The College of West Anglia

‘Master Teacher’ Joyce First in the Country to Achieve New Status

College lecturer and course director, Joyce Chen, became one of only 21 teachers across the country to achieve Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) in November for showing advanced professionalism and mastery of the profession.


The brand-new status was launched in 2017 has been hailed as a ‘landmark moment’ for the sector by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), the body who confers the qualification. ATS has been created by the ETF to provide a significant progression from the Qualified Teaching Learning and Skills (QTLS) with the aim of “achieving the vision for a world-class technical and vocational education system”.


To achieve ATS, Joyce has had to build evidence over the course of one academic year, which Joyce notes was a difficult and rigorous process. She said:


Joyce said: “It has been a tough journey undertaking this status but with support from the college, my external mentor, colleagues, managers and my family, I managed to complete the whole journey and my portfolio.”


Of the initial 50 teachers who began on the first cohort, Joyce was only one of the twenty-one who achieved the status.


The new status recognises individuals advanced teachers and trainers with significant experience, who can demonstrate, at a high level, mastery in teaching, an exemplary level of subject knowledge in their area of professional expertise and the effectiveness in working collaboratively to improve teaching standards amongst their peers and within their organisation or network.


Joyce said: “The qualification has given me a wider perspective of my role, it is not only about the impact I can have upon teaching, but it’s about what I can bring to my learners, my teams and the wider organisation.”


“Every single member of staff plays a vital role in moving the college forward. Everybody has a part to play in delivery top-quality teaching for our learners. Our learners are our future and it is our job to make sure they are equipped with as many tools as possible to succeed.”


Joyce Chen with Principal, David Pomfret, at the college staff awards.



Joyce has previously worked as an English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) lecturer and course director at the college. She currently works as a lecturer and course director in the Learning Practice, which involves teaching initial teacher training programmes and supporting other teachers throughout the college.


On the 27th November, Joyce also received a special award of recognition at the college staff awards ceremony in recognition of her achieving Advanced Teacher Status.


College principal, David Pomfret, said: “Joyce has worked extremely hard to achieve ATS, and in doing so has not only demonstrated mastery of her profession, but her effectiveness in working collaboratively to improve teaching standards across the college. Joyce is one of the very first in the further education sector to achieve ATS and I hope that many more of our staff will join Joyce in achieving ATS in the years to come.”


The college have two other lecturers, Beata Babula and Heidi McWade, who are part of the second cohort and hope to follow in the footsteps of Joyce to achieve ATS and maintain the high standards of teaching at the college.  Joyce and the college are supporting both teachers in their ATS journey.


ETF chief executive David Russell said: This is a landmark moment for the further education and training profession. Excellence is found all around the world in very diverse education systems. But one thing that they have in common is a respect and recognition for the Master Teacher, who has developed deep expertise in both the theory and practice of teaching.  In our context of FE, that expertise must encompass dual professionalism – mastery both of subject or occupational field and of teaching.”