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Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - Pre-service [PGDip]

Course Description


‌The Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) is the recognised teaching qualification for individuals who wish to pursue a career in the sector. It gives you the recognised teaching qualification for the FE sector 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 individuals who wish to pursue a career in Further Education.

Structure and content

You will complete three of the following modules:

Learner Diversity

This is a core module within the postgraduate pre-service TQFE programme. The module provides an essential foundation for the TQFE course with its emphasis on a critical understanding of the diverse groups of students and the implications of this diversity for pedagogic and professional practice. Having studied this module students will have developed a clear appreciation of concepts such as ‘learner identity’, learner biography’, ‘cultural diversity’, ‘differentiated provision’ and the relationship between these concepts and their practice as professional educators.

The broad purpose of the module is that pre-service students of the TQFE programme (PG) develop capacity to respond positively to student diversity in giving support and guidance to learners and for their learning. This aim is supported throughout the module with a focus on the lecturer role in relation to diverse learner identities, students and groups. The module develops student capacity to identify and critically assess their role as a lecturer in relation to current institutional and wider practices, policies and research regarding support and guidance and learning support.

Teaching and Assessment 1

The module aims to provide students with an active learning space for professional enquiry into teaching and learning processes, skills and awareness, and the assessment of learning in post-compulsory contexts. Teaching and Assessment 1 focuses on broad theories of learning, pedagogic strategies and assessment for/of learning. This module focuses on the planning of a research-informed innovation in practice. The module relates to the Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland’s Colleges (Scottish Government, 2012) particularly the sections:

Planning and Preparing the Learning Experience.
Teaching / Facilitating Learning.

Link Practice

This module provides the work-related element of the TQFE course for pre-service students. Within this module students will undertake a variety of activities that require them to make links between their experiences in the work-place, at the university and their development as FE teachers. The first element of Link Practice is the microteaching week on campus. During the microteaching week the students will gain experience in planning, teaching and evaluating lessons in a non-threatening environment.
As they progress through Link Practice students will be given the opportunity to focus on particular aspects of professional practice enabling them to better deal with the complexity of working in FE and addressing the work-based assignments associated with selected modules. Moreover, Link Practice provides the opportunity for students to test out and reflect further on the professional learning that occurs in college and university and through their reading.

Teaching and Assessment 2

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 enactment of a research-informed innovation in practice.

Professional Development

The module encourages students to examine their own professional practice in a critical manner and to relate their practice to wider processes of quality assurance at the college, department and individual level. After an initial face-to-face induction session the module is taught online using SUCCEED. A key pedagogic principle underpinning the module is that of developing a sense of a professional learning community whereby all participants are encouraged to learn with and from each other.

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.

Delivery and assessment

Core modules are assessed through academic assignments that require students to make links between theory/concepts and aspects of their professional practice. Placements are assessed as part of the Link Practice module – the assessment requires students to maintain an online journal, write reports on their placement and have reports written about them by their college mentors.

Career opportunities

The course provides students with a ‘career change’ opportunity enabling them, on successful completion, to confidently seek employment as a further education lecturer. In the past some PG Diploma students have been offered employment by their placement college before completion of the course.


Visit the Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - Pre-service [PGDip] 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.

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