GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

GTC Scotland publishes draft Professional Standards 2021

18 August 2020

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland) has today published its draft Professional Standards 2021 for teachers in Scotland.


The Professional Standards describe teacher professionalism in Scotland, and have multiple purposes:

  • to create a shared language for teaching professionals;
  • as a benchmark of professional competency;
  • to develop and enhance professionalism;
  • to support career-long professional growth;
  • to provide a framework for Initial Teacher Education, probation and leadership pathways and programmes; and
  • to ensure and enhance public trust and confidence in the teaching profession.

The draft Professional Standards 2021 are available to view on the GTC Scotland website and they will be used by the profession from August 2021.

What’s new in the draft Professional Standards 2021?

The draft Professional Standards 2021 were further refreshed following public consultation last year and now include a section called ‘Being a teacher in Scotland’ which highlights that the professional values of social justice, trust and respect and integrity are at the heart of what it means to be a teacher in Scotland. This roots the Professional Standards as a framework that supports what it means to become, to be and to grow as a teacher in Scotland.

Ken Muir Chief Executive and Registrar of GTC Scotland said, “We have worked with a range of partners over the last three years to bring greater coherence across the Professional Standards.

“Through discussions, consultations and workshops it became clear that content relating to equalities and diversity, additional support needs, digital literacies, and Learning for Sustainability, amongst others, needed strengthened to ensure the Professional Standards epitomise what it means to be a teacher in Scotland today. 

“I would encourage everyone with an interest in education to spend some time exploring the Professional Standards to understand better the teaching profession in Scotland and the extraordinary work they do to on behalf of our children and young people.”

Seeking education professionals’ views

Further views on the draft Professional Standards 2021 will be sought after the October break. 

Virtual focus groups will be run with the aim of providing feedback on the following areas:

  • Is the structure, language and content of the Professional Standards 2021 coherent, clear and usable? 
  • How well do the Professional Standards 2021 articulate what it means to be a teacher in Scotland? 
  • What help is needed to support the enactment of Professional Standards 2021 as central to teacher professional learning and development?

If you are interested in contributing to these feedback sessions, please complete this short form.

What’s happening with the Professional Code?

Feedback from last year’s consultation indicated that the draft Code required further debate.  GTC Scotland will facilitate further discussion about the content of the Professional Code for teachers later this session. It is anticipated that a redrafted Code for Teachers will be subject to further consultation and available for use by next session alongside the refreshed Standards. Work is also beginning on developing a Professional Code for Lecturers.