The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965


Professional Update in the College Sector

With the introduction of Professional Update in August of 2014 for all registered teachers in Scotland, We recognise that this provides a significant opportunity to represent the interest of lecturers in Scotland's colleges in terms of offering a teacher-led model of high quality professional learning. Professional Update was piloted in the schools sector across 2012-2014.

We are undertaking a two phase pilot of Professional Update in session 2014/15 and 2015/16 in the college sector. Participation in the pilot is voluntary. Some lecturers already registered with us are participating in the Professional Update pilot, and some lecturers at participating colleges have newly registered to take part in the pilot.

Lecturers currently registered with us are not required to undertake Professional Update until the college national roll out of Professional Update begins in August 2016. However, many have engaged early and started to record and maintain a reflective professional learning record which is available through their MyGTCS account.

From August 2016, college Lecturers who are Fully Registered with us should, in order to maintain their full registration, ensure that they engage in the Professional Update process which includes the following elements:

  • On an ongoing basis:    
    Self-evaluation against the appropriate GTCS Professional Standards
    Engagement in ongoing Professional Learning
    Maintaining a reflective professional learning record and associated evidence of impact   
    Engagement in the Professional Review and Development process    
  • On an annual basis: updating your details held on the GTCS register including checking your personal and employment details are up to date
  • On a 5-yearly basis: signing off to confirm engagement in the process with GTCS (individual and line manager)

If you are currently registered and working in the college sector and your Professional Update year is 2015/16 you should have automatically deferred to 2016/17 year. If you receive a letter from us regarding your 2015/16 sign off it may be because we do not know that you are currently working in the college sector. Please log in to your MyGTCS account and update your employer details.

GTCS will be offering Professional Update sessions at your college for current registrants between June and September 2016. If you are working in a college, you will receive further information from your employer about the systems in place to enable recording of professional learning, and college guidance will explain how to complete the Professional Update sign-off process from 2016/16. Much of this guidance is not yet available in colleges. However, some will have this in place once their performance review and development policy and processes have been validated by GTCS. We are currently working with colleges across Scotland to validate their PRD systems.

If you have a query regarding the college pilots you can seek further information by contacting:

Lecturers who are not currently registered with us may wish to do so as registration brings many benefits.

Benefits of registration for lecturers

  • Professional membership of the recognised professional body that represents and advocates for teachers in Scotland
  • An entitlement to a high-quality,  teacher-led model of professional learning through Professional Update
  • Access to the Education Source (EBSCO), a resource of more than 1,700 academic journals and eBooks to support professional and academic reading and Practitioner Enquiry
  • A dedicated MyGTCS account to log reflective professional learning and access a range of support tools
  • Ability to apply for a Professional Recognition award
  • Teaching Scotland, the flagship magazine of GTCS, which contains opinion pieces about key topics in education, alongside regular features on learning, practice and professional resources.

Applying for registration in the further education category

What do I need to do to register?

  • Download an application form from our Registration area:
  • Send us proof of identification and address with your completed form
  • If you're not already a member, join the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme in the category of children and adults. You can apply via GTC Scotland
  • Evidence a total of 190 days teaching within the college sector. This can be with one college or more and ideally within the past five years. However, if it is possible for a college to verify your teaching experience from more than five years ago, we can consider this towards your 190 days. This is particularly for lecturers who work less than full time hours or across more than one college.   
  • Provide evidence of your Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) or equivalent

For more information about further education registration, please contact:


For further information about Professional Update, contact:

T: +44 (0)131 314 6000