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Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - In-service [PGCert]

Course Description


‌The Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) is the recognised teaching qualification for individuals who currently work as lecturers in Further Education. It gives you the recognised teaching qualification for the FE sector, allows you to take the course at your own pace and provides opportunities to progress onto further qualifications.

If you are considering a lecturing career in Scottish Further Education, this course provides you with college-based placement experience and a highly relevant and marketable postgraduate qualification.


‌This course is accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Course objectives

The Stirling TQFE programme has been offered for 15 years and is a well respected programme. The programme was commended in June 2012 when reviewed by the GTCs. The Stirling TQFE programme (at both UG and PG levels) integrates a range of pedagogic techniques which aim to encourage students to engage with academic and policy literature and to communicate with their peers as part of a ‘professional learning community’. Both face-to-face (on campus or on college based sites) sessions and a variety of online technologies are used to achieve the overall aims of the programme.

The Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) is designed to meet the needs of the contemporary Scottish Further Education (FE) sector. The content is based on the professional standards for FE staff as laid down by the Scottish Government and is fully accredited by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). The course is suitable for:

In-service: Lecturers currently working in Further Education colleges
Individuals who work in other education and training contexts in post-compulsory education

Structure and content

You will complete three of the following modules:

Learner Identity and Diversity - Core module
The broad purpose of the module is that the students, employed as lecturers in Further Education colleges in Scotland (PG), will gain deeper and more critical understanding of their role and practices in the support and guidance of their students and in learning support. To this end the module aims to develop student understanding of the significance of learner identity in engagement in learning, to identify and critically assess the lecturers’ role and practices in support and guidance and learning support to particular students and groups, and to research and critically evaluate current institutional and wider practices, policies and research regarding support and guidance and learning support.

Teaching and Assessment - Core module
In this postgraduate module students encounter and critically examine some of the main theories of learning, teaching and assessment. Key to the work is the idea that practice can be informed by reflection, engagement with colleagues, with the practice setting and, importantly, through relating theory to the practice to teaching and assessing learners. This module focuses on the planning and enactment of a research-informed innovation in practice.

Professional Practice - Optional module
The module aims to enable students to critically examine their role as a vocational educator in further education and to identify areas of their practice that could be changed to improve the learning experiences of their students. Students will be encouraged to examine various debates about professionalism within further education and the implications of these debates for their own professional practice. The module will also introduce students to different frameworks of quality enhancement within further education and students will be supported in critically examining how these frameworks can enhance or hinder their professional practice. The final part of the module will focus on different approaches to professional learning with a particular emphasis on networked professional learning communities.

Professional Experiential Learning - Optional module
Those students who successfully complete the module will be expected to be able to undertake a self-directed study of a chosen aspect of their professional context/practice in a scholarly manner informed by appropriate literature. The outcomes from the study will be of benefit to the local institution, TQFE peers and the student themselves. As a consequence of completing this module students will have developed independent thinking skills, the ability to identify and frame in an appropriate way issues within their professional context/practice that are of particular relevance to them and to communicate with peers and tutors clearly and effectively about their study.

Delivery and assessment

The course is taught using a combination of lectures, seminars and materials made available via Succeed, the University of Stirling's chosen online learning environment.

The attendance requirement for most modules is two days per module, with all course materials available online in advance. Pre-service students are required to do additional work both on campus and in their college placement.

Three formal assignments are required (where a student has not been granted any exemptions) each of 3,000 words. Where the first submission is graded as a fail one resubmission attempt is allowed. Where the resubmission is graded as a fail the student must retake the module. The pass mark for postgraduate work is: 50%

A student is permitted a maximum of five assessment attempts (3 module registrations to include assessment only) per module.

In addition to the formal written assignments students are required to be observed teaching on two separate occasions and to complete a written reflective review of the observed lesson. One of the observations may be undertaken by suitably qualified college based staff.


Visit the Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - In-service [PGCert] page on the University of Stirling website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Susan McIntosh

The highlight of being a student at Stirling University is that I have met lots of new friends and its great being around likeminded people. It has given me the tools and qualifications I require to progress within my chosen career path. The skills and knowledge that I have obtained through both the taught and practical element of this course has been invaluable. It has given me a greater understanding of what it means to be an educator. It has also increased my confidence and belief that I have the ability to be successful in an educator role.


Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.Students on the in-service course must have access to/be employed in an appropriate work environment (e.g. a college).

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