Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers

Everything we do at the Education and Training Foundation is devoted to inspiring teachers and leaders to be the best version of themselves, so together we can change the learner experience for the better in the Further Education (FE) and Training sector. 

The Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers have been developed with sector professionals and experts to support and inspire your professional learning and career development. The Standards were introduced in 2014 and have been updated in 2022. 

The three domains of practice

They consist of 20 standards organised into three domains of practice:

Professional standards icons - values

Professional Values and Attributes

Seven standards to help you develop your own judgment of what works and does not work in your teaching and training.

Professional standards icons - knowledge

Professional Knowledge and Understanding

Five standards which highlight the importance of subject knowledge, teaching expertise, knowledge-sharing, supporting learners with educational difficulties, and professional responsibilities.

Professional standards icons - skills

Professional Skills

Eight standards which support you to master planning, motivation, coaching and assessment strategies to enable your learners to make excellent progress. 


Explore the 20 Professional Standards

Click to open the boxes below and explore each of the 20 standards.

Professional Values and Attributes

  1. Critically reflect on and evaluate your practices, values, and beliefs to improve learner outcomes.
  2. Promote and embed education for sustainable development (ESD) across learning and working practices.
  3. Inspire, motivate, and raise aspirations of learners by communicating high expectations and a passion for learning.
  4. Support and develop learners’ confidence, autonomy and thinking skills, taking account of their needs and starting points.
  5. Value and champion diversity, equality of opportunity, inclusion and social equity.
  6. Develop collaborative and respectful relationships with learners, colleagues and external stakeholders.
  7. Engage with and promote a culture of continuous learning and quality improvement.

Professional Knowledge and Understanding

  1. Develop and update knowledge of your subject specialism, taking account of new practices, research and/ or industry requirements.
  2. Critically review and apply your knowledge of educational research, pedagogy, and assessment to develop evidence-informed practice.
  3. Share and update knowledge of effective practice with colleagues, networks and/or research communities to support improvement.
  4. Develop and apply your knowledge of special educational needs and disabilities to create inclusive learning experiences.
  5. Understand your teaching role and responsibilities and how these are influenced by legal, regulatory, institutional and ethical contexts.

Professional Skills

  1. Promote and support positive learner behaviour, attitudes and wellbeing.
  2. Apply motivational, coaching and skill development strategies to help learners progress and achieve.
  3. Plan and deliver learning programmes that are safe, inclusive, stretching and relevant to learners’ needs.
  4. Select and use digital technologies safely and effectively to promote learning.
  5. Develop learners’ mathematics, English, digital and wider employability skills.
  6. Provide access to up-to-date information, advice and guidance so that learners can take ownership of their learning and make informed progression choices.
  7. Apply appropriate and fair methods of assessment and provide constructive and timely feedback to support learning and achievement.
  8. Develop enrichment and progression opportunities for learners through collaboration with employers, higher education and/or community groups.

Professional Standards career stages

The standards have also been considered against key career stages – early career teacher, experienced teacher and advanced teacher – providing aspirational statements at each stage.


How have the Professional Standards changed since 2014?

In 2021, we reviewed the standards, prompted by the rapid changes to working practices and digital learning seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the emerging sustainability and wellbeing challenges societies are now addressing. We consulted with colleagues across the entire sector over a period of more than six months.

You can download a transcript for the animation.

The original 2014 Professional standards can be viewed for reference.

Why use the Professional Standards?

Benefits of using the Professional Standards are wide ranging. They will: 

  • Help you excel in your teaching practice 
  • Enrich your professional development conversations 
  • Recognise the value of your knowledge-sharing with peers and partners 
  • Support your innovation and creative practices to improve learner outcomes 
  • Encourage you to engage with education for sustainable development 
  • Promote a fair, equitable and respectful learning culture. 

How and when can you use the Professional Standards?

You will naturally want to reflect upon your teaching practice, and the standards will help you to identify areas for your own professional development and provide a national reference point for staff development in the FE and Training sector. 

How can I assess my development with reference to the Professional Standards?

Explore your current engagement with the Professional Standards with our Self-Assessment Tool.

Are you a provider of Initial Teacher Education (ITE)?

Using the Professional Standards as an ITE provider

As a provider of Initial Teacher Education courses, what do the updated Professional Standards mean for you?

From Sept 2023 onwards, Further Education ITE courses are planned to change. These new courses will be mapped to and assessed against a new Occupational Standard published by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Until then, ITE courses will be referenced against the ETF’s Professional Standards. The grid below gives details on which Standards ITE institutions should be using:

ITE ProvisionStandards Referenced AgainstImplications
Trainees who started an ITE course before Sept 20222014 Professional StandardsNo change to the Standards trainees are asked to evidence. Courses continue with the Standards they started with.
Trainees starting a new ITE course from Sept 2022Updated 2022 Professional StandardsThe revisions are still closely linked to the original 2014 versions, so we do not anticipate ITE providers having to significantly rework their courses.
Trainees starting a new ITE course from Sept 2023New Occupational StandardITE courses will be mapped to and assessed against the new Occupational Standard. From Sept 2023, the Professional Standards will be aimed at supporting teachers and trainers who have gained their ITE qualification to support their ongoing CPD.
Transferring to the updated 2022 Professional Standards

Fortunately, our review process was able to conclude that the original 2014 version of the Professional Standards was held in high esteem. This meant that the 2022 update has been more of a refresh than a thorough rewrite, with much of the original carrying over to the updated version.  Some of the Standards have been modified but remain broadly the same, although you may find that some elements have been relocated to different places. There are importantly three brand new Standards for you to signpost, but this is not expected to be an onerous task. You can view a summary of the latest changes in the Professional Standards. Overall, what is needed will be small amendments to the course paperwork and the highlighting of these new elements.

For support with this process, please contact Howard Pilot, National Head for Teacher Education at howard.pilot@etfoundation.co.uk.

Professional Standards resources