The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Covid-19 – Update and FAQs

18 March 2020

Updated 24 March 2020

GTC Scotland has been closely monitoring the development of Covid-19 and the expert scientific and medical advice provided by Scottish Government.

We want to reassure all registrants and stakeholders about the steps we have been taking to ensure we stay open for business as usual.

As an organisation we are well prepared to cope and, following the latest advice from Scottish Government, we have invoked our Business Continuity Plan. All GTC Scotland employees will work from home until further notice.

We owe a debt of gratitude for the commitment and professionalism of teaching professionals across Scotland who are doing all they can to ensure the delivery of high quality education to all children, young people and students in these most challenging times. Education in Scotland often comes under attack but the reaction of schools, colleges and education professionals to this crisis clearly demonstrates the moral imperative they hold in doing all they can for their students and Scottish society more generally.

GTC Scotland remains open for business. We aim to provide, as far as possible, a business as usual service to all registrants for as long as required.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQs were published on 24 March 2020 and will be updated regularly in response to enquiries and as we develop processes.

Our telephone lines are open as normal: Mon-Thu 08:30-17:00 and Fri 08:30-16:00 Contact us

General enquiries: 0131 314 6000 or gtcs@gtcs.org.uk
Media enquiries: communciations@gtcs.org.uk
Fitness to Teach enquiries: regulation@gtcs.org.uk
Registration enquiries: registration@gtcs.org.uk
Early Careers enquiries for students: sps@gtcs.org.uk
Early Careers enquiries for probationers: pld@gtcs.org.uk
Professional Update enquiries: professional.update@gtcs.org.uk
Initial Teacher Education enquiries: charlaine.simpson@gtcs.org.uk
If you have a technical issue, please contact: techsupport@gtcs.org.uk
Where possible, please send any post electronically to: reception@gtcs.org.uk Please ensure that you make it clear in the subject heading of your email which department it is for.

 

We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding at this challenging time.

Can I still apply for registration?

Yes, our registration processes are operating as usual. You will find full details about how to apply and submit your application under Registration on this website, or email registration@gtcs.org.uk

How will the college lecturer registration programme be impacted?

The work of the College Lecturer Registration Steering Group and the two sub-groups will continue. Much of this work will be done via video and phone conference and will continue to move forward this important initiative.

I am due to attend a Fitness to Teach hearing – should I attend?

No. Due to the unprecedented circumstances of Covid-19 and, following advice issued on Monday 16 March 2020 by the United Kingdom and Scottish Governments, GTC Scotland has taken the decision to require its employees to work from home until further notice.

As we will not have access to the necessary facilities to hold full Fitness to Teach hearings, GTC Scotland has taken the decision to postpone all scheduled full Fitness to Teach hearings. If you have been asked to attend a hearing, you are no longer required to attend, and you will be contacted with new dates to attend once hearings are rescheduled.

If you are a member of the public or a journalist wishing to attend a Fitness to Teach hearing, please note that all scheduled hearings have been postponed until further notice.

If my Fitness to Teach Hearing has been postponed, how long will it be postponed for?

As things currently stand, we are unfortunately not able to advise when hearings will be rescheduled. We are carefully monitoring and assessing all government advice in relation to Covid-19 and therefore this will affect any decisions made in relation to when GTC Scotland recommences hearings. We will continue to provide updates, where possible, on the GTC Scotland website. Once hearings can be rescheduled, we will contact those who are required to attend with new dates.

How do I get in touch with GTC Scotland about my case?

All employees are working from home and are fully contactable. If you would like to discuss your case with a member of the Regulation and Legal Services (RALS) Team please email regulation@gtcs.org.uk

I currently have a Fitness to Teach case ongoing, what will happen to it?

If your case is at the investigation stage, the Investigating Officer assigned to your case will continue to carry out investigations and progress your case, where possible. As part of our investigations we rely on third parties providing us with information. In light of the unprecedented circumstances, third parties may not be in a position to provide GTC Scotland with information in accordance with the normal timescales. Regulation Officers will however continue to keep you updated about the progress of your case.

If due to the current circumstances you or your representative are unable to provide responses to requests for comment or information, please let the Investigating Officer know. We understand that this may be a very difficult time for you, and we would urge you to seek support from your representative or line manager. If you would like to speak to the Investigating Officer who is dealing with your case, please email

If your case has been referred for a hearing, the Servicing Officer will continue, where possible, to manage your case through the process up to the point of scheduling a hearing.

I have been asked to provide a response as part of a fitness to teach investigation within a certain time period but this is not enough time – what should I do?

In the first instance, we strongly encourage anyone subject to a fitness to teach investigation to appoint a representative as they will be able to provide you with help and support. However, we fully understand that you may not be able to access support in the same way at this time. As a result, if either you/your representative cannot comply with a deadline please contact us at and we will be happy to provide an extension of time to allow you sufficient time to seek support and provide information to us.

I want to raise a referral, are you still accepting/processing them at this time?

Yes, we are well prepared to operate as usual when it comes to receiving and assessing new referrals and able to accept and process new referrals in the usual way. Whether you are an employer wishing to make a referral or a member of the public, please visit where you will find information about how to make a referral and a link to the online referral form.

Is the National Probationer Event 2020 going ahead?

The National Probationer event scheduled for June 2020 has been cancelled. We are working to find alternative ways to celebrate the hard work of all probationers throughout Scotland. Please keep an eye on our website and e-newsletters for more information on this.

Is the GTCS and Education Scotland Leadership Awards ceremony (Standard for Headship) going ahead?

The GTCS and Education Scotland Leadership Awards event has been cancelled. We are working to find alternative ways to celebrate the hard work of those achieving Standard for Headship through Into Headship, and those who have achieved In Headship. All those who have completed the course will graduate and receive their certificates via the post.

My school/ learning community has been nominated for this year’s Excellence in Professional Learning Awards (EPLA) – are they going ahead?

Considering the ongoing developing situation with Covid-19, GTC Scotland has taken the decision to cancel the Excellence in Professional Learning Awards event due to be held in September 2020. GTC Scotland works in close partnership with colleagues across Scotland in order to carry out the EPLA panels, and we have decided that we must prioritise the health and wellbeing of all our partners.

Schools and learning communities involved have been updated with this decision. Once circumstances improve, we will be in a better position to identify how we take those nominations forward to future awarding panels; further communication will be issued in due course.

I am due to be an Advocate on EPLA panels – what do I need to do?

If you have been invited to attend panels as a Professional Learning Advocate, you can now free up those dates in your diaries as the panels have been cancelled. Once GTC Scotland has identified how we will progress with the Awards, we will be back in touch with you to seek your support with any future panels.

I need guidance on Professional Update, who do I contact?

GTC Scotland remains open for business as usual with staff working from home. If you have a PU enquiry the best way to contact our team is to email professional.update@gtcs.org.uk. Please quote your six-digit registration number and provide a telephone number so that we can provide a call back service as required.

My Professional Update sign-off is due by 1 July 2020 but some of my planned professional learning activities have been postponed due to current COVID-19 measures in place. What should I do?

We are extending the deadline for PU sign-off until 31 October 2020 for the 2019-20 cohort. The period from 1 July until 31 October is usually made available in extenuating circumstances where completion is likely to prove challenging. There is likely to be some challenge for all within this cohort to complete within the usual timescale, so this arrangement now applies to all who are due for PU sign-off this session. GTC Scotland will review this arrangement as COVID-19 measures continue to evolve.

Does this mean that PU deferrals are no longer available?

If you are not currently working, or you are not working in a Scottish school (or within an organisation which has not had PU/PRD processes validated by GTC Scotland) and would like to request a deferral please contact professional.update@gtcs.org.uk.

Where can I find learning resources while working from home?

The following resources may be useful to promote collaboration for ongoing professional learning and ongoing PRD-type conversations.

I don’t work in a Scottish school and my PU sign-off is due this year. How will this impact me?

You can complete your PU sign-off by Direct Submission. Direct Submissions - Teachers working outwith Scotland or within Scotland but outwith a validated system This can be done at any point and the revised deadline of 31 October 2020 also applies to you. If you need further guidance please contact the PU Team at professional.update@gtcs.org.uk

I’m a supply teacher and I’m not currently attached to a school. How do I complete my PU when schools close?

The revised deadline of 31 October 2020 also applies to you. If you need further guidance please contact the PU Team at professional.update@gtcs.org.uk

Our local authority is due to undergo Professional Update Revalidation for PU and PRD. What will happen?

All panels for PU Revalidation have been postponed with a view to rescheduling from September 2020. Your GTC Scotland link officer will maintain contact to support you through the process. In the interim period, GTC Scotland will be exploring possible options for revalidation and collaboration through digital platforms.

We are likely to have staff changes with a new officer having lead role for PU next session. Who should I inform?

Please advise the PU team professional.update@gtcs.org.uk if there is likely to be a change of lead officer. We will provide individual support as required to new officers. GTC Scotland is also in the process of developing a PU Lead Officer handbook which will provide guidance for local authority officers.

What will happen with seminars for the PU Officer network?

The seminar planned for April 2020 is being rescheduled for September 2020. In the interim period, GTC Scotland will be exploring options for communication and collaboration through digital platforms. We will keep you updated through email and PU Officer Sharepoint.

What advice should I give to staff due for PU sign-off this session?

We are extending the deadline for PU sign-off until 31 October 2020 for the 2019-20 cohort. The period from 1 July until 31 October is usually made available in extenuating circumstances where completion is likely to prove challenging. There is likely to be some challenge for all within this cohort to complete within the usual timescale, so this arrangement now applies to all who are due for PU sign-off this session. GTC Scotland will review this arrangement as COVID-19 measures continue to evolve.

What about short-term supply staff? We normally support them through the process.

The deadline for sign off is extended to 31 October 2020 for all registrants within the cohort, including those not currently employed. Any supply staff concerned about PU should contact professional.update@gtcs.org.uk

I am signed up to a GTC Scotland Coaching course – what do I need to do?

In order to ensure the health and safety of colleagues and partners in relation to Covid-19, GTC Scotland has taken the decision to postpone all pending coaching sessions until further notice. Once circumstances improve, we will be in a better position to identify any future dates to hold these sessions.

Can I make an individual application for Professional Recognition?

GTC Scotland continues to welcome applications from teachers for the award of Professional Recognition. Panels will convene to consider applications received as soon as it is safe for groups to begin meeting again. The following link takes you to guidance and information to support your application: Making an individual application for Professional Recognition

Will planned Professional Recognition panels go ahead?

Please contact jacqueline.morley@gtcs.org.uk to discuss any aspects of the Professional Recognition process.

Can I make an application for Professional Recognition for a programme?

GTC Scotland is working as far as possible a ‘business as usual’ policy and welcomes applications from programme providers for Professional Recognition. The following link takes you to guidance and information to support applications: Accreditation of Programmes Leading to Professional Recognition. Please contact jacqueline.morley@gtcs.org.uk to discuss any aspects of the Professional Recognition process.

Can I make an application for a Professional Learning Award for Organisations?

GTC Scotland welcomes applications from programme providers for the Professional Learning Award for Organisations. The following link takes you to guidance and information to support applications Professional Learning Award for Organisations Guidance.

Please contact jacqueline.morley@gtcs.org.uk to discuss any aspects of the Professional Learning Award for Organisations.

Will planned ITE accreditation panels go ahead?

All planned ITE accreditation panels will continue as already agreed with individual ITE providers. This has included some changes to timelines and using digital communication channels where possible.

Can ITE providers still advertise programmes which are subject to re-accreditation panel events prior to the next academic session?

Programmes which are required to be re-accredited prior to the start of academic session 2020-21 should continue to recruit students. GTC Scotland will proceed in a digital format with the planned accreditations as agreed with ITE providers.

Will there be any impact on the timeline for the accreditation panel process?

New arrangements have been made with ITE providers for planned re-accreditations.

For any other question about accreditation of ITE programme or accreditation panels please contact charlaine.simpson@gtcs.org.uk.

Students

What happens now that my school placements have been cancelled? Will I still pass my course?

We understand that this has caused some anxiety among student teachers across Scotland. Please discuss your concerns with your student placement coordinator at your University as they will be able to provide more information on your course requirements and any steps that you need to take. More information can be found in the GTC Scotland/ITE institutions position statement. Coronavirus (Covid-19): advice on student placements

Student placement co-ordinators and universities

Now that our schools no longer have student placements, what happens with the system – will this be updated?

We have no plans to remove student placements from the system at this stage. The information already stored is important for the following academic session. We do, however, ask that no-one removes matched placements or offers from the system in the meantime.

Probationers starting August 2020

Will the Teacher Induction Scheme allocation process be affected in anyway if schools close before the summer?

No, the allocation process by GTC Scotland will go ahead as planned.

Current Probationers

What are the expectations around probation requirements such as, observations, supporter meetings?

We understand that there may be issues in completing some areas of the profile e.g. observations and supporter meetings. Local authorities will receive further guidance around this from GTC Scotland and we advise that if you have any major concerns to contact your probation manager. We appreciate probationers’ concerns and GTC Scotland will be as flexible as we can.

How will this affect the number of days required in order to finish probation?

We realise that school closures and self-isolation may impact on the number of days completed. In order to gain full registration at the end of the school session in June 2020, we are asking the following:

  • Teacher Induction Scheme

    Anyone currently on the Teacher Induction Scheme will be required to have completed a minimum of 140 satisfactory days at school. We would expect that any days missed from the usual expectation of 190 days, will, if possible, provide probationers with an opportunity to engage in some professional learning activities.

  • Flexible Route

    At the end of this school session, GTC Scotland will accept a minimum of 200 satisfactory days in the classroom with any missed days from the usual expectation of 270 days possibly providing an opportunity to engage in professional learning activities.

Does work from home count?

We are working with employers to ensure that anybody who is working towards meeting the Standard for Full Registration (SFR) is not disadvantaged by the school closures. Probationers following the Teacher Induction Scheme or the Flexible Route have had the number of required satisfactory days reduced to take into account the school closures.

We hope that probationers will continue to work towards the SFR from home by engaging in learning activities and this can be recorded in the professional learning section of the profile.

When can I request a recommendation for full registration?

A recommendation for full registration cannot be requested either on TIS or the Flexible Route until the missed days i.e. when schools are closed, have passed. This is because there is an expectation from GTC Scotland that during the school closures probationers will continue to find opportunities to engage in learning activities related to the Standard for Full Registration.

I am a Flexible Route probationer working full-time in one school for the whole year. How many days do I have to do?

Flexible Route probationers who have a one-year contract in one school and were hoping to gain full registration after 190 days will be asked to meet the same number of satisfactory days as TIS probationers i.e. 140 days.

If I volunteer to work in a Children’s Hub during the school closures, will the days worked count towards my probation?

Please contact your employer for more information.

I have read all the FAQs, but I don’t fit into any of the examples. What should I do?

We realise that there will be some probationers who have a slightly different journey through probation. If you are still unsure after reading the FAQs, please contact pld@gtcs.org.uk

I have submitted an application for a 2020 SCEL Legacy Fund Bursary. What will happen to this?

GTC Scotland will continue to process these applications to allow the selection panel to identify those who have been successful. However, the selection panel is very unlikely to meet before the summer. Successful applicants will be informed at the earliest opportunity thereafter.

I received a SCEL Legacy Fund Bursary in 2019. When do I submit my report?

Report templates will be issued in the coming weeks. The deadline for the submission of reports has now been extended to 31 October 2020 but this may be subject to further change and we will keep you informed.

Will there be a George D Gray CBE MA Award (for top undergraduate thesis) this year?

No. The George D Gray Award CBE MA Award was due to be presented at the Excellence in Professional Learning Awards event in September. As this event has now unfortunately been cancelled, there will be no award made until 2021.

Will Development Officer visits to local authorities continue?

There will be no face-to-face meetings, but the Development Officers will continue to meet with local authority personnel via video link wherever possible. If video link is not a possibility, a telephone call could take place.

Are Development Officers still able to engage with other stakeholders while the office is closed?

Yes, the Development Officers can engage with all stakeholders via video or telephone.

Will training events arranged with the Development Officers still take place while the office is closed?

If the training can be delivered by video link it can go ahead as arranged. It may, however, be better to postpone the event until a later date so that participants can benefit more from the interactive nature of training provided. This can be discussed with the relevant Development Officer. Their contact details are:

Jim Moore: 07775 626631 jim.moore@gtcs.org.uk

Sarah Stevenson: 07792 688171 sarah.stevenson@gtcs.org.uk