About GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) was one of the first teaching councils in the world when it was set up in 1965. In 2012, legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament made it the world's first independent, self-regulating body for teaching.

GTCS is governed by a Council made up of 19 elected teachers, 11 nominees from stakeholder groups and seven appointed lay members. Council members serve for four years and election/ reappointment processes take place every two years when half of the members step down. The Council sets GTCS policy.

Our Values

At GTCS we have a shared set of values that speak for who we are, how we work and how we want to be seen as a national educational organisation. Our values were chosen by GTCS Council members and staff. We agreed that incorporating these values in our day-to-day work would contribute to making GTCS a modern and effective organisation that is a positive influence on education in Scotland. Our values are:

  • Fairness
  • Integrity
  • Trust and Respect
  • Professionalism
  • Sustainability

We respect these values in our day-to-day work and in our interaction with one another and stakeholders. We endeavour to:

  • Have fairness at the heart of everything we do
  • Act with integrity in all of our work
  • Have trust and respect for each other and our stakeholders
  • Act professionally at all times
  • Encourage sustainable practices in our work

Strategic Objectives

We work closely with our partners and stakeholders in order to achieve all of our strategic objectives.

1. Act in the public interest to ensure confidence in our registrants
2. Set standards and promote high-quality professional learning for registrants at all stages of their careers
3. Strengthen our role in enhancing professionalism in education
4. Continue to improve our organisational effectiveness and capability

Stakeholder Engagement Research

The GTCS Corporate Management Team agreed to commission in-depth research into stakeholder perceptions of the organisation. This was viewed as timely; GTCS was approaching its 50th year; there was a new Chief Executive; and there had been a number of significant policy developments such as the Derek Sturridge legal case at the Court of Session which impacted registration practices; and the implementation of Professional Update amongst others.

The Corporate Management Team agreed that undertaking such research would support good governance in the public interest and allow the organisation to address any issues raised by its findings. In Autumn 2014 and following a tender exercise involving two other research companies, GTCS commissioned Why? Research to carry out a major stakeholder engagement project on its behalf. Why? Research gathered views from 1,002 members of the public; 4,487 teachers; 72 GTCS staff/Council members/Appeals Board members etc; and 41 individuals from stakeholder organisations. Read the full report.

What does GTCS do?

Funded by annual registration fees paid by teachers, lecturers and other education professionals, we:

  • Maintain the register of teachers in Scotland
  • Set the Professional Standards expected of all teachers
  • Investigate and adjudicate on the Fitness to Teach of registrants through our robust and fair regulation processes
  • Support the successful operation of the Teacher Induction Scheme
  • Manage the scheme of Professional Update, which launched in August 2014
  • Operate and promote Professional Recognition to support teachers' expertise and experience
  • Operate and maintain the Student Placement System
  • Accredit programmes leading to the award of GTCS Standards, including Initial Teacher Education at Scottish universities
  • Advise the Scottish Government on matters relating to Scotland's teachers
  • Promote and support the profession through a range of seminars, conferences and research
  • Offer a dedicated MyGTCS account to all registrants enabling them to log professional learning and access a range of support tools.

We offer a range of support services to teachers, including three informative websites and Teaching Scotland magazine, which issues five times a year to everyone on the teaching register.

We host regular events, including our National Lecture, which brings inspirational speakers to the profession, and on a weekly basis our staff attend seminars and conferences across the country leading sessions and answering questions about our work.

Professional Standards

The Standards are:

  • The Standards for Registration
  • The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning
  • The Standards for Leadership and Management

The principles and values laid out in our Professional Standards provide a framework and benchmarks that allow teachers to manage their development throughout their careers.

Professional Update

Professional Update launched in August 2014. With its focus on continuous improvement, its aim is to support, maintain and enhance teachers’ continued professionalism through professional learning. We also award Professional Recognition, recognising the expertise and experience of teachers, and we offer access to a range of education research publications via the EBSCO service on MyGTCS.

Fitness to Teach

Our Fitness to Teach processes are built around several important values – protecting young people and their educational wellbeing, the reputation of Scotland’s teachers, lecturers and other education professionals, and the public’s trust in the teaching profession.

We regulate teachers in line with best regulatory practice principles and in the public interest.

As part of our duties we publish a Code of Professionalism and Conduct that sets out behavioural standards for the whole profession. And when it is required we operate a fair and transparent Fitness to Teach process, which includes investigations and hearings.

How is the registration fee spent?

Pie chart of how is the registration fee is spent