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The Professional Standards Framework. Raj Dhimar. Session outline. Explore your interests and expectations of the PSF Provide opportunities for you to interpret and engage with the PSF Understand the dimensions and descriptors

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The Professional Standards Framework

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The Professional Standards Framework

  • Raj Dhimar

Session outline

  • Explore your interests and expectations of the PSF

  • Provide opportunities for you to interpret and engage with the PSF

  • Understand the dimensions and descriptors

  • Consider the PSF’s potential uses and implications to further education providers

Mission with Higher Education providers

To use our expertise and resources to support individual staff, disciplinary and interdisciplinary teams and higher education communities and institutions in general to enhance the quality and impact of learning and teaching

Higher Education Academy

HEA work

Teaching Quality - external drivers (UK) - historic and current

“Qualifications” for higher education lecturers?

  • Dearing (1997)- enhancing professionalism of HE teaching, the future of higher education white paper (2003), students and the heart of the system white paper (2011)

  • Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN)

  • Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education - membership organisation

  • The Higher Education Academy- subscription organisation

  • Higher Education Statistics Agency - staff profiles

Fostering quality teaching

Henard, F. and Roseveare, D. (2012)

Future FE Guild

  • It will focus on three key areas:

  • Professional Standards and Qualifications for teachers, trainers and tutors, including ITT and Accredited CPD

  • Teaching, learning and assessment, developing practitioner expertise, esp around capacity building for Leadership

  • Research and knowledge sharing roles

  • It won’t:

  • Take responsibility for the qualification system for learners

  • Duplicate the work of Ofqual of Ofsted

Pearson Think Tank (2013)

Teacher professionalism in further and higher education

Robson, J, (2006), Teacher Professionalism in Further and Higher Education: Challenges to culture and practice

Why are training and CPD important?

Professional Standards Framework

  • Many institutions use the PSF and seek external validation of their approaches to professional development against the framework. The HEA alone accredits over 400 provisions in over130 HE providers across the UK.

  • Not mandatory. There are other routes to accreditation too, which the HEA welcomes.

  • Has potential to be a key indicator of UK HE’s ongoing commitment to teaching, as well as giving confidence that minimum threshold standards have been met by academic staff.

  • PSF provides a set of descriptors, developed with the sector, against which institutions can benchmark their approaches to the professional development of staff. 

  • Sector-owned, managed by the HEA.

  • Offers universities and colleges criteria which support the initial and continuing professional development for staff who teach and support student learning.

  • Flexible framework that is adaptable to the needs of the individual and of the institution.


A framework for higher education providers to:

  • Align initial and continuing professional development provision for all staff involved in teaching and supporting learning in higher education

  • Inform progression, promotion and reward criteria

    Comprises :

  • Dimensions (Areas of Activity, Core Knowledge and Professional Values)

  • Descriptors (D1, 2, 3 and 4) equivalent to Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow and Principal Fellow

The Areas of Activity

Design & plan (A1)






& Develop (A5)

Teach/support learning (A2)

Assess & feedback (A3)

Uses of the Framework (1)

Uses of the Framework (2)

Uses of the Framework (3)

What does the teaching community think?

HEA , (2011), PSF consultation, recognising excellence in teaching and learning

Professional Standards Framework consultation


Explore the PSF.

- How do you interpret it?

- What are the distinctions between the Descriptors?

- How might you interpret the Dimensions in your own practice?

What challenges/issues do you come up against in your interpretation of the Framework?

To find out more


  • BIS, (2011), Students at the heart of the system,

  • Dearing (1997), Higher Education in the Learning Society, Report of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, URL:

  • DFES, (2003), The future of Higher Education

  • Shankar, S, (2013), Pocketwatch, the FE Guild moves ever nearer, The Pearson Think Tank, URL:

  • Robson, J, (2006), Teacher Professionalism in Further and Higher Education: Challenges to culture and practice, routeledge

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