with an integrated pathway in SEND will reflect this in the qualification title (eg: "PGCE with an integrated pathway in SEND" or “Diploma in Education and Training with a Specialist Pathway Teaching Learners with Special Needs”). The transcript will list the units/modules that cover the underpinning theoretical knowledge to teach specifically in this setting.
Even though your teaching practice may have taken place in a SEND setting during your ITE course, the theoretical units/modules to demonstrate your underpinning knowledge to teach in this setting are also required, and this must be reflected in the certificate and transcript.
A life skills curriculum will typically cover topics such as: community, friendship and relationships, good health and independent living. Delivery of these topics will be covered by you holding a minimum of a Level 2 SEND qualification.
If you teach Life skills and/or stand-alone discrete subjects for 5 or more hours per week, outside of these core Life Skills topics, for example: Cooking, Art, Employment, Careers, etc., you would be expected to hold both an accredited Level 3 SEND qualification and a Level 3 (or above) in the additional subjects taught. If you are teaching level 3 or above, you will be expected to hold a qualification at least one level above the level taught, to support your subject knowledge in every subject that you teach.
In line with our wider expectations, if you deliver discrete sessions of English and maths in a SEND setting, you are expected to hold a qualification related to these subjects at a minimum of level 3. If you are teaching level 3 or above, you will be expected to hold a qualification at least one level above the level taught.
In line with our wider expectations, to teach PSHE we would expect you to hold at least one Health/Fitness/social sciences qualification and at least one Business/Finance/IT qualification at Level 3 or above to cover the breadth of the PSHE curriculum.
Alternatively, you may upload to your application other qualifications that include modules/units in Health/Fitness/Social Sciences alongside modules/units in Business/Finance/IT. The Professional Status team will provide feedback during the application review period.
You must hold a teaching qualification at least one level above what you are teaching, e.g. if you are teaching the Level 4 CET, you must hold a Level 5 DET or higher qualification (PGCE).
In addition to the qualifications above, you are expected to demonstrate that you have a minimum of 5 years' teaching experience prior to delivering teacher training programmes.
You are required to have access to at least 10 hours teaching per week in a post-14 setting, where you have full responsibility for a group of 5 or more learners. You should be planning, delivering and assessing learning as part of your regular teaching practice.
You should have full responsibility for a group of learners in a teaching role, e.g. evidence whilst acting as a Learning Support Assistant or HTLA will not be accepted.
If you teach 1:1 or small groups, evidence of this can be used in addition to your 10 hours (or more) of regular group teaching practice throughout the Professional Formation period.