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PG Certificate / Graduate Certificate Leading Learning & Transformative Practice in Colleges (with TQFE)

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Key facts

  • Start date: August 2023
  • Accreditation: General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)
  • Application deadline: mid-August
  • Study mode and duration: Online, part-time over 9 or 21 months

Study with us

Obtain the Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) by undertaking our innovative programme in Leading Learning & Transformative Practice in Colleges. Allows for registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland. The programme is available at undergraduate level as a Graduate Certificate (level 9) or at postgraduate level as a Postgraduate Certificate (level 11).

  • online, part-time over 9 or 21 months to suit personal and work commitments

  • socially progressive with an explicit focus on teaching in colleges as a means of making a positive difference to society

  • student-centred with a clear focus on context-relevant learning and active participation with peers

  • uses professionally authentic assessment approaches (including patchwork, professional enquiry and viva)

  • progression to other qualifications (e.g. Masters or Doctorate) is possible and encouraged
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Why this course?

This programme aims to provide a student-centred, socially-progressive and research-informed journey to enable students to lead learning and transformative practice in colleges. It encourages an active, questioning and enquiring stance while placing sustainability and inclusivity at its core. It allows students to demonstrate achievement of the Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland’s Colleges and subsequently register as a College Lecturer with the General Teaching Council for Scotland. 

The programme models a transformative learning pedagogical approach for and with students.  Students will have significant opportunities to collaborate with others from their own college, other colleges and in subject groups. Each student will also be supported by their college-based mentor. Students will engage in directed online activities on a weekly basis and every 2 weeks, will attend a 90 minute ‘huddle’ with their tutors(s) and peers. Please note, those on the 21-month route will have less activities and huddles to engage in/attend in year 1. 

Authentic and work-based assessment approaches are employed and uniquely, includes a professional viva (oral examination) at the end of the programme. Students will be able to negotiate with the programme team the exact requirements and format of a variety of assessment activities.

Students need to be employed within a college to be able to undertake 120 hours of teaching practice required by the Scottish Government to be awarded the TQFE. Uniquely, we offer students the option of undertaking this programme over 9 or 21 months to suit their personal and work commitments. 

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you’ll study

The programme is designed to be undertaken over 9 months (standard route) or 21 months (extended route). 

All students will undertake a comprehensive ‘pre-boarding’ induction at the beginning of the programme.  Pre-boarding will include attendance at an online event and directed study on professionalism, the professional standards, study skills, critical reading and writing.  

Early in the programme, students will also undertake a comprehensive self-evaluation and audit against the professional standards to identify areas for development. In conjunction with their tutor, they will then create an action plan for the remainder of the programme.  Depending on the student’s prior experience, qualifications and background, the audit and action plan will be a very personalised task to ensure the individual needs of each student are met.

This research-informed programme has been designed in conjunction with colleges and other relevant stakeholders.

We anticipate the programme will include input from college students, lecturers and other relevant organisations (including WorldSkills UK) where possible.

Standard (9-month route)

Students following the standard (9 months) route will complete three 20 credit modules over 9 months.

Each module includes a variety of directed and self-directed activities. Attendance at fortnightly 90-minute huddles is a requirement. 

Extended (21-month route)

Students following the extended (21 months) route will complete two 20 credit modules in Year 1 and one 20 credit module in Year 2.

Each module includes a variety of directed and self-directed activities. This will include attendance at 90-minute huddles; the frequency of these will be less than the standard route.

Course awards

Level 9

Students who complete all 3 modules at level 9 will achieve a Graduate Certificate in Leading Learning & Transformative Practice in Colleges (with TQFE).

Students completing this programme at level 9 may be able to use their credits towards other undergraduate qualifications.

Level 11

Students who complete all 3 modules at level 11 will achieve a Postgraduate Certificate in Leading Learning & Transformative Practice in Colleges (with TQFE).

Students completing the programme at level 11 can apply for entry into our Masters or Doctorate in Education programmes.  More information about progression and credit transfer will be provided during the programme. 

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Course content

Students on the Graduate Certificate (level 9) programme must complete all 3 modules at level 9.

Students on the Postgraduate Certificate (level 11) programme must complete all 3 modules at level 11. 

Module 1 – Leading Learning in Colleges

This module aims to provide a space for students to examine factors that impact on learning, teaching, assessment and student pathways. Students will collaborate with their tutor(s) and peers to design student-led, socially progressive, sustainable and inclusive learning, teaching and assessment experiences for a specific group of their own students. The focus in this module is on planning for leading learning and subsequent professional dialogue, rather than preparing lengthy lesson plans and/or plans of work. 

At level 11, there will be greater focus on power and hegemony, creativity and/or originality, use of research to inform practice and criticality.

Module 2 – Transforming Practice through Enquiry

This module aims to enable students to plan and undertake professional enquiry that will promote social progressivism and sustainability, transform practice and enhance the student experience. Students will decide an area for enquiry from a range of themes including but not limited to: digital pedagogy, sustainability, student voice and empowerment, WorldSkills methodologies, meta skills and enterprise. Themes will change depending on student interest. They will be required to link their enquiry where appropriate to college, regional and national priorities (including sustainability).

Students will have to work collaboratively and disseminate the impact of their work via a digital artefact of their choice (level 9) or at an online showcase event (level 11). 

At level 11, there will be greater focus on disrupting current assumptions about learning, teaching and/or assessment, use of research and criticality. Students will be required to show some creativity and/or originality in the design and execution of their enquiry. 

Module 3 – Achieving Professional Standards

This module will support students to independently interrogate and understand relevant professional standards in relation to their own work contexts. It will help to develop skills of critical reflection and professional evaluation leading to the presentation and defence of a portfolio, mapping the student’s own professional learning against the relevant professional standard. This module includes 2 observations of practice (one digitally by the University and the other by their college mentor or appointee).

At level 11, there will be a greater focus on creativity and/or originality, enhanced critical awareness, extensive critical reflection and exercising substantial autonomy.

Learning & Teaching

The programme is delivered online and a flipped learning approach is used. There is directed study to complete each week comprising of video clips, tasks, quizzes, reading, blogs, discussions and collaborative work.

Every second week, students will attend a 90-minute ‘huddle’ with their tutor(s) and peers. In 2022/23, huddles will take place on a Monday. Huddles will allow students to engage in discussion, collaborative work, peer instruction, presentations, Q+A, debates, problem solving and quizzes. We will invite former and current college learners to engage with students. The programme takes an active stance to incorporate baseline lecturer digital capabilities.

Students will be encouraged to work collaboratively with their peers from their own college and other colleges (particularly in their own subject or cognate area). Indeed, they will be placed in ‘home teams’ of 4-5 students for this purpose.

Students following the extended (21 months) route have less work to complete on a weekly basis. 


There are no traditional essays on this programme; instead, an authentic assessment approach is employed. Students will be able to negotiate the exact format and requirements of assessment tasks.

Module 1 is assessed by a case study constructed as a series of ‘patches’ over the duration of the module.

Module 2 is assessed by a digital artefact (at level 9) or a presentation of the student’s enquiry at a showcase event (at level 11), accompanied by a written reflection.

Module 3 is assessed by a portfolio of evidence presented and discussed at a professional viva. 

There will be significant opportunities for formative, peer and self-assessment. 

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Entry requirements

The University is committed to widening accessing and takes a contextual approach to its admissions decisions.  All applicants must be employed in a Scottish college and have the support of their employer (including access to a GTCS registered mentor) to undertake this programme. Applicants need to have a minimum of 120 hours teaching practice over the duration of the programme.

Entry to the Graduate Certificate (level 9)
  • a relevant Higher National Diploma at SCQF level 8 (or equivalent) or Higher National Certificate at SCQF level 7* (or equivalent) when this is the highest level qualification available in a particular subject area
  • in certain subject areas, other qualifications (e.g. City & Guilds), which are of an equivalent standard to those listed will be accepted
  • other relevant education, industry and professional experience will be taken into account

*Where an HNC or SCQF level 7 award is the highest available in that subject area, applicants are strongly advised to obtain the level 8 unit ‘Teaching in Colleges today’ via the College Development Network (or equivalent). However, relevant education, teaching and industry experience will be considered.

Entry into the Postgraduate Certificate (level 11):

A relevant degree (at SCQF level 9 or 10) from an institution in the UK or a degree of an equivalent standard from a recognised institution outside of the UK.

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Fees & funding

A single programme fee is charged regardless of whether the student undertakes the standard (9 month) or extended (21 month) route.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland


Additional costs

Students may wish to purchase their own hard copy of some reading material used on the programme (approximately £60). However, all materials will be provided electronically.

Funding opportunities

Strathclyde Alumni Scholarship: Postgraduate Taught

We're delighted to offer our Strathclyde graduates a 15% tuition fee discount on the Postgraduate Certificate in Leading Learning & Transformative Practice in Colleges (with TQFE) programme. Find out more about the Strathclyde Alumni Scholarship.

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On completion of the programme, students will be able to apply for registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (subject to meeting their registration criteria). The Graduate Certificate is subject to University approval.

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Start date: Aug 2023

Leading Learning & Transformative Practice in Colleges (standard)

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Start date: Aug 2023

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Leading Learning & Transformative Practice in Colleges (extended)

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Leading Learning & Transformative Practice in Colleges (standard)

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Leading Learning & Transformative Practice in Colleges (extended)

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Contact us

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