This page covers:

  • What is QTLS?

  • Gaining QTLS status 

  • The benefits of QTLS status

  • How to apply for QTLS status

  • What is ATS? 


  • The Education and Training Foundation (ETF)

  • The Society for Education and Training (SET)

  • Useful ETF/SET weblinks

QTLS - Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills
ATS - Advanced Teacher Status
ETF - Education and Training Foundation
SET - Society for Education and Training 

I co-host a LinkedIn group and a Facebook group where you can get advice and support from group members regarding QTLS/ATS. 

I do not work for ETF or SET so please don't contact me directly with any questions, as I do not have all the answers. 

You can see a series of QTLS videos produced by TrainAid here.

What is QTLS?

Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) is the badge of professionalism for teachers and trainers in England who teach ages 14+. 

It can only be conferred by the Society for Education and Training (SET). It used to be a mandatory process for teachers in post-compulsory education to gain their 'Licence to Practise', but it is now a voluntary process. 

It demonstrates your commitment to being a professional teacher in England. It is a 'status' not a qualification and you need to have achieved certain qualifications prior to applying.  Scroll down the page until you see 'Gaining QTLS status' for further information.

"Anyone holding QTLS status would have to be employed as a qualified teacher if they worked in a maintained school in England. This means that QTLS holders must be treated as if they have QTS in these schools and are not required to complete a training (induction) year when joining the school." From SETs website 

You must be a member of SET to apply for QTLS. You can find out about eligibility here.

QTLS 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). 

You can read a case study about Jeminiyi Ogunkoya (pictured) gaining QTLS by clicking here.

QTLS status gives legal 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. 

If you want to teach in a particular school or academy, but they won't accept your QTLS status, just refer them here.

Gaining QTLS status

  • To gain QTLS status, you must currently be teaching in the post-14 sector for at least four hours per week to a group of at least five learners, in the subject you hold a Level 3 qualification in.

  • You must have achieved a relevant teaching qualification to at least level 5 (i.e. the Diploma in Education and Training/DTLLS/Cert Ed/PGCE or the Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship). This must have been achieved more than six months prior to registering for QTLS status.

  • You must be a member of SET (from £5.90 a month).

  • You will need to provide evidence of your literacy and numeracy skills to at least level two (level 3 if you teach these subjects). If you don't have proof of your achievement, you can take a free self evaluation via the ETF and then sign up for a course to become qualified.

  • You will need to be familiar with the Professional Standards as QTLS is based on them.

  • You need to identify someone who can be your supporter. He or she will be someone with whom you have worked closely, and who will have observed your teaching and learning practice for a minimum of six months. They should be able to support you throughout the QTLS process, and comment on practice. They will write a statement when you have completed your portfolio before you can submit it. 

  • You can check if you are eligible to apply here.   

  • Once accepted by SET to work towards QTLS, you will need to complete an online workbook within a given timescale. 

  • SET and their corporate partners are the only bodies who can offer and confer QTLS status.

The benefits of QTLS status

  • It can help you with your career progression, it 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 for Education and Training's professional status register.

  • QTLS status is recognised in law as having parity with QTS for teaching in schools (all age ranges) without having to undertake the induction year. Scroll down this government webpage until you see QTLS. You need to remain a member of SET to keep your QTLS status active.

  • You can have access to certain benefits as part of staying a member of SET, such as subsided and free courses.

  • You can go on to 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

Please note - SET have made some changes to their online QTLS process since the book in the video was published.  

Some aspects in the book are now different to the online application process.

What is ATS?

Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) is the badge of advanced professionalism and mastery in further education and training. It entitles you to be a Fellow of SET.

It is a professional status conferred by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) through their Society of Education and Training (SET), and is voluntary.

ATS recognises experienced professionals who can demonstrate:

  • mastery in teaching and/or training

  • an exemplary degree of subject knowledge in their area of professional expertise

  • effectiveness in working collaboratively to improve teaching standards amongst their peers or within their organisation or network.

It's a chance to present your research and influence change, as well as demonstrating your current skills and knowledge. You will need to attend a re-accreditation event every three years to keep you status active. This is currently free.

You must be a member of SET to apply for ATS. You can find out about eligibility here. You do not need to have achieved QTLS/QTS. You can find out more and apply here.


QTLS FAQs are on the SET website. ATS FAQs on the SET website. Please contact SET if you have any questions. Do not contact me as I do not work for them.

1. Is QTLS the same as QTS?

QTLS status (for post-14 teachers) is recognised in law as having parity with QTS status (for school teachers in England). Click here for further information from the GOV.UK website and here for information for employers of QTLS holders. This information might help you to avoid the induction year if your school is unaware of it. If you wish to gain QTS to teach in a school, you can find out more about it here.

2. Is QTLS/ATS a qualification?

It's not a qualification, it's a 'status' which is achieved by application to the Society for Education and Training (SET), or through one of their corporate partners. You must remain a member of the SET to keep your 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 as to what their staff should hold. 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/ATS? 

You can find out more and apply by clicking here for QTLS; and clicking here for ATS. QTLS takes about 4-6 months and ATS up to 11 months. There are two cohorts per year, although you can express an interest to apply at any time. You can complete the online workbook at your own pace.

5. Why should I achieve QTLS/ATS status if it's not a legal requirement as a teacher in the FE, skills and training sector (in England)?

Holding QTLS and/or ATS is a demonstration of your commitment, skills and knowledge to employers. It shows you are a professional teacher or trainer. Also, as a member of SET you will be able to access professional development opportunities, certain benefits, and be able to communicate with other members.

6. How much does it cost to gain QTLS/ATS status? 

You will need to become a member of SET first and then you can apply for QTLS (provided you meet the entry requirements - see the 'Gaining QTLS' section above). The cost of QTLS is currently £500 and ATS is £775, but please check with SET in case it's increased. The fee can be paid in instalments.

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

Once you have been accepted by SET, you will be able to get online support and join their Facebook group.

You can join a Facebook group or a LinkedIn group which I co-host, to ask relevant questions.

8. Can I use the letters QTLS/ATS after my name?

As a member of SET, you can use various letters after your name, depending upon your membership level, and the letters QTLS/ATS if you have achieved either.

9. Do I have to remain a member of SET once I have achieved my QTLS/ATS status?

Yes. Being a member keeps your QTLS/ATS status active, and keeps you on the SET's Professional Status Register. This can be accessed by anyone to check.

10. The Professional Standards are used as a basis to work towards QTLS status, how can I access a copy?

You can download a copy here.

If your question is not listed above, please contact SET. Do not contact me as I do not work for them.

Their helpline number is 0800 093 9111 and their membership enquiry email is membership@etfoundation.co.uk

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF)

The ETF (in England) support the professional development of teachers and trainers, leaders and governors, and employers (in the post-14 sector) to help them deliver excellent further and vocational education and training. 

  • The ETF offer free and subsidised training, and provide online resources and courses.

  • They also offer a free online introductory course to teaching in FE.

  • A calendar of CPD events is collated by the ETF if you would like to check out what's going on in the sector.

  • Please note: the ETF and SET 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.

The ETF have produced a set of 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 - 7 standards aimed at developing judgement of what works and does not work in teaching and training

  • professional knowledge and understanding - 5 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 access various free resources to help you throughout the three stages of your career.

The Society for Education and Training (SET)

The Society for Education and Training (SET) is part of the ETF. You can join to become a member and there are lots of benefits, discounts, groups and CPD activities you can access for free, or which are subsidised. Find out here.

Members should abide by the SET Code of Ethics and Conduct.

If you are a trainee teacher working towards a teaching qualification (level 3 or above) you can join SET free - just click here for details.

Useful ETF/SET 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.

  • A useful guide by the ETF about the FE, skills and training sector can be found here.

Please contact me if any of these links no longer work.

  • Free resources, case studies and research about improving teaching click here

  • Excellence Gateway free resources click here. Over 7000 educational resources are available.

  • SET resource library (webinars, podcasts and articles) can be accessed here.

  • The Professional Standards can be accessed here.

  • Support for Apprenticeships can be found here.

  • The approved list of maths and English qualifications for QTLS applicants can be found here.

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