Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) - Pre-service



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?

The University of Stirling is one of the three Scottish universities endorsed by the Scottish Government to offer the TQFE course. It is the recognised teaching qualification if you want to pursue a career in the Further Education sector. The TQFE at Stirling is also unique in a number of ways. Firstly, all undergraduates who enter the course with an HND and successfully complete the course, 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. 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. Feedback from previous students has been very positive about these features of the course.

These different aspects of the TQFE course at Stirling underline its distinctiveness among the providers in Scotland.

Key information

EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2018 and 2019 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU Students will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree.

  • Qualification: BA
  • Study methods: Full-time, Campus based, Mixture of online and classroom delivery
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Start date: September with a programme induction taking place in August.
  • Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Location: Stirling Campus
Download course leaflet
Download undergraduate prospectus

Dr Kevin Brosnan, Course Director


View fees and finance


GTCS logo 2015

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

What makes us different?

Why study the Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) Pre-Service at Stirling?

Our unique pre-entry route

We are the only TQFE provider to offer a pre-entry course for those who wish to progress to teaching in a college.

Our blended learning approach

The course at Stirling is offered through a blended learning approach with both face-to face and online learning and teaching.

Recognition of practice experience

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 student practice.

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Life at Stirling

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

UG Diploma

Applicants for this award must have an HNC (or equivalent) where this is the highest level of award in the subject area in the UK. Applicants for the UG Diploma qualification may consider delaying their application for the TQFE so that they can enhance their entry qualification and subsequently be considered for the BA qualification. Applicants with an HNC as their highest award can consider the ‘City & Guilds Affiliateship’ award as one way of enhancing their entry qualification. The Affiliateship must be gained prior to application. Students on the UG Diploma route will be awarded 110 entry credit points.


Applicants for this award must have an HND or equivalent. Students on the BA route will be awarded 240 entry credit points.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on our English language requirements

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.

Application procedure

All applicants should contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office to request an application form.

Application Enquiries

Student Recruitment and Admissions Service
Undergraduate Admissions Office
University of Stirling
Stirling FK9 4LA
Scotland UK

Tel: + 44 (0) 1786 467044
Fax: + 44 (0) 1786 466800
Email: admissions@stir.ac.uk

Fees and costs

If you plan to commence your studies at the University of Stirling in January 2018, please note you will be subject to our 2017/18 fees. Please contact us for more information.

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. 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.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

You will follow the course which leads to a BA degree or a University Diploma. Taken over the course of the academic year the TQFE pre-service programme comprises five modules at SCQF Level 9 worth 120 credit points. 


TQFU901 Learner Diversity

This is a core module within the BA and University Diploma TQFE pre-service 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 you 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 your practice as a professional educator.

TQFU902 Teaching and Assessment 1

The module aims to provide you 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. 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 and Teaching / Facilitating Learning.

Within this module you are enabled to:

  1. Critically examine some of the main theories of learning, teaching and assessment, with some focused analysis of selected sources.
  2. Relate some theories to your own teaching practice and the strategies other educators deploy with learners.
  3. Identify and utilise selected academic literature to inform aspects of teaching practice with awareness of possible critiques.
  4. Critically evaluate and implement strategies to promote more active learning and assessment.

TQFU9PL Link Practice

Link Practice provides the work-related element of the TQFE course for pre-service students. Within this module, you will undertake a variety of activities that require you to make links between your experiences on placement, at the university and your development as an FE teacher.

The first element of Link Practice is the micro teaching week on campus. During the micro teaching week, you will gain experience in planning, teaching and evaluating lessons in a non-threatening environment.
As you progress through Link Practice you will be given the opportunity to focus on particular aspects of professional practice enabling you to better deal with the complexity of working in FE and addressing the work-related assignments associated with particular modules. Moreover, Link Practice provides you with the opportunity to test out and reflect further on the professional learning that occurs in college and university and through your reading.

Within this module you will learn how to:

  1. Draw on the relevant ideas and concepts to provide an appropriate rationale for simulated and/or placement practice as a novice FE lecturer.
  2. Demonstrate the development and appropriate use of work-based skills required of the FE lecturer.
  3. Indicate the values and attitudes needed for working in a college environment.
  4. Display the ability to progressively develop your practice through reflective processes.
  5. Critically examine your development during the TQFE programme.

TQFU903 Teaching and Assessment 2

The module aims to provide you 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 2 builds upon the theories and concepts covered in Teaching and Assessment 1 with a particular focus on vocational education pedagogy and Curriculum for Excellence. 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 and Teaching / Facilitating Learning.

Within this module you will learn how to:

  1. Critically examine the main theories of curriculum development, learning, teaching and assessment.
  2. Relate these theories to practice and the strategies educators deploy with learners.
  3. Identify and draw upon relevant academic literature to inform aspects of teaching practice.
  4. Evaluate and implement strategies to promote more active learning and assessment.

TQFU904 Professional Development

The module encourages you to examine your own professional practice in a critical manner and to relate 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.

The module aims to enable you to critically examine your role as a professional teacher in further education and to identify areas of practice that could be changed to improve the learning experiences of your students. You will be encouraged to examine various debates about professionalism within further education and the implications of these debates for your own professional practice. As part of the process of critical reflection, you will also be exposed to different frameworks of quality enhancement and will be supported in examining how you can contribute to these processes as individuals and team members.

Delivery 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 online. All modules require on campus attendance with all the teaching materials available online.  

As a pre-service student, you will undertake an unpaid college placement activity, and this involves 2 to 3 days per week of teaching practice in a college, plus additional inputs on campus. Assessment is both formative and summative. Placements are supported by tutor visits and college mentors.

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 FE college-based Teacher Fellows who complement the core team who undertake teaching observations. 

The placement also provides you with the opportunity to develop and enhance your 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.


TitleCreditLevelTeaching days
Learner Diversity 20 9 3
Teaching & Assessment 1 20 9 3
Link Practice 40 9 9
Teaching & Assessment 2 20 9 3
Professional Development 20 9 1 (plus online discussion)

Related degrees


In-service (undergraduate)

In-service (postgraduate)

Pre-service (postgraduate)

Recommended reading

  • Avis, J., Fisher, R., & Thompson, R. (2014) Teaching in Lifelong Learning A Guide to Theory and Practice (2nd ed.). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill International (UK) Ltd.
  • Gregson, M., & Hillier, Y. (2015) Reflective teaching in further, adult and vocational education (4th. ed.). London: Bloomsbury.
  • Gregson, M., Nixon, L., Pollard, A., & Spedding, T. (Eds.). (2015) Readings for Reflective teaching in further, adult and vocational education. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Huddleston, P., & Unwin, L. (2013) Teaching and learning in further education diversity and change (4th ed.). New York: Routledge.
  • Weyers, M. (2006) Teaching the FE Curriculum. London: Continuum.



Modes of study


Example timetable

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

You will attend campus based sessions for twenty days throughout the academic year, which will consist of individual tutorial support followed by a lecture, seminar and workshop. Additional college based teaching practice is an integral part of the course. There is no fixed weekly timetable.

Why Stirling?


Currently, Education Studies ranks as:

  • 1st in Scotland and 12th in the UK (The Guardian University Guide, 2018) 
  • 7th in the UK (The Complete University Guide, 2018)
  • 5th in the UK (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2017)

Displaying our commitment to achieving a high level of; Satisfaction with Course, Satisfaction with teaching, Satisfaction with Assessment Feedback, Student/ Staff Ratio, Value Added, Career after 6 months, and research in Education. In the most recent study by QS, staff from the University of Stirling received 5 out of 5-star rating for teaching.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, our Educational research had the highest quality of research outputs of any Scottish university, with 100% rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes applications from all countries.

Study abroad opportunities

Please consult the programme director as this is something that is under development.


The course was reviewed by GTCS (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 Programme 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.

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

Pre-service students may have other teaching experience but wish to gain the TQFE qualification in order to work in the further education sector.

Our staff

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

Kevin Brosnan is a Senior Teaching Fellow within the Faculty of Social Sciences 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.

The further education sector is varied and complex and needs the highest calibre of teaching staff to achieve its varied purposes. The in-service TQFE course provides a stimulating and supportive environment in which the next generation of FE staff can develop to meet the exciting challenges of the sector.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

As the recognised teaching qualification for individuals who are employed in Scottish Further Education, the TQFE provides you with a highly relevant and marketable qualification. 

Students achieving the BA award may progress to the MSc in Professional Education and Leadership.

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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