Our Consultations

The consultation page is used to invite comments on what we are doing. You can find out about and participate in our current consultations and read about the results of past consultations, together with our response to any comments received as part of our consultations.

We are committed to working with teachers, members of the public, including parents, children and young people, and all stakeholders with an interest in Scottish education and the work of GTC Scotland in maintaining and improving professional standards. Through consultations we invite your views when we are planning new areas of work or proposing to change the way we do things. We always welcome suggestions for improving the way we do things and we will tell you below about how you can send us feedback.

We undertook a number of consultation exercises as part of our planning for the granting of independent status to GTC Scotland on 2 April 2012. We thank all respondents for taking the time to help inform, and improve, the detail of our proposals and the documentation that we proposed. We will be consulting on other areas in due course and look forward to continuing to receive your comments.

You can view all of our consultations by clicking on the radio buttons below:

  • Revised Registration and Standards Rules Framework

    Status: Closed (11 March 2014 to 20 April 2014)

    What are were consulting on?

    We welcomed comments on proposed changes to our Registration and Standards Rules Framework (the "Framework"). The changes that we were proposing are revision marked within each of the documents that make up the Framework. These documents can be found below:

    We will publish our response around June 2014.

    Consultation Information

    What is the Registration and Standards Rules Framework?

    GTC Scotland's Registration and Standards Rules Framework ("the Framework") is very important. In short it:

    Sets out the criteria for registration (and the related decision review processes);

    Sets out what information is held in GTC Scotland's Register of Teachers;

    Sets out the criteria for the award of any professional standard or professional recognition (and the related review processes);

    Sets out ongoing requirements on the part of Registrants relating to registration (e.g. to maintain up to date contact details and pay an annual registration fee); and

    Sets out when a teacher may be removed from the Register (and related review processes).

    The Framework is made up of a set of Registration and Standards Rules as well as a Statement of Registration Principles and Practice that applies to applicants for registration who have qualified as teachers outside Scotland.

    The Framework does not cover the investigation and determination of the professional fitness to teach of an applicant/Registrant (and the related appeals procedures). These matters are covered by the separate Fitness to Teach and Appeals Rules.

    The Framework was last updated in early 2012 in line with a number of changes that were made when GTC Scotland's governing legislation was changed as it became fully independent of the Scottish Government. They require now to be updated for the reasons set out below.

    Why were we proposing changes?

    There are a number of key factors that have led us to make the changes we proposed.

    1. Professional Update

    GTC Scotland has been tasked by the Scottish Government (via our governing legislation) with introducing a scheme "setting out measures to be undertaken for the purposes of allowing it to keep itself informed about the standards of education and training of registered teachers". The title for this process developed by GTC Scotland, in consultation with key stakeholders, is Professional Update. For more information on the legislation, see Article 31 of the Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland) Order 2011 at:

    The Public Services Reform (GTC Scotland) Order 2011

    In order to look carefully at the issues around such a scheme, we set up a Working Group with representation from key stakeholders in Scottish education.

    One of the first outcomes of the Working Group was to identify the key purposes of Professional Update which are:

    to maintain and improve the quality of our teachers (as outlined in the relevant Professional Standards) and to enhance the impact that they have on pupils' learning; and

    to support, maintain and enhance teachers' continued professionalism and the reputation of the teaching profession in Scotland.

    We held a consultation on our proposal for a scheme of Professional Update for teachers from 1 February 2012 until 12 March 2012.

    We have also been running a pilot of the Professional Update process since August 2012. This pilot now extends to almost half of the local authorities in Scotland, seven independent schools as well as colleagues in the University sector and Education Scotland.

    In the pilot, the Professional Update process requires the following of teachers:

    Engagement in professional learning;

    Self-evaluation against the appropriate GTC Scotland Professional Standard;

    Discussion of this engagement and the impact of this, as part of the PRD process;

    Maintenance of a professional learning record and portfolio of evidence; and

    5 yearly confirmation of this engagement to GTC Scotland.

    Following the consultation process and while the pilot remains ongoing, we are continuing to evaluate and move forward plans for the launch of Professional Update in August 2014. The revision of the Registration and Standards Rules Framework is part of this work.

    To reflect the Professional Update requirement for registrants from August 2014 onwards, the Registration and Standards Rules propose that a registrant "must participate in a system of ongoing professional learning and professional review and development in accordance with the terms of GTC Scotland's Guidance on Professional Update". Alongside this, the Rules also provide that a person may be removed from the Register for a failure to evidence to GTC Scotland's satisfaction that he/she is meeting that requirement.

    The Guidance on Professional Update (an initial draft of which is attached to this Consultation but which will be further updated following a final evaluation of the pilot referred to above) explains how the Professional Update process will operate and the Rules need to be read with that guidance in mind. Note in particular that the guidance sets out a distinct process that will be available for any registrant who, due to his/her employment circumstances (for example, if he/she is not working, is working in a non-education related environment or is retired), is not in a position to complete all aspects of the Professional Update process. It is important also to note that a person will only be removed from the Register administratively for a failure to complete the Professional Update process after a fair and appropriate reminder process and that any deliberate refusal to engage in the process may be subject to GTC Scotland’s fitness to teach process as a professional conduct matter (although we expect this will be principally addressed at an employment level).

    You can find out more about Professional Update at:

    Professional Update

    2. Revised Professional Standards

    The new suite of GTC Scotland professional standards that took effect from August 2013 had a minor impact on the content of the Registration and Standards Rules. The specific impacts relate to the definitions and use of the terms "Standard for Initial Teacher Education" (which has been replaced by the "Standard for Provisional Registration") and "Standard for Headship" (which has been replaced by the relevant sections of the "Standards for Leadership and Management").

    In addition, the Chartered Teacher Programme has now closed and the Rules have been updated to reflect this.

    You can find out more about the revised suite of Professional Standards at:

    The Standards

    3. Simplifying the process for review of registration decisions

    We have proposed that a simpler and more accessible review process is put in place for any applicant who wants a review of a decision to offer them registration in one area but refuse them in another. This review process currently sits with the Appeals Board but we are concerned that the appeals process that is followed under the Appeals Boards (and under the Fitness to Teach and Appeals Rules) is disproportionate to the circumstances (particularly in terms of the time that this process takes to follow through). It is proposed that applicants request that a Registration Panel (which is still composed of independent members, as the Appeals Board is) review the decision rather than going through the more onerous and time consuming appeals process.

    4. Reflecting updates in registration policy

    There are a number of areas in which we have reviewed or further clarified our registration policy and the Framework reflects our proposed changes in this area as follows:

    Registration in the Additional Support Needs (ASN) category – we have identified that our criteria for registration in this area needed to be clarified and made distinct. We have now set out clear requirements for registration in an ASN category; these include a requirement to have an appropriate qualification in this field.

    Professional Registration- we have clarified further the academic requirements for any teacher seeking registration in a further category/sector of registration without a specific teaching qualification in the category/sector (this route is referred to as "Professional Registration").

    Registration in the Further Education (FE) Category – we have identified that our registration criteria did not reflect adequately the distinct nature of this sector and we have made changes accordingly, for example to refer to the separate professional standards for college lecturers and to specify what the requirements are for registration in this sector for those applicants qualified outside Scotland. We will be taking forward a wider review of our policies and procedures in relation to the FE sector in the near future.

    Partial age range teaching qualifications – for applicants qualified outside Scotland, we have reviewed and propose that we remove the requirement that a teaching qualification must match the full age range for the primary or secondary registration sectors or, where it does not, that probationary service must be completed in the "missing" age range in order to compensate for this. We consider that where the teaching qualification is otherwise comparable to the Scottish pattern, that such a requirement is unnecessary and disproportionate.

    Degree equivalent academic qualifications – following a recent decision of the Court of Session in a GTC Scotland registration appeal case, we have identified that we must consider whether an applicant's qualifications are equivalent to a UK degree where this arises. We have reflected this in the proposed changes to the Statement of Registration Principles and Practice that applies to applicants who have qualified as teachers outside Scotland.

    5. Increasing the transparency of the Register

    In order to make the Register more transparent and accessible, we are proposing that we increase the amount of information that is made available publicly on it to include:

    Whether or not the registrant holds Temporary Registration as a "Temporary Service Provider" in terms of The European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007;

    The registrant's registration subject(s) and/or sector(s);

    Details of any order/measure imposed by a Fitness to Teach Panel and details of any inclusion on a list disqualifying or prohibiting the registrant from working with children; and

    Details in relation to the registrant's achievement of any standards or the provision of any GTC Scotland awards (including Professional Recognition, Standard for Chartered Teacher and Standard for Headship).

    In addition to the key factors detailed above, we have also sought to increase the consistency and clarity of the Framework by adding and tidying the definitions section as well as certain cross-references.

    When would the proposed changes take effect?

    The intention is that the revised Framework will take effect in line with the launch of Professional Update from August 2014.

    This means that from August 2014 onwards, registration applications will be determined under the new Rules. We will provide details on transitional provisions that may apply separately via the Registration section of our website.

  • Consultation on Constitutional Documents

    Status: Closed (11 March 2014 to 20 April 2014)

    What were we consulting on?

    We welcomed comments on some small proposed changes to our Appointments Scheme, Code of Conduct and Membership Scheme and Election Scheme. The changes that we were proposing are revision marked within each of the documents which can be found below:

    We will publish our response around June 2014 with a view to having the revised documents in place in late summer/early autumn 2014.

    Consultation Information

    What do these documents do?

    The Appointments Scheme sets out how lay members are appointed to serve on GTC Scotland's governing Council and how independent registered teachers and lay people are appointed to serve on GTC Scotland's Appointments Committee, Fitness to Teach Panels, Registration Panels and Appeals Board.

    The Code of Conduct and Membership Scheme sets down the standards expected of all Council, panel (and similar) members and sets out when a member would be considered disqualified from becoming a member or when such a member may be removed.

    The Election Scheme sets out the process followed in registered teachers being elected to serve on GTC Scotland's governing Council.

    These are all documents that GTC Scotland requires to have in place with reference to its governing legislation and they were all put in place as new documents over the course of 2011/2012 in line with independence being granted to GTC Scotland in April 2012.

    Why were we proposing changes to these documents?

    As would be expected following the initial roll out of any new set of documents, we have identified various points within them that we think would benefit from some further clarification and tidying.

    All the changes that were proposed have been revision marked on the documents attached to this consultation so that the changes to be made are clearly visible. Further explanatory notes on the changes have also been set out below with reference to each document in turn.

    Explanatory Notes

    Appointments Scheme

    Changes were proposed to section 1.8 of this Scheme in light of guidance issued by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) (bearing in mind GTC Scotland's obligation to carry out its functions in a way which represents best regulatory practice). The PSA advises that professional regulatory bodies should keep separate their executive and non-executive recruitment processes and the October 2012 PSA document - "Good practice in making council member and chair appointments to regulatory bodies" - states that the selection panel for an Appointments Committee should not include any executive staff from the regulator concerned. On this basis, it is proposed that the selection panel for the Appointments Committee should no longer include the Chief Executive.

    Code of Conduct and Membership Scheme

    A summary of the key changes proposed to this Scheme (and an explanation as to why) is as follows:

    The term of office of a member who fills an interim vacancy is not set out sufficiently clearly in the current Scheme which has led to a lack of certainty in practice in these situations. The proposed revised wording in section 3.2 (and the removal of the superfluous definition of "employed" in the interpretation section) seeks to address this issue.

    Various changes have been made throughout section 6 and in Schedule 2 (related to member removal and disqualification procedures) to reflect our view that, on reflection, these would better fit with the remit, skills and knowledge base of the Appointments Committee, rather than the Appeals Board (which is where these procedures sit at the moment).

    Wording has been added to Section 6.1(d) to catch any circumstance where a member has resigned in the midst of a significant disciplinary process related to his/her membership (or similar) of a body carrying on a public function (and including GTC Scotland). This is a gap that has been identified in the current Scheme.

    Some other tidying changes have been made simply to neaten the drafting, not change any of the substantive content.

    Election Scheme

    A change has simply been made to Schedule 1 with regard to the ninth "floating" seat on GTC Scotland's governing Council for a primary/secondary elected member. The proposed revision is to provide Council with some greater flexibility as to how to allocate this seat going forward to ensure that there is a continuing fairness as to how this is allocated between the primary and secondary registration categories.

  • Guidelines for Initial Teacher Education Programmes in Scotland, and Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland

    Status: Closed (16 April 2013 to 17 May 2013)

    Background

    Following an informal consultation on the Guidelines for Initial Teacher Education Programmes in Scotland and the Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland, work was carried out on redrafting these two documents in the light of what was said during the informal consultation.

    Consultation

    Comments were sought on the redrafted versions below:

    To assist, we included commentary documents which outline the changes proposed in both documents:

    No formal response document was issued and comments were invited from all interested parties with submissions preferred via email.

    The deadline for comments was Friday 17 May 2013.

    In addition to written comments, or as an alternative if preferred, Tom Hamilton, Director of Education and Professional Learning, was happy to meet with organisations or interested parties to discuss their views on these two documents.

    Results

    The legislation setting up the independent GTCS requires us to consult on any changes we intend to make and this we have done leading to the revised versions of these documents which you will find below.

    The Entry Memorandum sets the minimum qualification requirements for students entering Initial Teacher Education in Scotland and the Guidelines set the parameters for programmes of Initial Teacher Education.

    As well as the revised documents you will also find an outline of the consultation process and how the comments from it influenced the revision of the two documents:

    The revised Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland comes into effect for entry to programmes in academic session 2014/15.

    The revised Guidelines for Initial Teacher Education Programmes in Scotland come into effect from the beginning of academic year 2013/14.

  • Informal consultation on issues relating to Initial Teacher Education in Scotland

    Status: Closed (11 January 2013 to 31 January 2013)

    Background

    GTC Scotland is responsible for determining what constitutes a recognised teaching qualification for those seeking registration as a school teacher. We are now seeking comments from stakeholders and interested parties relating to the Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Courses of Initial Teacher Education (ITE), and the Guidelines for Courses of ITE in Scotland.

    The purpose of this informal consultation was to gain some early comment from stakeholders. We will feed these comments into a redrafting of both the Guidelines and the Entry Memo before consulting formally on specific proposals in the Spring. We aim to have the revised versions in place for our council meeting in June.

    The revised Guidelines will be used for all programme accreditations after that date, and the revised Entry Memo will be used to consider applications for those wishing to enter ITE in and after August 2014.

    Consultation

    This consultation provided an opportunity for the education community to raise any matters regarding the Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Courses of ITE, and the Guidelines for Courses of ITE in Scotland.

    View the information and issues below:

  • Revision of the Professional Standards

    Status: Closed (29 August 2012 to 6 November 2012)

    Background

    The GTC Scotland framework of Professional Standards has been revised in the light of changing contexts within education and society. The complex dynamic nature of education and society mean that teachers need to be and become critically informed adaptive experts whose professional values, knowledge and actions ensure positive impact on learners and learning. In addition, Teaching Scotland's Future affirmed the need to revise the Professional Standards. The revised Professional Standards reconceptualise what it means to be a teacher in Scotland in the 21st Century. Our profession has a moral imperative to secure the best learning opportunities and experiences for all learners in Scotland.

    Development of the Professional Standards

    In revising the Professional Standards, GTC Scotland has worked in partnership with members of the educational community. The revised Professional Standards have been developed by three writing groups, made up of teachers at various career stages, as well as local authority and university colleagues. A steering group also provided helpful feedback on proposals and early drafts of the Professional Standards.

    Read our update on the progress of the draft revised Professional Standards

    Principles

    The draft Professional Standards aim to provide a coherent framework to support teachers at all stages in their careers. The same values have been incorporated in each of the standards, as have leadership and sustainability.

    The Standards for Registration

    The draft revised Standards for Registration incorporates the Standard for Provisional Registration and the Standard for Full Registration. The Standard for Provisional Registration outlines what is expected of a teacher at the end of Initial Teacher Education and the Standard for Full Registration outlines what is expected of a teacher at the end of their probationary period, as well as what all teachers are expected to maintain and enhance over the course of their careers. By including these two standards in one document, we have attempted to demonstrate the expected progression in the early phase of a teacher's professional learning journey.

    The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning

    This draft standard aims to support teachers to develop and advance their thinking, learning, practice and expertise throughout their careers. The actions, knowledge, skills and abilities identified in the Standard for Full Registration will continue to be the foundation of practice. Teachers who work with this standard will evolve and develop their practice and expertise beyond the registered level. The standard recognises that during their careers teachers may undertake a variety of roles within and beyond the classroom. It also recognises the potential leadership roles that all teachers have.

    Standards for Leadership and Management

    The draft revised Standards for Leadership and Management have been extended from the previous Standard for Headship to include a standard for Middle Leadership, as well as the Standard for Headship, in order to meet the needs of all teachers in, or aspiring to, formal leadership roles in our schools.

    Consultation

    You can view the consultation responses and the preliminary findings below:

    The consultation provided an opportunity for the education community to respond to the draft framework of Professional Standards. There was significant thought, discussion and time to get to the consultation stage with a great deal of input from a variety of people. Find out who has been involved in the steering and writing of the draft framework of Professional Standards:

    You will find the draft framework of Professional Standards documents below:

    We held a number of meetings across Scotland to gather views, and we also hosted a series of GLOW Meet events to provide additional opportunities for discussion about each Professional Standard. We also hosted three regional consultation meetings in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

    Following receipt of consultation responses, we will finalise the Professional Standards. We plan to publish the revised Standards framework at the start of 2013.

  • Scheme of Professional Update

    Status: Closed (1 February 2012 to 12 March 2012)

    On 17 March 2011, the Scottish Parliament approved the Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland) Order 2011 which sets out the Government's plans for the granting of independent status to us from April 2012. As part of this legislation (Section 31), the Government placed us under a duty to introduce a scheme of 're-accreditation' for teachers.

    This consultation provided an opportunity for the education community to respond to the position we have adopted in our proposals for a scheme of Professional Update.

    You can view the consultation responses and position paper below:

    View our draft advice notes which have been prepared as part of our initial thinking about Professional Update and how it could operate:

  • Framework on Teacher Competence

    Status: Closed (17 January 2012 to 14 February 2012)

    The Framework on Teacher Competence (FTC) replaces the Code of Practice on Teacher Competence from 2 April 2012. It sets out the procedures to be used by employers when addressing teacher under-performance.

    View a summary of the responses:

    Following analysis of responses to this consultation, we have published the following final version:

  • Code of Professionalism and Conduct

    Status: Closed (1 September 2011 to 17 October 2011)

    The Code of Professionalism and Conduct (CoPAC) is intended to assist registered teachers and members of the public to understand the standard of behaviour expected of a registered teacher. Version 1 of CoPAC was introduced in August 2008.

    In the light of the legislative changes to apply to us from 2 April 2012, CoPAC required to be revised to embrace new legislative terminology and a new Fitness to Teach framework. We also took the opportunity to revisit the content of the Code, remove reference to the current disciplinary process, and make the revised Code less legalistic and technical in character.

    View a summary of the responses:

  • Student Teacher Code

    Status: Closed (1 September 2011 to 17 October 2011)

    The Student Teacher Code (STC) is intended to be a supportive document for those undertaking or proposing to undertake a programme of teacher education. Accordingly the STC reflects the stage at which students find themselves in their career and also the context in which they are involved with pupils.

    The original draft was produced by a small working group which comprised staff from some Scottish Universities and a GTC Scotland Officer.

    View a summary of the responses:

  • Fitness to Teach and Appeals Rules

    Status: Closed (1 September 2011 to 17 October 2011)

    We launched a consultation on new Fitness to Teach and Appeals Rules (the Rules) which set out how we will investigate and determine the fitness to teach of individuals who are applying for registration or who are already registered where it is alleged that they have fallen short of the standards of conduct or professional competence that GTC Scotland expects.

    View a summary of the responses:

    Following analysis of responses to this consultation, we have published the following final version:

  • Code of Conduct and Membership Scheme and election and appointment processes

    Status: Closed (31 January 2011 to 20 February 2011)

    We launched a consultation on our proposals relating to how registered teachers are elected and individuals appointed to a future independent Council, or to serve on its committees and panels. This ran from 29 September 2010 to 11 January 2011.

    We also launched a short consultation on our proposed Code of Conduct and Membership Scheme which is to be applied to seek to ensure that public and stakeholder confidence is maintained in the effectiveness, impartiality and integrity of those who serve on the Council as well as its committees and panels. This ran from 31 January 2011 to 20 February 2011.

    Following analysis of responses to these consultation exercises, and taking into account the impact of the final version of the draft Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland) Order 2011, we published revised, final versions of each of the documents on which we consulted (as noted below).

    The reasons for the changes made to the documents in view of the consultation responses received are set out in the section entitled "Summary and GTC Scotland Conclusions" in our response available below.

    Overview of respondents

    Submissions were received from 13 respondents in terms of the consultation on our election and appointments processes; 10 responding on behalf of an organisation and 3 responding as individuals.

    Submissions were received from 13 respondents in terms of the consultation on the proposed Code of Conduct and Membership Scheme; 12 responding on behalf of an organisation and 1 responding as an individual.

    We thank all respondents for taking the time to help inform, and improve, the documentation that we proposed.

    View a summary of the responses:

  • Registration and Standards Rules

    Status: Closed (1 October 2010 to 3 January 2011)

    We launched a consultation on new Registration and Standards Rules (accompanied by a Statement of Registration Principles for those qualified outside Scotland) which were proposed to update our current registration and standards rules framework to align with the Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council Scotland) Order 2011 and current law. In proposing the new rules, we also took the opportunity to simplify and streamline the framework to try to make it more accessible and easier to understand.

    Following analysis of responses to the consultation, and taking into account the impact of the final version of the draft Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland) Order 2011, we have published a revised, final version of the rules framework which can be downloaded below:

    The rationale for the changes that have been made in view of the consultation responses received is set out in the section entitled "Summary and GTC Scotland Conclusions" which is available below.

    Overview of Respondents

    Submissions were received from 9 respondents; 7 responding on behalf of an organisation and 2 responding as individuals.

    We thank all respondents for taking the time to help inform, and improve, our proposed Registration and Standards Rules.

    View a summary of the responses:

When it is appropriate, we respond to external consultations in relation to the teaching profession in Scotland and education in general.

Find out what external consultations we have responded to:

Our external consultation responses