The General Teaching Council for Scotland

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Professional Update and Fitness to Teach

Professional Update focuses on professional learning and continuous improvement rather than determining whether or not a teacher is, or has remained, competent. In line with the GTCS Framework on Teacher Competence (FTC), competence cases will continue to be handled by local authorities and employers in the first instance, with cases of alleged professional incompetence referred subsequently to GTC Scotland for resolution.

The failure to complete Professional Update is envisaged to be a relatively rare occurrence and for most teachers in that situation it will be due to valid reasons such as career breaks, extended periods of illness, maternity/ paternity/ adoption leave, unemployment, recent change in employment circumstances, engagement in only occasional and sporadic supply work or other exceptional circumstances, For such circumstances, a deferral process has been developed, which is outlined in the Professional Update Guidance Notes.

If a registered teacher were to make a deliberate and conscious decision not to meet the requirements of the Professional Update through non-compliance with contractual requirements for Continuing Professional Development or PRD this would be an employment matter and dealt with as such by the teacher's local authority/ employer in line with existing processes in the first instance. Further information on possible referral to GTC Scotland can be found on our Employers' Responsibilities page, a link to which can be found in the Useful Links section.

As Professional Update is an ongoing process which includes reflection against the appropriate GTC Scotland Professional Standard(s) and continued engagement in professional learning and the PRD process, a teacher who is undergoing competence procedures should still be engaging in these components of the process. However, if the Professional Update sign-off process is due to be completed whilst the teacher is engaged in competence procedures from stage 2 onwards, GTC Scotland considers that it is not in the teacher's best interests to complete the sign-off process. Therefore, the employer should notify GTC Scotland in order to suspend this until the conclusion of the competence procedures. This information will be flagged against the individual teacher's entry on the GTC Scotland register.

Registered teachers subject to sanctions as a result of GTC Scotland's Fitness to Teach processes should continue to engage in the Professional Update process. If the teacher feels that there are specific circumstances which would make completion of the sign-off process difficult, the teacher has the right to request a deferral. This information should be flagged against the individual teacher's entry on the GTC Scotland register.

Registered teachers who are subject to Fitness to Teach processes in non competence matters should continue to engage in the Professional Update process. If the teacher feels that there are specific circumstances which would make completion of the sign-off process difficult, the teacher has the right to request a deferral. This information should be flagged against the individual teacher's entry on the GTC Scotland register.

Registered teachers subject to a Temporary Restriction Order (TRO) and still in employment should continue to engage in the Professional Update process. If the teacher feels that there are specific circumstances which would make completion of the sign-off process difficult, the teacher has the right to request a deferral. This information should be flagged against the individual teacher's entry on the GTC Scotland register.

Where registered teachers are subject to a TRO and not in employment the requirement to complete the Professional Update sign-off process should be suspended. This information should be flagged against the individual teacher's entry on the GTC Scotland register.

Where a teacher has been removed from the register and has subsequently appealed this decision to the Court of Session, the requirement to complete the Professional Update sign-off process should be suspended. This information should be flagged against the individual teacher's entry on the GTC Scotland register.