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Professional Standards FAQs
We have been working in partnership with the education community to revise our Professional Standards for teachers. The revised Professional Standards were approved at a full meeting of our Council on 5 December 2012 and came into effect on 1 August 2013.
The revised suite of Professional Standards provides an opportunity to think differently about the purpose of Standards. They go beyond the traditional view of a Standard as a benchmark of teacher competence, a concept which only applies to the Standard for Registration. For teachers who have already achieved the Standard for Full Registration, the Standards provide constructive support for teachers as they consider how they might develop their professional skills and, importantly, national recognition of the high-quality professional learning which many teachers engage in throughout their careers.
The suite of Standards will therefore be used for multiple purposes, including:
- providing benchmarks for entry into Initial Teacher Education and the teaching profession
- providing a benchmark for teacher competence (Standard for Full Registration)
- providing a continuum for career-long learning and professional development
- providing a framework for self-evaluation and reflection
- designing and assessing professional learning programmes, including award bearing programmes
- assisting with recruitment and selection processes
- supporting teachers working in other educational settings, adapted as appropriate
- informing discussion and debate about teacher standards and professionalism
- informing Professional Review and Development (PRD) and Professional Update
- informing discussion, debate and public expectations about teaching standards in schools and the wider education system.
In addition, GTC Scotland uses the Professional Standards to accredit programmes of study.
The suite of Professional Standards has been developed to support teachers at all stages of their career. They recognise the importance of teacher responsibility for, and ownership of, their professional learning. The Standard for Provisional Registration has an important gate-keeping role for entry to the profession, and the Standard for Full Registration remains the benchmark for teacher competence throughout a teacher's career. The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning and the Standards for Leadership and Management have been developed to support teacher self-evaluation and professional learning for teachers who wish to develop beyond the Standard for Full Registration.
The GTC Scotland framework of Professional Standards has been revised in the light of changing contexts within education and society. Scotland already has very able teachers whose professional values, knowledge and actions make a positive impact on learners and learning. However, the complex dynamic nature of education and society now mean that, increasingly, teachers need to be critically informed adaptive experts.
In addition, Teaching Scotland's Future (Scottish Government, 2011) affirmed the need to revise the current Professional Standards, while recognising the established strength of the Teaching Profession in Scotland as a secure platform on which to build. The revised Professional Standards support the creation of a reinvigorated approach to 21st century teacher professionalism, which is built on the important principle that teachers should have responsibility for, and ownership of, their own professional learning. When supported to meet the needs they have identified, teachers will secure the best learning opportunities and experiences for all learners in Scotland.
The revised Professional Standards, which came into effect on 1 August 2013, were produced by three writing groups, supported by a steering group consisting of representatives of all the key stakeholders in Scottish education including the trade unions, classroom teachers, Scottish Government, Education Scotland and others.
The 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 revised Standards for Registration incorporate 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.
The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning
This 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 good practice. Teachers who choose to work with this new standard will evolve and develop their expertise beyond the baseline level of the registered teacher. 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 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 an updated Standard for Headship, in order to meet the needs of all teachers in, or aspiring to, formal leadership roles in our schools.
GTC Scotland undertook a consultation on the review of their Professional Standards from 29 August until 6 November 2012. In addition to a news release to all media contacts, this was publicised through Teaching Scotland, the GTC Scotland website, the regular e-newsletter and the social medium Twitter. GTC Scotland also wrote directly to stakeholder groups to encourage participation in the consultation process.
The consultation offered a range of opportunities by which people could respond: an online survey, three regional meetings and a series of Glow Meets organised in partnership with Education Scotland. The consultation report summarises statistical data arising from analysis of the responses received to the questionnaire and includes data from the online survey responses and from some written responses received by email or in hard copy. We analysed the qualitative data arising from the written responses in the comments boxes of the survey and from other evidence.
The standards have been designed to support self-evaluation and professional learning. Therefore they will provide you with a resource to help you evaluate your learning and your practice, for example in planning your professional learning as part of the ongoing process of Professional Review and Development. You will find helpful information on how you might use each of our Standards, depending on your role in the Scottish Education system on our website at:
We have published a wide range of information about the new Professional Standards.
Teaching Scotland magazine and its online equivalent www.teachingscotland.org.uk carries regular articles to update teachers and other stakeholders about developments.
Our main website: www.gtcs.org.uk/standards has a dedicated area to the Professional Standards.
We will also be providing information via Twitter where our hash tag is: @GTCS
Should you require more information please contact our Customer Service Team via email at email@example.com or by telephone on 0131 314 6080.
If you would like to ask a question which is not answered in our FAQ's or make a comment about the Professional Standards, contact: