The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

22 Aug 2016

From talk to action

Ellen Doherty, Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning

Ellen DohertyIt is hard to believe that it has been a month since I took up my post of Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning here at GTCS. It is also hard to believe that the summer is all but over and that schools are returning.

Time has passed quickly, partly because I have been learning about the job and all of its dimensions but also because of the very busy, challenging and exciting educational agenda that has come into play. This is an agenda that I believe GTCS can help shape and inform to support not only its registrants but the educational outcomes for young people across Scotland.

So what has it been like as the new Director apart from being busy? A key part has been learning – learning about the Education Team whom I now lead; learning about the present and future challenges offered to the registration team; learning about the student placement system and probation allocation; learning about the national education agenda and how it impacts on the work of GTCS. And learning about how, as an organisation, we can help registrants navigate their way through the complex policy web to allow them to concentrate on their professional learning needs and meeting the needs of the young people with whom they work every day.

It would be so easy to get lost in the cut and thrush of things, so I constantly remind myself – think  back to your roots as an English teacher, remember the children who brought you in and the colleagues you have worked with. What is it like for them? What could be better? How can GTCS support them to feel good about education and learning?

In an attempt to give focus to the work of the Education Team we have spent the last few weeks shaping our thinking. This has resulted in us developing our ‘Team Vision’. It is one we feel proud about.

As ever, it is easy to write the words but as a team we are keen to move from talk to action, from policy to practice. This has meant engaging with a range of parties and policy makers. Two key moments to date have been meeting with the Cabinet Secretary, John Swinney, and meeting with a range of Deans from the various initial teacher education institutions. These meetings were by no means accidental, quite the opposite. In meeting the Cabinet Secretary there was an opportunity to share thinking and discuss a range of issues: routes into teaching and the accreditation of new, innovative and creative initial teacher education programmes while maintaining quality; the potential benefits of college registration for both lecturers and schools; the forthcoming refreshing of the Professional Standards; and the impact of Professional Update. Discussion with the university Deans has allowed us to examine what initial teacher education programmes must cover in order to meet the needs of 21st century learners.

So it has been, to say the least, an ‘interesting’ beginning and trust me there is so much more to come. I would encourage you to watch this space!

Tags: GTCS