The General Teaching Council for Scotland

PRD for Local Authorities and Employers

GTCS works closely with Local Authorities and Employers to support them in their work. With regards to Professional Review and Development (PRD), GTCS has identified support, ideas and suggestions to assist Lead Officers in supporting teachers.

Schools will take their lead on PRD from the local authority or employer policies/LNCT agreement. Local authorities and employers, consequently, have a significant role to play in creating the  conditions to ensure teachers have the best chance to benefit from PRD.

They should consider their roles and responsibilities of PRD to ensure they support schools and teachers to fully engage in a refreshed approach to PRD.  These fall into the following areas:

  • Starting point
  • Ethos
  • Readiness
  • Process
  • Governance
  • Professional Learning

See these roles and responsibilities in relation to each colleague involved in PRD: PRD Roles and Responsibilities

Teachers often raise concerns that PRD is an overly bureaucratic process, involving excessive amounts of paperwork and endless on-line record keeping. This shouldn’t be the case, and employers should take the opportunity to review their internal policies.

PRD is essentially a reflective conversation about professional learning. It should involve the reviewee self-evaluating against the professional standards, reflecting on their professional learning and the impact it has had, and identifying next steps. Reviewers should support and challenge the reviewee’s thinking using a coaching approach.

As part of the PU process, it is mandatory  for teachers to:

  • Update their personal details every year on MyGTCS.
  • Engage in professional learning.
  • Self-evaluate using Professional Standards.
  • Discuss the impact of professional learning annually as part of PRD.
  • Maintain a reflective record of professional learning.
  • Five-yearly confirmation of this engagement.

It is important to note that professional learning records and evidence of impact should merely be used to support the professional conversation during PRD - they are not 'assessed' as evidence.

The teacher involved in PRD should also only describe professional learning that has had significant on their learning and teaching of leadership. Records of the formal PRD conversation should be kept to a minimum, for instance noting the areas of development that have been identified and/ or the agreed professional learning plan.

Local authorities and employers should ensure they take steps to remove any barriers that may arise as a result of protected characteristics. For example, parents returning from maternity leave and working part time might find themselves unable to access professional learning opportunities on their non-working days.

The Equality act defines the following protected characteristics:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

We are all different due to our backgrounds and life experiences. We make decisions in our personal lives and our workplaces based on these different life experiences.

These views and opinions affect our decision making, our behaviours and our everyday interactions. They are learned stereotypes that we default to and we do not give them thought or considerations as they are part of who we are. 

Sometimes our unconscious bias can be detrimental and should be challenged by ourselves and others. This may become evident when considering offering professional learning opportunities to some, but not others.

Additionally, due to unconscious bias we may not afford equality of experiences to everyone during PRD conversations. Local authorities and employers should consider ways to highlight the impact of unconscious bias and provide some level of training to support equity of PRD experience.

The following resources may be of help. Please note, GTCS is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Training, briefing, support and other professional learning about the PRD/ PU process should be provided by local authorities and employers for both reviewers and reviewees. There should be an emphasis on the use of coaching approaches to support reviewers to facilitate a coaching conversation during PRD. This will ensure that reviewees are appropriately supported and challenged in their professional learning conversations. 

The role of the reviewer should be offered from principal teacher or faculty head onwards. In times of regular changes in staffing, there should be regular professional learning sessions across local authorities and schools to ensure staff have enough experience, knowledge and skills to provide high-quality coaching conversations for all reviewees.

Equally, reviewees should be familiar with the specifics of a coaching conversation in order to engage fully in the PRD discussion. Coaching conversations enable the reviewer to ask questions that may challenge the reviewee’s thinking. For some not familiar with coaching, this can be perceived as threatening and perhaps loaded with ulterior motives. Local authorities should again support professional learning opportunities for reviewees to help fully understand the ‘ins and outs’ of a coaching conversation.

Career conversations

Reviewers need to be informed to support reviewees with next steps in career choices, or professional learning opportunities that will support career progression. Local authorities and employers have a role to play in ensuring that any national offers of professional learning, such as those offered on the Education Scotland Framework, are shared with all schools, who should then ensure that they are shared with all reviewers. Additionally, any internal professional learning sessions being offered should be shared on internal booking systems and advertised regularly through internal communications.

There are many misconceptions about PRD.

As PU is a five year process, most teachers in Scotland have now been through the process. Local authority and employer revalidations will shortly be undertaken to ensure the support exists for PU.