Teaching Development Framework (TDF)

Introduction to the scheme

In an increasingly competitive Higher Education sector, teaching capabilities and qualifications are becoming as important as research profiles and outputs. The University of Plymouth takes teaching quality and enhancement very seriously. All staff are encouraged to develop their professionalism and gain nationally-recognised qualifications and/or recognition appropriate to their level of experience and expertise.

The University's Teaching Development Framework (TDF) was accredited by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in 2012 and aligns with the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). It is designed to help experienced staff gain recognition for their achievements in teaching and/or supporting learning within a Higher Education context. The TDF is linked to the University’s wider continuing professional development (CPD) portfolio. Staff can gain Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy at one of four categories: Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow or Principal Fellow.


The TDF scheme is accessible to staff who have a responsibility for teaching and/or supporting learning in a Higher Education context. Participants must have a formal contract of employment with the University.

For recently appointed staff, whose contracts specify the TDF route, the University's policy for teaching qualifications and recognition sets out relevant requirements. In summary, early career and new academic staff with at least three years’ full-time experience of working in a higher education context can access the TDF scheme. Colleagues with less experience are required to complete one or more modules from Plymouth's Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) and will also gain fellowship of the HEA through this Masters level taught provision.

Longer-serving staff, who do not have a contractual obligation regarding teaching recognition/qualification, may access the TDF scheme provided they can demonstrate sufficient experience of working in a higher education context (equivalent of at least one year full-time for Associate Fellowship; equivalent of at least three years’ full-time for all other categories).  

First steps

The first step is to attend a guidance workshop to find out about the UKPSF and the TDF process. You will gain insight into what is expected and begin writing your application. These workshops take place on a regular basis throughout the year. 

For dates and to book a place, have a look at our list of workshops

Once you have started the process, you can also come to one of our drop-in sessions and speak to an Educational Developer about your application.  For 2018–19, the drop-in will be available most Wednesdays 14:00–16:00 during term time.

As detailed at the guidance workshop, feedback on one substantive draft application is also available from the TDF team, in order to facilitate the application process.

For any further information, please see our contact details below.

To contact the TDF Team

Teaching Development Framework, First Floor, 3 Endsleigh Place, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA