The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965


About Hearings

Fitness to Teach Panel hearings are held to determine whether an applicant for registration or a registered teacher is fit to teach. A person is fit to teach if he/ she meets the standards of professional conduct and competence that GTCS expects.

A Fitness to Teach Panel is composed of a minimum of three people comprising a majority of registered teachers and at least one lay member.

Hearings generally take place at GTC Scotland’s office at Clerwood House between the hours of 09:30 and 17:00, Monday to Friday.

We have created an information booklet to assist registrants who have been referred for Fitness to Teach Panel proceedings. The aim of this booklet is to provide:

  • an overview of fitness to teach proceedings
  • details of each stage of proceedings and the types of hearings which may be encountered
  • information regarding assistance and support
  • a glossary of terms which will be encountered in the booklet and throughout the process

We have also created a fact sheet to assist individuals who are attending a Fitness to Teach Panel Hearing to give evidence in relation to a referral which has been made against a registrant. Individuals may have been asked to give evidence by either party - the Presenting Officer acting for GTCS, or by the teacher or the teacher's representative.

Fitness to Teach Panels hold different types of hearings in different circumstances. The hearings fall into two main categories: Referrals and Probationary Service.


These hearings relate to referrals about the fitness to teach of registered teachers or applicants for registration. The complaint will be an allegation that the person falls short of the standard of conduct and/ or competence expected.

Case Management procedures are followed in the lead up to hearings to try to help things run more smoothly.

If a person admits the allegation(s) against him/ her and wants to be removed from the Register of teachers without going through the full hearings process, the Removal with Consent process may be followed.

You can read more about case management procedures, removal with consent and the types of hearings held in the referral context below:


Probationary Service

Probationary Service Hearings relate to provisional registration only and mainly concern a recommendation made by an employer that a provisionally registered teacher's:

  • provisional registration should be cancelled because it is alleged he/ she is falling short of the standard of competence expected; or
  • period of probationary service be extended to give him/ her more time to meet the standard of competence expected.

A Probationary Service Hearing takes place if the teacher concerned has decided to challenge the employer's cancellation or extension recommendation. After it considers all of the evidence presented, the Panel can ultimately decide to:

  • grant full registration to the person (if the required number of days of probationary service have been completed);
  • remove the person from the Register; or
  • continue the person’s provisional registration and (where appropriate) extend the period of probationary service required.

Subsequent Registration Application Hearings also take place in this context. These take place where a person who was previously removed from the Register following a Probationary Service Hearing applies for re-registration. They also take place where a person who was previously removed (or lapsed) from the Register and failed to complete his/ her probationary service within the required timescale applies for re-registration. The hearing is focused on determining whether the person is now fit to teach in terms of his/ her standard of professional competence.

The default position is that the above hearings take place in private.