The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

Briefing on Empowering Schools Consultation

1. What is happening?

The Scottish Government is holding a consultation into the way education in Scotland is run.

The consultation is open until 30 January 2018 and can be accessed here.

The consultation is widely known as the ‘Education Governance Review’. Its official title is ‘Empowering Schools: A consultation on the provisions of the Education (Scotland) Bill’.

2. How does it impact GTCS?

The General Teaching Council for Scotland is one of the organisations impacted by the consultation.

The Scottish Government is proposing the creation of an Education Workforce Council for Scotland (EWCS) which would take on the responsibilities of the GTCS, and the Community Learning and Development Standards Council, and would register other education professionals such as College Lecturers; Classroom Assistants; and Early Years Practitioners.

3. What would the EWCS do?

The proposed functions of the new body are as follows:

  • Keep a Register of those practitioners engaged in the teaching (including pre-school), community learning and development and other relevant professions (including the establishment of criteria to meet their registration);
  • Establish and keep under review, as appropriate, Professional Standards and appropriate Code(s) relating to the conduct and professional competence of those engaged in the teaching, community learning and development and other relevant professions;
  • Establish and review Standards of education, professional learning and leadership appropriate to those on the Register, including initial teacher and other professional education, and monitor and evaluate their implementation;
  • Investigate and ensure the fitness to practise of registrants with regards to conduct and professional competence;
  • Accredit, validate and promote professional learning and development through maintaining and operating national systems in partnership with other bodies as appropriate;
  • Support the operation of teaching, community learning and development and other relevant professions, including induction schemes, professional learning frameworks, quality assurance marks and student placement systems;
  • Provide independent, evidence-based advice to Scottish Ministers on relevant matters of education, teacher professionalism, workforce planning, career development and fitness to practise of those engaged in the teaching, community learning and development and other relevant professions;
  • Contribute to evidence-based policy making through engagement in and with research that supports improved learning and teaching; and
  • Promote family/carer/community engagement in and with the education system.

4. What groups would it register?

Those who it is proposed are registered with (and regulated by) the new body are as follows:

  • Teachers (currently registered and regulated by GTCS)
  • CLD Practitioners (currently registered with the Standards Council for Community Learning and Development for Scotland)
  • Classroom Assistants/ASL Support Workers
  • Early Years Practitioners (currently registered and regulated by the Scottish Social Services Council)
  • School Librarians
  • College Lecturers and relevant support staff (some college lecturers are already registered and regulated by GTCS)
  • Home/School Link Workers

It should be noted that this list is only part of the proposal and that there may be others who might be included. Equally, some of those proposed may not end up being part of the new body.

5. What does GTCS think about this?

GTCS has established a short-life working group made up of officers and Council members to consider the proposed changes, and the range of legal, financial, operational issues and risks arising from them, as it prepares its response to the consultation. These issues and risks were discussed at the full meeting of Council on Wednesday, 13 December. Council members broke into groups and discussed the consultation questions as well as issues impacting GTCS. These discussions were then distilled by the short-life working group following the Council meeting with a view to writing the consultation response. A draft response to the consultation will be presented to Council members in early January with this being finalised and approved thereafter.

GTCS will make its final consultation submission publicly available as soon as possible - this is likely to be in late January.

We would encourage registrants to read the consultation document and consider responding individually. If you have any questions please contact us at gtcs@gtcs.org.uk

GTCS is also meeting regularly with Scottish Government and the CLD Standards Council to discuss the consultation and its potential impact on GTCS.

6. How does this impact me?

As an individual or organisation that plays a role in education in Scotland we are making sure that you are fully informed of this consultation and how it impacts GTCS.

You might want to contribute to the consultation that will shape the future of GTCS. If you wish to find out more information please contact us at communications@gtcs.org.uk