Last Updated: 05 January, 2018

1.0     IntroductionARTD Staff Leadership School

In June 2007 the Army Recruiting and Training Division Staff Leadership School (ASLS) was opened with a remit to be dedicated to instructor training and instructional excellence, through the concepts of evidence- and values-based learning.

ASLS was born out of the recommendations following the Deepcut Review and through reports (Daily Hansard, 2006) by the Army’s Directorate of Operational Capability, House of Commons Defence Committee and the Adult Learning Inspectorate, and as part of the Ministry of Defence’s continuing drive to improve its standard of care towards its recruits and trainees. However, it has grown to become an elite teacher training and leadership college.

Other improvements that occurred during the same time period included:

  • A revised Supervisory Care Policy that mandated that all Commanding Officers have a Supervisory Care Directive (MOD, 2006) underpinned by a Commander’s Risk Assessment; and
  • An improved training framework for instructors which, since October 2007, has been accredited to meet the National Standard required of those delivering work based training in the Learning and Skills Sector.

The ASLS delivers ‘Train the Trainer’ training, predominantly for soldiers, under the ‘franchise’ of the Tri-Service Defence Centre of Training Support. It is responsible for ensuring that all training and supervisory staff of every rank – from Lance Corporal through to Brigadier – can deliver world class quality training and support to recruits (phase 1) and trainees (phase 2 and 3). As such, the ASLS is in charge of training the Army’s trainers, from Corporal section commanders and trade instructors to Commanding Officers, as well as administrative and support staff.

In 2013, ASLS implemented internet functionality to support a blended approach to learning and development provision. The project deliverable was the first of its kind across the Army and supports the modern learner and agile trainer in facilitating effective learning solutions.

2.0     Training Hierarchy

The British Army’s Staff Leadership School forms an integral component of the Army Recruiting and Training Division (ARTD). ARTD is commanded by a Major General (OF-7) who is located in Upavon. The School, commonly referred to as the ARTD Staff Leadership School (ASLS), is located within the Army Training Centre Pirbright (ATC(P)), near Woking in Surrey and is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel (OF-4).

2.1     Key Personalities

Key personalities at the ASLS include:

  • Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel (OF-4)
  • Second in Command, Major (OF-3)
  • Chief Instructor, Major (OF-3)
  • Head of Training Delivery, Major (OF-3), whose role encompasses:
    • Responsible for the delivery of leadership and instructor development programmes for all personnel delivering training to Army recruits.
    • Responsible for the utilisation of a systematic approach to training that included training analysis, design and development and delivery of leadership and instructor training solutions.
    • HR management including performance management; appraisal processes, management of recruitment and selection, discipline procedures.
    • Organisational Security and Business Continuity
    • Management of Risk
    • Management of Continuous Improvement
    • Provision of Logistic Support and Resource Acquisition
    • Information Management including development and maintenance of internal and external websites and the development of electronic ways of working
    • Financial reporting and Business Case Processing.
  • Sergeant Major Instructor (SMI), WO1 (OR-9)

3.0     Governance

Governance of the ASLS is provided through an Independent Advisory Panel (IAP). IAPs are non-statutory bodies, whose members operate in a non-executive capacity.

The aim of IAPs is to provide an independent, non-statutory source of advice, challenge, encouragement and support to the training establishment in order to exchange information, provide feedback and assist in identifying possible areas for improvement.

IAPs will generally meet three times a year during term time (i.e. non-leave periods) or as the School Commander/Commanding Officer and Chairperson decides. IAPs will write an annual report to the School Commander/Commanding Officer, recording key issues raised and action taken.

4.0     Instructor Roles at ASLS

Although the ASLS sits within ARTD it has a mixture of instructional personnel including British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and civilians. Students also have an equally diverse background and rank range (from Lance Corporal to Brigadier). For example, the syndicate lecturer could be a Staff Sergeant from the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers whilst the students could include a Sergeant from the Royal Military Police, a RAF Flight Lieutenant and a Royal Navy Lieutenant.

Instructor roles at the ASLS include:

  • Teach, manage and administrate a Syndicate of up to 10 military and civilian students;
  • Deliver training as dictated by the course programme in accordance with ARTD policy in both a classroom (indoors) and field (outdoors) environment;
  • Deliver centralised presentations to an audience of up to 120 students;
  • Champion and role model Values Based Leadership (VBL) within ARTD;
  • Supervise and grade student performance and coach student’s on how to improve as instructors and leaders;
  • Assist and monitor the compilation of the student accreditation portfolio; and
  • Assist other units (in ARTD and the Field Army) in the development of a VBL and coaching culture.

Instructors, both teachers and students, are expected to embrace the concepts of coaching and mentoring which are now fundamental elements of the training delivered by the ASLS.

Further, instructors are expected to have a genuine commitment to change the culture of the Army’s instructional base. This is so that Corporal section commanders, and above, take a genuine professional pride in assisting their trainees (either officers or soldiers) through their training and helping them to achieve. As such, ASLS instructors should focus on visualising what success would/should look and feel like.

This is a sample lesson: ASLS Student Lessons – Basic Comms Models (2007), admittedly outdated but is presented for insight/interest only.

5.0     Training Establishments

The ASLS provides training for personnel (known as Army Skills Instructors) who provide instruction at the following types of training establishment:

  • Individual Training:
    • Phase 1: initial or basic training.
    • Phase 2: special to arms or employment training.
    • Phase 3: continuation, educational or promotion training; examples include:
      • Skill at Arms Instructor (i.e. weapon handling).
      • Command, Leadership and Management (CLM) Part 1 Instructor.
  • Collective Training:
    • Pre-Deployment Training (UK military personnel).
    • NATO, UN and other training (foreign military personnel).

It should be noted that the role of Army Skills Instructor is not a full-time career in the military. It is a generic term for military personnel who undertake training duties.

5.1     Other Ranks as Instructors

Other Ranks instructors (at all ranks) train officers and/or other ranks, whether in specific military subjects such as weapon handling and drill, or more general topics such as driving or engineering. The higher the rank of the individual, the more responsibility they are likely to have in terms of class size, lesson planning, course design and training and development.

An example of how military personnel may be selected for training roles can be found here.

5.2     Officers as Instructors

Officers are responsible for training the officers and other ranks under their command. At different stages of an officer’s career they may teach different topics, whether specific military subjects such as tactics or general topics such as communication skills. The higher the rank of the individual, the greater their responsibility (e.g. initially training delivery, progressing to policy and strategy development).

6.0     Army Instructional Capability Programme of Courses

The Army Instructional Capability (AIC) programme of courses encompasses three core courses:

  • The Army Instructional Techniques (AIT) course, from October 2014;
  • The Army Instructor Supervisor (AIS) course, since 2012; and
  • The Army Instructional Leader (AIL) course, since 2012.

More information on the AIC programme of courses can be found here.

The reader is also directed to the Defence Trainer Capability page for up to date information on the new range of Defence courses.

7.0     Accreditation

The ASLS was re-approved in 2013 as an Institute for Leadership and Management (ILM) centre and now holds permanent ILM status (see Table 2 below).

8.0     Academic Involvement and Research

The ASLS also utilises the expertise of academic institutions to conduct reviews of current processes, research and studies on new methods and systems of instruction. Examples include:

  • In 2010, Professor Lew Hardy (research professor at the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences) and Dr Calum Arthur (see next point) conducted research to evaluate the effectiveness of leadership and coaching training at the ASLS.
  • Dr Calum Arthur (Lecturer Sport Psychology and Co-Director Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance) has led two large scale research projects with the military which included evaluating the effectiveness of leadership and coaching behaviours in Phase 1 Soldier Training and developing the Master Coach Course for the ASLS.

9.0     ARTD Conferences

  • The Army Recruitment and Training Division’s Leadership in Training Seminar, hosted at the Army Training Centre Pirbright.
  • The Defence Centre of Training and Support symposium on Training Support and Delivery, hosted at RAF Halton.
  • The British Army’s Infantry Battle School’s Cross Brief, Brecon, occurs every two years.
  • The British Army’s Initial Training Group annual conference, hosted at the Army Training Centre Pirbright.
  • The Army Staff Leadership School Commanding Officer’s Conference.

10.0   What do Military Instructors Gain?

10.1   Competencies

Candidates will need to meet the competencies specified in the Army Instructor Functional Competency Framework (Groups 1-5 & 8 – Practitioner, Group 7 – Awareness). Examples of which are highlighted in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Example competencies
Statement Description
Understanding the role of the Instructor. Performs the leadership role of the instructor within the required boundaries.
Planning & preparing learning & development (L&D) for the training. Completes the planning & preparation processes required to deliver effective L&D in the training environment.
Planning & preparing learning & development (L&D) for the work environment. Completes the planning & preparation processes required to facilitate effective individual L&D in the work environment.
Facilitating L&D in the training environment. Creates & maintains a training environment which enables the trainees to acquire/develop the necessary vocational skills and knowledge.
Facilitating individual L&D in the work environment. Creates & maintains a work environment which enables subordinates to acquire/develop the necessary occupational skills, attitude and knowledge.
Maintaining & improving quality standards. Ensures progression for the instructor and continuous improvement for the organisation through reflective practice, evaluation and continuing professional development.
Employing functional skills. Employs the functional skills necessary to perform effectively as an instructor.

10.2   Qualifications

  • A recognised military instructional qualification; and
  • A recognised, free and accredited, civilian teaching qualification applicable to their military qualification.
Table 2: Teaching qualifications
Army Title Qualification Title (New) (Note 1) Qualification Title (Old) ILM Qualification
Army Instructional Techniques (AIT) Level 3 Award in Education and Training (Note 2) Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTTLS, Level 3) Unsure
Army Instructor Supervisor (AIS) Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (CTTLS, Level 4) Unsure
Army Instructional Leader (AIL) Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTTLS, Level 5) Level 7 Certificate in Executive Coaching & Mentoring
TAQA suite of programmes (Note 3) A1 and A2 assessor awards, and V1 internal verifier award (also D32, D33 & D34) Unsure


  1. City and Guilds Qualifications and Apprenticeships (2014), also view the Institute for Learning website @
  2. Following Lord Lingfield’s Independent Review of Professionalism in Further Education, published in 2012, teachers and trainers are now no longer required to work towards qualified teaching and learning status. This deregulated context has provided an opportunity to develop new approaches to professionalism and as a result new professional standards were published in 2014 (ETF, 2014). The 2014 professional standards define the professional requirements of teachers, trainers and tutors of post 16 learners, and underpin good teaching practice in the sector.  This includes describing the skills, knowledge, values and attributes of those individuals.
  3. The TAQA (Training, Assessment and Quality Assurance Practitioners) suite of programmes replaces a swathe of assessing and verifying courses (Jade Solutions, 2014).

Some military instructors may also have the opportunity to gain other civilian qualifications, such as the:

  • Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE); or
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).

These qualifications are post compulsory education and training for those individuals who aspire to work as qualified teachers.

11.0   ARTD Magazine

In January 2013 the first issue of Trainer, a three-times-a-year magazine for the ARTD, was published by Pages Creative, who specialise in digital-only publications. The magazine deals with major training issues and developments across the division, which is the biggest training organisation in Europe.

Trainer replaced the previous ARTD publication known as Start, stylised ‘stART’, which was published in a newspaper format.

12.0   Useful Documents

  • ARTD (2009) A Guide to Leadership in the ARTD. Booklet issued to all permanent training staff in the Army Recruiting & Training Division. AC: 71928.
  • Director General Leadership (2014) Developing Leaders: A British Army Guide. Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. AC: 64547.
  • Army Instructor Functional Competency Framework.
  • The Code of Practice for Instructors (1998) by ATRA (Army Training & Recruitment Agency), the predecessor of the ARTD.

13.0   References

City and Guilds (2014) Teaching Qualifications. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 05 September, 2014].

ETF (The Education and Training Foundation) (2014) Professional Standards Review. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 05 September, 2014].

Daily Hansard. (2006) Army Training and Recruiting Agency Staff Leadership School. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 05 September, 2014].

Jade Solutions (2014) TAQA – Training, Assessment and Quality Assurance Practitioners. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed 05 September, 2014].

MOD (Ministry of Defence) (2006) The Government’s Response to the Deepcut Review. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 05 September, 2014].


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