My previous Blog about the assessor qualifications seems to have stimulated a similar question but this time about qualifications to teach and specifically the Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) qualification.

Where to begin with this question?  Beware of acronyms!!  In September 2007 the government introduced new regulations to reform the training and qualifications of teachers, tutors, trainers and instructors.  These qualifications affect all those delivering learning in the further education (FE) sector.  Now that doesn’t just mean FE Colleges!  It does mean any organisation, or person, delivering learning to post-16 learners. 

This shouldn’t worry you if your learners are not funded through government initiatives such as apprenticeships, or through the Skills Funding Agency.  However, it does apply if you work in the public sector because, by default, all public sector employees are funded through local or national government. 

I can hear you saying “but I’m not a teacher, tutor, etc., I’m an assessor”.  Well good for you, so am I.  However, I’d be more than a little insulted if you told me that my learners didn’t learn from me.  I provide them with constructive feedback, enhance their knowledge and understanding through discussion, providing advice, etc.  Therefore, I do “teach”, I just don’t call it that. 

LLUK and IfL had long debates about NVQ assessors and the impact of the 2007 teacher’s qualifications regulations.  In the end, they concluded that most assessors do deliver learning and are within the scope of the Regulations.  Let us not forget having to complete those dreadful Train2Gain forms where we had to log Guided Learning Hours (i.e. teaching hours) for LSC/SFA audit purposes!  Very few assessors purely assess competence.  I guess if you just observe learners, record your observation, make an assessment decision and pass this evidence to a primary assessor, then you are one of the few exceptions that don’t teach.

So, if you “teach” and your learners are publicly funded you must hold an appropriate teaching qualification, be a member of the IfL, go through the process of Professional Formation and complete a minimum of 30 hours CPD per annum (if you teach full-time). Do all these things and you’ll become a “Licensed Practitioner”!
The “appropriate teaching qualification” depends on your role:  Full Teacher role requires Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) professional status.  Associate Teacher, e.g. assessor, requires Associate Teacher Learning and Skills (ATLS) professional status. 

QTLS and ATLS are achieved through the process of Professional Formation with IfL, as mentioned above.  You need to achieve this within five-years of starting to work in the sector (if you started after September 2007).  You need to achieve a Threshold Licence to Practice within twelve-months of your commencement.  This is where PTLLS comes in!  Gaining the PTLLS qualification provides that threshold licence to practice.

A word of caution though: PTLLS is only the beginning of your journey to achieving ATLS or QTLS which must be achieved within five-years of commencing in the sector.  You need to progress to CTLLS for ATLS, and DTLLS (or equivalent, e.g. Cert. Ed, PCET) for QTLS and go through professional formation.

Oh, and a final word: if you held a recognised full teaching qualification before September 2007, you are exempt from the 2007 Regulations, however, you are encouraged to gain QTLS status.
How complicated is that?  I hope that I’ve answered the question, but if not, or you have specific queries, contact me.