GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Majority of teachers find professional learning positively impacts learners

6 May 2020

A study by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland) into professional learning, has found that 94% of teachers who participated believed their professional learning has an impact on their learners.

The findings were published in the GTC Scotland five-year longitudinal study into Professional Update (PU), which consists of the collated results of annual surveys of teachers who have engaged in PU and completed their sign off since 2014.

The study also found that 96% of participating teachers believed their professional learning has a large or some impact on themselves, 85% reported that their professional learning has a large or some impact on their school, while 79% indicated that their professional learning  has a large or some impact on their colleagues.

Ken Muir, Chief Executive and Registrar said: “Professional learning plays a critical role in ensuring that all teachers keep their knowledge and skills up to date.  It is clear from this survey that teachers value greatly opportunities to engage in professional learning which they see enhancing not only their professionalism but having a direct impact on the learning of their students.

“The findings from this longitudinal study will not only help inform our policy development for PU but also for professional learning more broadly, not least with the ongoing refresh of the Professional Standards. We have already acted upon the results of the annual surveys, for example, with the publication last year of our Professional Review and Development guidance.

“GTC Scotland will continue to work with our partners across the education system, to engage and support all registrants with PU.”

Key findings from the five-year study

  • A culture of professional learning offers teachers the opportunity to work collaboratively with others and reflect and learn together. Collaborative learning is the main type of professional learning teachers engage in and is highly valued.
  • Professional Standards are considered a touchstone for teacher professionalism. The Standard for Career Long Professional Learning is used by most teachers as a very useful self-evaluation tool, alongside other policy documents.
  • The Professional Review and Development (PRD) process is undertaken by the majority of teachers. Those who have an effective PRD enjoy support and challenge that is helpful to their continuing development. However, there is a body of evidence that suggests that more professional learning in coaching is required for reviewers.
  • Most teachers feel they are well supported by school leaders and local authorities in the PU process, with the exception of supply teachers, who require more specific support.

Further information

The findings represent the views of 5,436 teachers.

Access the full report: Professional Update Longitudinal Study Sessions 2014 – 19.