Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE)

Study Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) and graduate with a university degree

1st in Scotland and 4th in UK for Education (Times / Sunday Times League Table 2013)

Where can I gain practical and hands-on experience that allows me to qualify to teach in a Further Education College? How can I best support effective learning? How can I ensure that all learners feel valued, safe and included? What does research tell us about teaching and learning in colleges?

This is the recognised teaching qualification if you either currently work as a lecturer in Further Education, or want to pursue a career in the sector.

This qualification is recognised throughout the UK and the world.


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

Entrance requirements

University Diploma

Students must have a relevant Higher National Certificate (HNC) at Level 7 on the Scottish Credit Qualification Framework (SCQF) or equivalent. This pathway is for students where an HNC is the highest qualification available in the UK in that subject area.


Students must have a relevant Higher National Diploma (HND) at Level 8 on the Scottish Credit Qualification Framework (SCQF) or equivalent. Equivalent Qualifications which are recognised are:

  • A Part III, full technological certificate
  • Professional Recognition Award - Licentiateship Level 4
  • Senior Award from the City & Guilds of London Institute
  • In certain areas, other qualifications which are of equivalent standard to those listed above

Candidates for both qualifications must also have both literacy and numeracy skills which meets the demands of the course. The normal entry requirement will be:

  • A National Qualification Course award in English at level 6 on the SCQF (or suitable evidence of being able to attain this standard) or SQA communication level III
  • A National Qualification Course award in numeracy or Mathematics at level 4 on the SCQF (or suitable evidence of being able to attain this standard)

Candidates should have Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills equivalent to Intermediate 2 (i.e. level 5 on the SCQF). This level of skill in the use of ICT is required partly in order to be able to fully participate on the TQ(FE) course and partly in order to be able to function effectively in the working environment.

English language skills

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Modes of study

Pre-service students are full-time and in-service students are part-time.

Course contact

Course Secretary University of Stirling
+44 (0)1786 467934 www.stir.ac.uk/education

Course Director

Dr Kevin Brosnan

Find out more


Degree course

You will follow the course which leads to an BA degree or a UG Diploma. Taken over the course of the academic year the TQFE comprises  three modules at SCQF Level 10 worth 132 points. The course offers full-time study for those not currently teaching in the post compulsory sector. Most applicants from the post-compulsory sector undertake the award on a part-time basis as their workplace teaching forms an integral part of studying on the course.

The course is open to staff who currently work in post-compulsory education or for those who do not currently work in education but wish to pursue a career in teaching in the further education or post-compulsory sector. The TQFE award is validated by General Teaching Council (GTC) of Scotland  and graduates can gain GTCS registration. Applicants not currently teaching in post compulsory education must have relevant commercial/industrial/professional experience in their subject area and suitable training, teaching or coaching experience at an appropriate level.

Module titles

  • TQF9E1 - Learner Identity and Diversity
  • TQF9E2 - Teaching and Assessment
  • TQF9E3 - Professional Practice

Teaching and assessment

What's involved?

This is a recognised teaching qualification for those who wish to pursue a career in the further education sector. It's taught using a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops. You'll need a computer with internet access.

Most modules require two days, on campus, attendance, with all the teaching materials available online.  For pre-service students the course is full-time for one year.  For in-service students the course is part-time for one year.

As a pre-service student you will undertake a college placement activity, and this involves 120 hours of teaching practice in a college, plus additional inputs on campus. Assessment is both formative and summative. Placements are supported by tutor visits college mentors.

Reading list

  • Avis, J., Fisher, R., & Thompson, R. (2010). Teaching in Lifelong Learning: a guide to theory and practice. London: Open University Press.
  • Bryce, T. and Humes, W, Eds (2008) Scottish Education.  Third Edition, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
  • Hayes, A. (2006). Teaching Adults. London: Continuum.
  • Hillier, Y. (2005) Reflective Teaching in Further and Higher Education, London: Continnum
  • Tusting, K. and Barton, D. (2003) Models of Learning: a literature review. Leicester: NIACE
  • Weyers, M. (2006). Teaching the FE curriculum. London: Continuum.

Example timetable

The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.

Pre-service staff on the course attend for twenty days throughout the academic year, in-service students attend for ten days throughout the academic year.  For both groups of students college based teaching practice is an integral part of the course.

There is therefore no weekly timetable. However, on the days that the TQFE students are on campus the day consists of individual tutorial support, and then a lecture, seminar and workshop.

The University of Stirling is one of the three Scottish universities endorsed by the Scottish Government to offer the TQFE course. The TQFE at Stirling is unique in a number of ways. Firstly, all undergraduates who enter the course with an HND graduate with a BA Tertiary Education with TQFE. Secondly, we are the only TQFE provider to offer a pre-entry course for those who wish to progress to teaching in a college. Thirdly, the course at Stirling is offered through a blended learning approach with both face-to-face and online learning and teaching. Fourthly, we offer the course at some college-based venues.

Our feedback from students is that they enjoy learning on campus. In addition, we make extensive use of our Virtual Learning Environment and ensure that all of the course information, and student support material is available electronically.  Lastly, we place a significant emphasis and value on the knowledge and skills that the students bring to the course and base much of our teaching on critical reflection of the students’ practice. Through this, we have a significant focus on peer learning and peer assessment, and feedback from students has been very positive. These different aspects of the TQFE course at Stirling underline its distinctiveness among the providers in Scotland.

Study abroad

It is not possible to study abroad during this course.


Education was rated 1st in Scotland  for the quality of its research (in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise).


The course was reviewed by GTC (on behalf of the Scottish Government) in June 2012 and was commended for the quality of its teaching and learning. In addition, the course is guided and informed by a Professional Advisory Group made up of colleagues from further education colleges. Staff who deliver the TQFE course have both further Education and research experience and this synergy of professional enquiry and Further Education teaching practice experience impacts positively on the TQFE course and further enhances the provision.

In addition, all TQFE students have to undertake two observations of their teaching and these are carried out, in the main, by core staff on the TQFE course which further strengthens our links with the college sector. The course also employs two FE college-based Teacher Fellows who complement the core team who undertake teaching observations. Further, the Pre-Service strand of the course requires students to undertake one hundred and twenty hours teaching practice in a partner college. 

The placement also provides students with the opportunity to develop and enhance their teaching practice in the further education environment. The TQFE award offers a research-informed and practice-focused course thus providing a high quality learning experience with the notion of professional enquiry at its heart.

Academic strengths

The TQFE course is delivered by staff who are both research active and have teaching expertise in the further education sector. This enables the course to adopt a practice focus complemented by a strong research base. Course assignments are designed in such a way that students are supported in making links between professional practice and current research ideas and concepts.  Through the research and scholarship activities undertaken by staff on the course the research knowledge base is continuously reviewed, updated and enhanced and this further informs practice.

Our students

Our students are drawn from two specific groups. One group consists of lecturers currently teaching in colleges or similar post-compulsory education environment. The second group consists of those who have other teaching experience but who wish to gain the TQFE qualification in order to work in the further education sector. 

All students are mature students.

Alumni viewpoint

…students thrive off the lecturer’s energy, which makes the course extremely enjoyable. This involvement brings something very special to the TQFE. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and it remains the best learning experiences of my life.

Eunice Skinner, Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Education with Teaching Qualification (Further Education), 2009; BA Film & Media Studies, 2007; Master of Science Professional Learning and Leadership, due to graduate, 2013)

Our Staff

Kevin Brosnan BA (Hons), PGCE, MSc, PhD

Kevin Brosnan is a Teaching Fellow within the School of Education and the Course Director for the Teaching Qualification for Further Education (TQFE).

Kevin started his teaching career in further education before moving on to teaching in higher education. He has worked closely with colleges as part of externally funded projects and has a particular interest in the use of ICT to support the professional development of college based staff.

94% of University of Stirling 2012 graduates have found work, or are in a further programme of study within 6 months of graduation. The Telegraph ranks Stirling in the top 12 UK universities for getting a job.

Career opportunities

We would expect those who complete the course to progress to work in the Scottish Further Education sector. However, others who have undertaken the qualification have worked as adult learning tutors or trainers in the police, fire and ambulance services as well as training providers, charities and other adult learning organisations.

Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.

Please note: Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.


Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE)
  • Degree award BA
  • Type Part-time
  • Start date June
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