Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers - The ETF

The Professional Standards were developed in 2014 by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF).

They were developed in consultation with practitioners and providers from across the sector, and define common expectations that:

  • Teachers and trainers are reflective and enquiring practitioners who think critically about their own educational assumptions, values and practices.
  • They draw on relevant research as part of evidence-based practice.
  • They act with honesty and integrity to maintain high standards of ethics and professional behaviour in support of learners and their expectations.
  • Teachers and trainers are subject and/or vocational specialists as well as experts in teaching and learning.
  • They are committed to maintaining and developing their expertise in both aspects of their role to ensure the best outcomes for their learners.
  • The purpose of the Standards is to support teachers and trainers to maintain and improve standards of teaching and learning, and outcomes for learners.

The 20 teaching Professional Standards were written following an extensive review and consultation period across the Further Education (FE) and Training sector.

Based on three core pillars, the Professional Standards enable teachers and trainers to identify areas for their own professional development and provide a national reference point that organisations can use to support the development of their staff.

The ETF has also created a differentiated structure to the Professional Standards, which provides a common language for understanding and communicating the career progression of teachers.

The Professional Standards Self-Assessment tool provides teachers with a simple, quick and effective way to understand how well they are currently performing against the professional standards.

The ETF has also produced a Self-development guide, outlining how to make the most of the Professional Standards in teachers current setting.

The Professional Standards Research tool allows provides interactive mapping of the 20 standards, drawn from research and other formal evidence. Teachers can use this tool to help demonstrate how they are continuing to develop their pedagogical skills and subject specialist knowledge of the relevant standards. 

Professional Standards graphic

In early 2020, new videos were launched illustrating how the Professional Standards can underpin a change in the way that staff development takes place. They focus on work at four provider institutions – Guernsey College, Lincoln College, MoD Lyneham and Waltham Forest College – that has transformed the way that professional development takes place, moving away from top-down performance management to put responsibility into the hands of practitioners.

While each provider’s starting point, circumstances and story are certainly different, the benefits of engaging with the Professional Standards experienced at each have some striking similarities. The four videos can be watched on the ETF’s YouTube channel.

Professional Standards resources: