The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Professional Update positively impacting teachers and learners, GTCS evaluation report finds

All GTCS registrants are required to undergo Professional Update, signing-off their professional learning every five years, as part of their registration conditions.

12 June 2019

With the first full cycle of the national five-year roll out of Professional Update (PU) nearing completion, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has published a report looking at how practitioners have engaged with PU and professional learning over the last four years.

A survey gathered data from a sample of teachers who had completed the PU sign-off process. Questions looked at every aspect of professional learning and the PU process in order to gauge the impact it was having on teachers, lecturers and learners. 

Overall, the report shows that engagement in professional learning and with PU has remained consistently high throughout the four-year period. An average of 89% of practitioners felt that their PRD (Professional Review and Development) discussion had helped them with their next steps for professional learning and development. The most striking outcome of the report, however, was the impact respondents felt that their professional learning had on their school, pupils, colleagues and, most importantly, themselves. An average of 95% of respondents said that they felt their professional learning had a significant impact on themselves, with 93% saying they felt it had a significant impact on their pupils. This reflects the overall findings that the value placed by GTCS on high quality professional learning and PU are having a tangible impact on the profession and are supporting a cultural shift in teacher professionalism.

Ellen Doherty, Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning, GTCS said:

“The results from this report will help us to continue improving the PU process so that teachers and lecturers can get the very best out of their registration with GTCS. We hope this will help us to ensure that our resources and support are helping registrants to reach their full potential.”

Kenneth Muir, Chief Executive and Registrar, GTCS said:

“We were pleased to see from our research report, that many teachers have engaged positively in professional learning and with the PU process since its inauguration in 2014.

“The results show clearly that teachers in Scotland are committed to continuously improving their practice as a means of improving the outcomes for their learners. The findings also indicate the wide variety of professional learning activities undertaken by teachers and their use of GTCS Professional Standards to plan and support their own learning journey and career progression”.

The PU process is a requirement of registration with GTCS. Teachers in Scotland are required to engage in professional learning, self-evaluate this learning using the GTCS Professional Standards, and maintain a record of this learning using their online profile on MyGTCS (or another system agreed by their local authority). Professional learning is not only an integral part of PU, it also keeps teachers’ knowledge and professional practice up-to-date. This allows them to improve their skills, engage pupils and help shape their schools to the best of their abilities.

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