PVG Scheme - Questions and Answers

Q1.  Is there a Scottish Government contact that can be referred to for further information about PVG?

A1.  In the first instance you should visit the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme for information on the scheme.


Q2.  What difference will PVG make to GTC Scotland teacher registration?

A2.  From February 2011, membership of the PVG Scheme will be a requirement for anyone applying to register with the GTC Scotland.


Q3.  How will the PVG Scheme impact directly on me as a registered teacher?

A3.  Initially there will be very little impact. However, from February 2012 all employers in Scotland will begin ensuring that currently employed teachers become members of the PVG Scheme - this will be called Retrospective Checking.

You should contact your employer if you have any queries regarding how this process will operate. Once you are a PVG Scheme member you will remain a member for life and any future checks should be completed quickly and efficiently.


Q4.  How much will PVG cost to GTC Scotland registered teachers or applicants?

A4.  The GTC Scotland will not be carrying out Retrospective Checking, but will receive a copy of a registered teacher's membership as they are put into the PVG scheme by their employer as part of the Retrospective Checking process - you should consult your employer about how any costs associated with this will be covered if you think you will be affected by it.

The cost of applying to join the PVG Scheme is £59, the applicant will have to pay this.


Q5.  Why does the GTC Scotland need to carry out its own vetting of teachers and applicants who have been through the PVG process and are members of the scheme?

A5.  Membership of the PVG scheme is granted where there is no information available to suggest that an individual is 'unsuitable' to work with vulnerable groups. The GTC Scotland professional vetting process - which is an assessment of fitness to work as a teacher - must be much broader than the PVG scheme in order to protect the reputation of the teaching profession and to protect the public, (particularly children and young people).

The GTC Scotland assessment process therefore involves considering whether applicants are suitable to work with children (a higher test than that applied via the PVG scheme) and also whether their character and conduct is such that they are fit to work as a teacher. This means that a teacher could be a member of the PVG scheme but still be refused GTC Scotland registration, or, ultimately, have their GTC Scotland registration removed.


Q6.  Will all teachers on the GTC Scotland register go through the PVG process at once?

A6.  No. If you are already registered with the GTCS, you should eventually be put into the PVG scheme by your employer. It is intended that this will happen gradually from 2012 through to 2014. The GTC Scotland will be informed of your entry into the scheme when this happens - this process is known as Third Party Notification.


Q7.  What will happen to a GTC Scotland registered teacher if the PVG Retrospective Checking process uncovers a criminal offence (or similar) that the GTC Scotland has not been informed of before?

A7.  The GTC Scotland will follow usual investigative procedures and consider whether the particular matter affects the teacher's fitness to remain on its register Information about these procedures can be found on the GTC Scotland website in the Professional Conduct section.


Q8.  Is this not unfair on a teacher who may have done something minor, such as a speeding offence, many years before?

A8.  It is important that the GTC Scotland has a robust process to consider any information that it receives that may impact upon an individual's fitness to teach, even if this relates to events that happened some time ago. A proportionate response will, however, be taken and it would be unlikely that any action would ever be taken in relation to for example, historic and minor traffic offences. Indeed, most minor offences will simply be processed administratively, as is the case currently for applicants for registration.


Q9.  What should I do if I have a conviction in the past and I am worried about how it might impact on my GTC Scotland registration when it is revealed as part of the PVG process?

A9.  The GTC Scotland will only take further action in relation to any such conviction where it determines that the conviction has an impact on your fitness to teach. This will be determined by giving careful consideration to the particular circumstances following the usual GTC Scotland investigative procedures. Information about these procedures can be found on the GTC Scotland website in the Professional Conduct section.


Q10.  Are there any offences that will automatically bar me from being a member of the PVG scheme?

A10.  Yes, there are number of offences that will result in automatic barring if they have been committed. There are also a number of offences that will result in automatic consideration for barring. These offences can be found at the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme


Q11.  What happens if I'm not allowed into the PVG scheme?

A11.  If you are a GTC Scotland registered teacher or are applying to register, your registration will be removed or refused and you will not be allowed to teach in state schools in Scotland.


Q12.  Will GTC Scotland staff and GTC Scotland Council members be covered by PVG and have to be members of the scheme?

A12.  Members of staff who may, through their work have access to information relating to children will have to become scheme members. In addition to this Council members who sit on committees or panels within the disciplinary process will also have to become scheme members for the same reason.


Q13.  What happens if I am already a member of a similar scheme in another part of the UK and apply for GTC Scotland registration?

A13.  You will still need to be a member of the Scottish PVG Scheme. Membership of another, similar UK Scheme does not mean that you automatically become a member of the Scottish scheme, nor does it exempt you from having to become so.


Q14.  What will happen if I am a member of the PVG scheme in Scotland but travel to England when I am not a member of their equivalent scheme?

A14.  Queries about who has to be a scheme member depending on the type of work being undertaken should be directed to the PVG team at the Scottish Government at this stage. Visit Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme for more information.