Under article 30 of the Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland) Order 2011 (the "2011 Order"), it is for the Scottish Ministers to determine what constitutes a recognised teaching qualification for individuals seeking registration as a further education teacher with the General Teaching Council for Scotland.
A determination under article 30 may make such provision about the education and training required to attain such a qualification as the Scottish Ministers think fit. In particular, a determination may make provision about:
(a) institutions providing courses of education and training for teachers;
(b) the admission of individuals to such courses;
(c) the content, nature and duration of such courses;
(d) the assessment of individuals undertaking such courses;
(e) the functions of the governing bodies, principals and members of staff of institutions providing those courses.
A determination can make different provision for different types of further education teachers or institutions or otherwise for different purposes.
Before making or changing a determination under article 30, the Scottish Ministers must consult further education institutions or their representatives, GTC Scotland and such other persons appearing to them to have an interest. They must have regard to any views expressed by those consulted in relation to any determination. Determinations must be published.
The Teaching Qualification in Further Education (or TQFE) is currently the core teaching qualification available to college lecturers (or further education teachers, as described in the 2011 Order) in Scotland.
Three higher education institutions are approved in determinations made by the Scottish Ministers at present to provide programmes leading to the award of the TQFE in Scotland:
- University of Aberdeen;
- University of Dundee;
- University of Stirling.
The TQFE is offered at different levels, with all providers offering an undergraduate level programme at SCQF level 9 and post-graduate certificate at SCQF level 11. Regardless of level of study or the provider, a TQFE consists of 60 SCQF points of study requiring a notional 600 hours of student engagement, and requires a minimum of 120 hours of teaching practice over the duration of the TQFE, including two observations of practice.