The 2006 UK Professional Standards Framework (UK PSF) for teaching and supporting learning in Higher Education was developed in response to the UK Government's 2003 White Paper, The Future of Higher Education, by the Higher Education Academy on behalf of Universities UK (UUK), the Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP), Guild HE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.
The UK PSF uses a descriptor-based approach to professional standards. It has three standard descriptors each of which is applicable to a number of staff roles and to the different career stages of those engaged in teaching and supporting learning. The standard descriptors are underpinned by areas of professional activity, core knowledge and professional values which map to the Higher Education Academy's Accreditation scheme.
The framework provides a reference point for HEIs, HEIs' professional development programmes (e.g. PGCHE or PGCAP) and individuals as well as supporting ongoing development within any one standard descriptor.
At the heart of this framework is acknowledgement of the distinctive nature of teaching in HE, respect for the autonomy of HEIs, and recognition of the sector's understanding of quality enhancement for improving student learning. The framework recognises that the scholarly nature of subject inquiry and knowledge creation, and a scholarly approach to pedagogy, combine to represent a unique feature of support for student learning in higher education institutions.