GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

“Deep cultural change” is needed to support Scotland’s young people

Ten years since the publication of Teaching Scotland’s Future – Report of a review of teacher education in Scotland, Professor Graham Donaldson has revisited his seminal report looking at the changes and challenges in Scottish education.


Professor Donaldson delivered the GTC Scotland Lecture 2021 virtually, addressing the turbulent year the education sector has experienced, along with what the future might hold for our young people. Professor Donaldson identified three areas for immediate change: enhancing digital pedagogies, teaching ethics and global citizenship, and the role and types of assessment.

The refreshed and restructured Professional Standards 2021 were launched at the lecture, with Professor Donaldson highlighting the importance of values and Professional Standards in the teaching profession. A period of enactment support will now begin, allowing teachers and others to engage, explore and understand the relevance of the Professional Standards before formal enactment on 2 August 2021.

Commenting on the GTC Scotland Lecture 2021, Ken Muir, Chief Executive and Registrar of GTC Scotland said, “Much work has been done to address the findings and recommendations in Professor Donaldson’s report over the last decade. However, much has also changed in Scottish education, especially within the last year.

“Professor Donaldson’s review of the last decade since the report has offered much for the teaching profession and Scottish education sector to think about in this rapidly changing world.”

Professor Donaldson said, “Scotland’s teachers are the key asset to Scotland’s education system. The quality of teachers is essential to the wellbeing and success of pupils.

“The challenge for education systems is to remain relevant in such a volatile context. The world in which our young people will live and earn a living in will be very different from today. Teachers must be given the opportunity and support to build confidence and knowledge in their practice.”

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, said “We know that we are going to be living in constantly changing times. Therefore, the profession needs to have the confidence and sense of professional capacity and capability to be able to exercise their role in shaping the education system.

“I would also like to congratulate the General Teaching Council for Scotland on the launch of the new suite of professional standards. The Standards are vital in maintaining and enhancing teacher professionalism and I want to acknowledge the work required to develop such important documents.”

Watch the lecture