The Education and Training Foundation is handing out 100 discounts worth £500 each to boost the number of FE lecturers with Advanced Teacher Status (ATS), whilst also softening the scheme’s eligibility criteria.
It currently costs participants £750 to undertake ATS, meaning those that receive the discount will only have to pay £250.
The qualification was first launched in 2017 and recognises lecturers who can demonstrate “mastery” of the profession. It is described as the “gold standard practitioner status in the FE sector” by the ETF.
Around 100 individuals have attained it so far. Those who are awarded ATS are additionally granted with Chartered Teacher Status by the Chartered College of Teaching – the recognised professional body for teachers in England.
Martin Reid, director of the Society for Education and Training (SET), part of the ETF, said the “bursaries” have been made available to make ATS “accessible to a wider group of highly-skilled and experienced practitioners for whom financial barriers may be issues”.
Up to 100 are on offer and preference will be given to those applicants who “present a strong case for requiring a bursary”, which they will have to do by “making a statement explaining how a funded place will support both themselves and their organisation, focusing on three key areas of the ETF professional standards: values and attributes; knowledge and understanding; and skills”.
The eligibility criteria for ATS have also been changed, with the requirement for applicants to already hold Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status or Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) “no longer a prerequisite”.
Instead, “advanced” teachers and trainers who have “held their initial teaching qualification at level five or above for at least five years – rather than the four required of QTLS and QTS holders – and who meet all of the other eligibility criteria relating to access to teaching and coaching, can also apply”.
All applicants must be members of the SET, which oversees ATS.
The discounts will be available to those joining the next cohort to work towards ATS, which will begin in October 2020.
The ETF said although the eligibility criteria have been updated, the ATS programme “has not been changed in any way” and participants will “carry out the same tasks and portfolios will be assessed with the same rigour they always have been”.
Reid added: “We know from listening to our members that ATS is seen as a highly-valued badge of professionalism that demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of teaching and learning. It is also an important aspect of the work we are doing to drive up the professionalism of the whole sector, with those who achieve ATS telling us that its positive impacts are not just on them personally, but also on colleagues and their institutions.
“These ETF-funded bursaries, alongside changes to the eligibility criteria, will make ATS accessible to a wider group of highly-skilled and experienced practitioners for whom financial barriers or a lack of opportunity to undertake QTLS early in their careers may be issues.
“We hope that more people in the sector will now be able to embark on their journey to ATS and achieve Chartered Teacher status.”
The window for applications for the next cohort of the ATS programme is open until 13 September 2020.