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CPD Route

The FLAIR CPD scheme is a non-taught route. It is for experienced colleagues seeking to gain Fellowship of Advance HE in recognition of the work they do in teaching and supporting learning.  

As an accredited institution the University of Reading is empowered to award three categories of Fellowship underpinned by the Professional Standards Framework (PSF): Associate Fellowship (D1), Fellowship (D2) or Senior Fellowship (D3). We offer two routes through the CPD scheme; the written route covers D1-D3 applications while D3 applicants can also apply via the Oral option.  

Hear Professor Elizabeth McCrum talking about the scheme.


Fellowships awarded
The CPD scheme has successfully supported many colleagues through the application process. As of Sept 2023 there have been a total of 456  Fellowships awarded across all categories. As a result the University of Reading now has a high proportion of teaching colleagues with the recognition of excellence. 

Ensuring that colleagues have the option to apply for Fellowship through the CPD scheme is an important factor in realising the University's commitment to quality teaching and learning. The scheme provides the opportunity for colleagues to gain recognition for their good practice, and Fellowship is a demonstration that our programmes continue to underpin a rewarding student experience.  


The scheme contributes directly to three of the four strategic pillars identified in the University strategic plan 2020-2026. The scheme is designed to empower colleagues in a number of ways:

Principle 1: Community

  • Become part of an active community, working collaboratively to develop and share good practice within the University.

Principle 2: Excellence

  • Thoughtfully design and deliver effective teaching, underpinned by data and scholarship.
  • Demonstrate that an enhanced student learning experience is at the heart of what you do.

Principle 3: Impact beyond our campus

  • Clearly articulate impact supported by evidence. The scheme itself provides international recognition of good practice.

How the scheme works

Unlike the APP which is comprised of taught components, the CPD scheme is aimed at colleagues who already have the foundational knowledge and experience necessary to submit a successful independent application. 


Being an accredited scheme means the cost of individual application is covered by the University. One of the benefits of institutional accreditation is that we are able to structure the scheme so that it is operated by peers within the University; sharing expertise and knowledge across the institution, creating the high tide that raises all ships. We have also made a number of resources available, including the opportunity to access feedback, one to one meetings, and a comprehensive catalogue of guidance material. 


While we support you in the process of articulating your experience in relation to the PSF and the criteria at your chosen category of Fellowship, it is important to remember that the application is written independently.

Who can apply?

All colleagues with experience of teaching and/or supporting learning in Higher Education can apply for professional recognition through the scheme at D1-D3. This is not limited to those in traditional academic roles and we welcome applications across the professional services whose roles include a teaching component. It also includes colleagues who already have Fellowship and want to apply for a further category of Fellowship in recognition of experience gained since the initial award. Principal Fellowship (D4) is not covered by accredited institutions. Candidates thinking about D4 Fellowship applications will find information on our resources page.

The scheme is for experienced staff, so how much experience do I need?

To meet the assessment requirements (the relevant Descriptors of the PSF) applicants need to demonstrate sustained impact from teaching and learning within a Higher Education context. It is, therefore, expected that applicants will usually have been teaching or supporting learning in HE for a period of three years or more. However, it is the applicant's impact that is most important, not simply the period of service or number of contact hours with learners.  

Advance HE has a Level Selector Tool designed to help colleagues identify the right category of Fellowship for their experience. It is worth taking a look at this on the Advance HE pages. It is important to remember that Categories are not Levels. They are not sequential and you can apply for any category that you choose, whenever you are ready.  


There are a number of submission windows throughout the year which you can find on the key dates page. 


Once you submit an application it will be considered by the next scheduled panel. Applications are assigned to a pair of reviewers who independently assess the application. This is followed by a face-to-face panel, arranged at a convenient time for reviewers 2-4 weeks after the submission deadline. Decisions sometimes require negotiation which can necessitate a second panel, or a third review. These decisions are then aligned to feedback from an external moderator. We then conclude by writing comprehensive feedback; both for successful applications and referrals. This is something that we consider to be valuable for the development of our colleagues and as an accredited institution we are committed to resourcing.


The CPD scheme and the way that it works to support University strategic aims is recognised across the institution: 


Top tips: successful applicants  

As part of our evaluation process we collect suggestions from successful applicants. Below you will find a selection of “top tips” as identified by people who have navigated the process: 

  • “Start attending CPD events as early as possible, give yourself at least a month to write the first draft, get every feedback possible from colleagues, mentors”  
  • “Utilise the support available early in the process, I procrastinated a lot as I felt overwhelmed and when I reached out for support through the feedback appointments that dissipated”  
  • “Utilise all the resources and feedback available (screencasts, support pack, feedback appointments etc), they were so helpful in getting me drafting my final application”  
  • “The experience of working towards the Senior Fellowship required patience, persistence, resourcefulness and an openness of mind towards seeing one's teaching activities and their effects, from radically different points of view - those of the effect of one's teaching on colleagues as well as students. This new perspective made me understand my teaching efforts and initiatives more deeply and appreciate their wider, pedagogic implications”  
  • “The key is to never give up! Use evidence-based methods to demonstrate your experience and impact on students' learning” 

What next?  

All the information you will need can be found within these webpages. However, to get started we recommend you visit a couple of places first:
  • Support for applicants: Contains support material and resources for each category of Fellowship.

  • Step by step guide: Check the guide for next steps throughout the process from getting started all the way to submission.

CPD Scheme contacts  

The CPD scheme is maintained and operated by a core team of two. Please feel free to contact us for information and feedback bookings as appropriate:  

Aaron CooperAaron Cooper: Aaron is the CPD Scheme Manager and accreditor for Advance HE. Aaron is responsible for chairing the review panels and constructing the final feedback forms. Aaron will also conduct draft feedback sessions and offer some insight on how to address the criteria and align with the PSF.

Lisa MundayLisa Munday: Lisa is the CPD Scheme Support and Development Administrator. Lisa will be your point of contact for enrolments and updates.

Note on the new PSF
Advance HE released the PSF in January 2023. This replaced the UKPSF which launched in 2011 and has been in use since. The new Framework has been the subject of a lengthy consultation process with the sector and Advance HE are staggering the transition for direct applications; accepting both the UKPSF and PSF for a period of time. The University of Reading, along with other accredited institutions have a period of two years to transition. From Jan 2025 we will no longer be able to upload results from any submissions made against the UKPSF. 

Our final UKPSF panels will take place in November 2024 and the submission deadline for this panel is 06 November 2024. The November panel will be the first opportunity to submit an application against the PSF 2023. As a result, November will be the only mixed framework panel. 

We will shortly be announcing a series of introductory sessions to support reviewers and applicants with the transition to the new framework.