QTLS/ATS, ETF/SET

This page covers:

  • What is QTLS?

  • Gaining QTLS status 

  • The benefits of QTLS status

  • How to apply for QTLS status

  • What is ATS? 

  • QTLS/ATS FAQs

  • 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. The following is information is subject to change.


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 at least a level 5 teaching qualification prior to applying. Scroll down the page until you see 'Gaining QTLS status' for further information.

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

  • You must be teaching in the post-14 sector (a Further Education and Training setting, and in a salaried role) for a minimum of 230 hours over six months, to groups of at least five learners (throughout the QTLS process). Voluntary teaching and tutorial sessions cannot be counted.

  • You must hold at least one level 3 subject qualification if you teach five hours per week or less. 

  • You must hold at least a level 3 qualification in  all subjects that you teach for five or more hours per week.

  • 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 or the Diploma in Teaching) prior to your application. 

  • If you teach in a SEND setting within FE and Skills, you must evidence a minimum of a Level 3 or above subject specific qualification in any subject. A regulated level 3+ SEND qualification may be acceptable. 

  • You must be a member of SET.

  • You must be able to provide evidence of maths and English to at least level two (level 3 if you teach these subjects). 

  • You will need to be familiar with the Professional Standards as QTLS is based on them. You can use the self-assessment tool to check your knowledge, and use the mapping tool to find relevant resources regarding the Standards.

  • You need to identify someone who can be your supporter who is appropriately qualified. He or she will be someone with whom you have worked closely, and they should be able to support you throughout the QTLS process, and comment on your practice. 

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

SET and their corporate partners are the only bodies who can offer and confer QTLS status. Don't be caught out by companies saying they can help you, check with SET first.

Please note - this information might change. Please check the SET website for currency.


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 will 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.  

  • All members of SET with QTLS status will be issued with a Teacher Reference Number (if they do not already hold one) and will appear on both SET's professional status register and the DfE's central record of qualified teachers, managed by the Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA).

  • 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


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 must be a member of SET to apply for ATS. 

You can find out more, and check if you are eligible to apply here. You must have achieved a level 5 teaching qualification, hold QTLS/QTS, and have four years of teaching experience (five years if you don't hold QTLS/QTS). 


QTLS/ATS FAQs

QTLS FAQs are on the SET website. ATS FAQs are 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 qualifications/status their staff should hold. See question one (above) as QTLS 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. 

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 your employer and your learners. It shows you are a professional teacher or trainer. Also, as a member of SET you will be able to access professional development opportunities and certain benefits, and be able to communicate with other members and attend free or subsidised events.

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). Please check the SET website for the current fees. 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.

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. Please don't 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