QTLS status, the ETF and the SET


This page covers:

  • What is QTLS?
  • The Education and Training Foundation (ETF)
  • The Society for Education and Training (SET)
  • Gaining QTLS status
  • The benefits of QTLS status
  • How to apply for QTLS status
  • Useful videos
  • Useful weblinks

What is QTLS?

Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) is the badge of professionalism for teachers and trainers in the UK. It is a voluntary process which demonstrates your commitment to being a professional teacher in England. It is a 'status', not a qualification.

It is gained by completing a process known as 'professional formation' and by being a member of the professional association the Society for Education and Training (SET), which is part of the Education and Training Foundation (ETF). The ETF took over the work of the Institute for Learning (IfL) when they ceased operating.

Gaining QTLS status gives parity with school teachers' QTS status in England, enabling you to teach in a school or an academy should you wish, without going through the induction year. 

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF)

The ETF support the professional development of teachers and trainers, leaders and governors, and employers. They offer free and subsidised training, and provide online resources and courses.

  • Thank you to the Education and Training Foundation who's videos are on this page.
  • Please note: the ETF and SET websites regularly change their webpages, therefore some of the links on this page might not work if they have updated them. If you find a broken link, please contact me to let me know.
  • I have been featured on the Education and Training's SET website. Click here to read the 'My Career Story' feature.

The Society for Education and Training (SET)

The Society for Education and Training (SET) is part of the ETF.

They have produced Professional Standards for teachers and trainers in England.

There are 20 standards, which are numbered for ease of reference, and which relate to three areas:

  • professional values and attributes - 6 standards aimed at developing judgement of what works and does not work in teaching and training
  • professional knowledge and understanding - 6 standards aimed at developing deep and critically informed knowledge and understanding in theory and practice
  • professional skills - 8 standards aimed at developing expertise and skills to ensure the best outcomes for learners.

You can use an online self-assessment tool to rate yourself against the Professional Standards.

An interactive map is also available to help you apply the professional standards within your job role.

Gaining QTLS status

To gain QTLS status, you must achieve a relevant teaching qualification to at least level 5 (i.e. the Diploma in Education and Training/DTLLS/Cert Ed/PGCE).

You will need to provide evidence of your literacy and numeracy skills (part of the minimum core) to at least level two.

If you already hold a numeracy/maths and literacy/English qualification such as Key Skills or GCSE grade A-C these should be acceptable. Click here to see details of the approved maths and English qualifications.

There is a recognition route for teachers who do not hold a level 5 teaching qualification, but have substantial teaching experience.

The benefits of QTLS status

  • It can help you in your career progression, demonstrates a commitment to your professional development, and is a recognition of your professional status as a teacher or trainer.
  • You can be added to the Society's professional status register.
  • QTLS status is recognised by law as equivalent to QTS for teaching in schools. Scroll down this government webpage until you see QTLS.
  • You can have access to certain benefits as part of staying a member of the SET.
  • You can apply for Advanced Teacher Status which is  the badge of advanced professionalism and mastery in further education and training.

How to apply for QTLS status

Take a look at the video to find out how to apply and whether you are eligible.

You can apply for, and get help completing your QTLS application by clicking here.

You need to be a member of the Society for Education and Training to apply for QTLS status, and must abide by their Code of Professional Practice.

You will need Level 2 or equivalent in English and maths. You can check what is acceptable by clicking here.

You will need to be familiar with the Professional Standards.



1 - Is QTLS the same as QTS?

QTLS status is recognised in law as being equal to QTS status for school teachers. Click here for further information from the GOV.UK website. Click here for guidance for school headteachers from SET.

2 - Is QTLS a qualification?

It's not a qualification, it's a 'status' It's achieved by application to the Society for Education and Training (SET) through a professional formation process. You must have gained a recognised level 5 (or above) teaching qualification, hold at least level 2 (or equivalent) English and maths, and be able to demonstrate your teaching skills. You must remain a member of the SET to keep your QTLS status live.

3 - Can I teach in a school if I have QTLS? 

QTLS status is accepted in schools, however, each school makes their own decision. See question one (above) as it is recognised in law and schools should accept it.

4 - How do I apply and how long does it take to achieve QTLS? 

You can apply by clicking here. It's up to you how long you take. There are windows of dates for making an application. You can complete the online workbook at your own pace.

5 - Why should I achieve QTLS status if it's not a legal requirement as a teacher in the FE and skills sector?

QTLS status is a demonstration of your commitment, skills and knowledge to employers. It shows you are a professional teacher. Also, as a member of the SET you will be able to access professional development opportunities and communicate with other members.

6 - How much does it cost to gain QTLS status? 

You will need to become a member of the SET and then apply. The cost of QTLS is currently £485 but please check with them in case it's increased. The fee can be paid in instalments.

7 - Where can I get help to complete the application and workbook?

You can get help via the SET here. 

8 - Can I use the letters QTLS after my name?

As a member of the SET, you can use various letters after your name, depending upon your membership grade, plus the letters QTLS if you have achieved the status.

If your question is not listed above, please click here for many more FAQs on the SET website. 

Useful weblinks

  • Thinking of teaching in FE? Click here for lots of useful advice.
  • ETF newsletter subscription click here. 
  • Free online courses for members click here.
  • Free Prevent Duty resources click here.
  • Free resources, case studies and research about improving teaching click here.
  • Excellence Gateway free resources click here. Over 7000 educational resources are available.
  • 2014 Professional Standards can be downloaded here
  • Support for Apprenticeships can be found here
  • SEND resources can be found here