Our Story

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) was founded in 2013 by the Association of Colleges, Association of Employment and Learning Providers and Holex. Its purpose was to oversee workforce development. The ETF was created by the sector, it acts with and for the sector.

Setting and promoting high professional standards

In May 2014 the ETF published the first Professional Standards for the sector, providing a framework for teachers and trainers to critically appraise their own practice and improve their teaching. These standards have been embedded across the ETF’s courses and programmes and embraced by the profession.

The role of the Society for Education and Training (SET) has been fundamental to the ETF’s work. Launched in May 2015, SET grew quickly and has at the start of 2021 had over 20,000 members. That figure continues to grow, in part due to the popularity of SET Corporate Partnership, which sees FE providers investing in their staff by providing them with access to the resources and tools SET provides.

SET members are able to study for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status and by the end of 2018 more than 8,000 of them held the badge of professionalism.

Those who achieve QTLS are entitled to apply to study for Advanced Teacher Status (ATS), the badge of advanced professionalism and mastery in further education and training. The first to successfully do so were announced at the inaugural SET annual conference in Birmingham in November 2018. Thanks to an agreement with the Chartered College of Teaching, those who gain ATS will also hold Chartered Teacher Status.

Leading workforce development for teachers, trainers, leaders and governors

The ETF has supported teachers, trainers and assessors with a range of courses and resources.

It has developed a comprehensive range of courses to support effective teaching of maths and English for teachers of GCSE, Functional Skills, apprenticeships and study programmes. Each year around 4,000 practitioners complete face-to-face, online and blended courses to improve their teaching and assessment approaches in maths and English.

More than 200,000 learners have been enrolled on the ETF’s online prevent modules and our SEND resources have helped staff improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning with students with autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD.

Encouraging professional collaboration has also been a priority for the ETF. The Outstanding, Teaching, Learning and Assessment programme has helped FE professionals realise the potential of practitioner-led collaboration and research, while the locally-organised Professional Exchange Networks have acted as a focus for practitioners to share and develop responses to issues they have identified.

Supporting the FE sector to succeed through reform and change

The period since the creation of the ETF in 2013 has been characterised in FE by a significant amount of reform and change. The ETF has helped the sector navigate challenges including the Area Reviews that posed questions about institutional structure, reforms to apprenticeships and the development of Functional Skills teaching. Potentially most significantly of all, it began the work of preparing leaders, teachers, trainers and assessors for the advent of T Levels, which will first be delivered in September 2020.

Attracting new talent to the sector has also been a priority and the ETF has developed and delivered a range of recruitment initiatives. Taking Teaching Further attracts experienced industry professionals with expert technical knowledge and skills and Talent to Teach in FE encourages final-year undergraduates to consider the opportunities in FE. In 2018, ETF produced a short film aimed at encouraging people to consider bringing their knowledge and industry experience into FE.

Creating independent, impartial and comprehensive workforce data and research

Understanding the sector has been key to the ETF’s success and the insight it has gained from its Further Education research has underpinned its work.