The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Why should I register with GTC Scotland?

GTCS is the oldest self-regulating professional teaching organisation in the world. Founded in 1965 it became an independent body following an Act of Parliament in 2011.

GTCS has over 75,000 teachers on its register. This already includes around 600 college lecturers who have registered on a voluntary basis. Although the majority of registrants are school teachers, GTCS is the professional body for a much wider range of staff engaged in education such as local authority education officers; HEI lecturers delivering school and college (TQFE) qualifications; and staff in national education bodies. All of these registrants either have been, or are still involved actively in the teaching and learning process.

With responsibility for a range of functions, including supporting professional learning through its portal MyGTCS, GTCS is a key player in the development of education across sectors in Scotland.

GTCS is a registered charity and works in the public interest. This means that its work in registration and regulation is fundamentally to reassure the public (including lecturers, teachers, children, young people and adult learners) about the quality and professional standards of those directly involved in teaching and learning across Scotland.

The May and November 2017 National Joint Negotiating Committee Agreements gave effect to the commitment to move to professional registration of college lecturers. This agreement is also incorporated into the NJNC Circular 03/18 which specified that: 'Linked to our joint review of future workforce requirements, lecturing staff in our workforce for the future will require professional registration similar to GTCS. Requirements for such registration will be agreed and in place from 1st April 2019'.

Registration with GTCS is a mark of teaching professionalism. It recognises that teaching in a college is a professional role which requires a body of knowledge and development of skills and experience to effectively deliver vocational and academic qualifications to a wide range of learners. It also says to the public that an individual has the requisite qualifications, skills and experience to teach in a specific sector. Registration with GTCS will raise the status and standing of lecturer professionalism in Scotland. GTCS will support lecturers and colleges to continue engagement in career long, high quality professional learning through Professional Update (see Question 13).

As GTCS already registers College lecturers, it has developed strong partnerships with Colleges across Scotland and with the EIS, as the recognised trade union for college lecturers over the years. Through these partnerships, work has been ongoing to support registered lecturers’ entitlement to high-quality professional learning through Professional Update (see question 9).

Registration will bring:

  • Professional registration with the recognised professional body that represents and advocates for lecturers in Scotland.
  • An entitlement to a high-quality, lecturer-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 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 the range of education sectors, alongside regular features on learning, practice and professional resources.
  • Access to a Benefits App offering discounts on a range of services and products.

For more information please visit our website:

Further Education or contact us at: collegesector@gtcs.org.uk

GTCS already registers school teachers and college lecturers. Over 450 College lecturers are registered in the Further Education category with others carrying over their school registration but employed in a college.

GTCS registration is sector specific (Primary, Secondary, Further Education (College sector) and Teacher Education Institutions) and is not about making colleges more like schools. GTCS recognises the unique context of the college sector and its different needs and there is specific Further Education representation on the GTCS Council.

The expansion of school-college partnership working, and Developing the Young Workforce is enhanced by GTCS registration but it is separate from it.

A cross-sector working group has been set up to establish requirements and pathways for College lecturers to register with and be regulated by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

The May and November 2017 National Joint Negotiating Committee Agreements gave effect to the commitment to move to professional registration of college lecturers. This agreement is also incorporated into the NJNC Circular 03/18 which specified that: 'Linked to our joint review of future workforce requirements, lecturing staff in our workforce for the future will require professional registration similar to GTCS. Requirements for such registration will be agreed and in place from 1st April 2019'.

The working group includes representatives from:

  • GTCS
  • EIS FELA
  • Colleges Scotland
  • Universities offering the Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE)
  • Scottish Government

The working group has agreed to ensure the distinct identity of the College sector is reflected in any registration and regulation arrangements. It has also recognised that registration will be phased over a number of years to reflect the wide range of qualifications, backgrounds and roles that lecturers in Colleges bring to the sector. With this in mind, as a first stage, voluntary registration with GTCS continues to be open for College lecturers, and those seeking to register at this stage are required to have a TQFE. Arrangements for lecturers who do not currently have a TQFE and wish to provisionally register are being discussed by the group.

All parties involved in the working group have stressed that this initiative will not impact the job security of lecturers. Instead, it is believed that registration will raise the status and standing of lecturers, enhancing the professionalism of the lecturing workforce.

In addition, the Professional Standards for College lecturers will be supported and maintained by GTCS along with the Professional Standards for Teachers.

The Professional Standards for College lecturers will be transferred from the Scottish Government to GTCS. The Professional Standards have been recently updated by a working group led by the College Development Network which included Colleges Scotland, EIS FELA, Education Scotland and GTCS. A formal date for this transfer has still to be agreed.

The College Registration Working Group has determined that a system of phased registration should be adopted over a number of years, commencing on a voluntary basis with those lecturers who currently have TQFE (as is currently the case). The Working Group recognise the wide range of backgrounds that lecturers will bring to registration and are currently establishing criteria for registration and the timescale over which registration will take place for those without a TQFE or equivalent. The Working Group is well aware of the need to have registration arrangements in place that address the bespoke nature of the college sector and the widely varying backgrounds lecturers bring to their role. The outcomes of those discussions will be shared in good time with lecturers once final decisions have been agreed.

It is the intention of the Working Group to propose a date whereby registration of all lecturers becomes mandatory. This would be subject to Scottish Government approval. If mandatory registration happens the date will be signalled well in advance.

The GTCS annual registration fee is currently £65 for those who wish to register voluntarily now. This is a standard fee for all registrants. We do not offer variable fees.

There are potential additional one-off charges payable when registering for the first time; for example, a Protection of Vulnerable Groups check (£59), or a Short Scheme Record check (£18) if a PVG is already held (these are one-off payments). Full details are available on our website here:

Registration Fee Cost

To be considered for registration with GTCS at the present time, a Teaching Qualification (Further Education) from one of the Scottish teacher education institutions is required for lecturers.

The Working Group is currently looking at what an acceptable equivalent qualification to TQFE might be.

It is recognised that some lecturers do not have a TQFE (or equivalent). As part of its discussions, the Working Group is considering how best to accommodate such lecturers through the creation of bespoke categories of registration that meet the needs of those lecturers and the college sector. This will ensure that all lecturers can be registered in due course.

The Working Group is also considering the ways in which those college lecturers who wish to gain a TQFE might do so. The group is also looking at equivalences to TQFE that would be appropriate for registration. It is recognised that these are likely to be complex exercises, possibly requiring greater flexibility in the delivery of TQFE than is currently available. Further information on this will be made available as and when decisions on TQFE are confirmed.

The aspiration is that as many lecturers as possible gain a TQFE or equivalent. Members of the Working Group are exploring a range of new pathways that will support college lecturers to obtain the necessary qualifications required for registration.

Further information about these options will be publicly announced and added to this FAQ as they are further developed.

There is no requirement to hold a degree to complete TQFE or to be registered. GTCS recognises the depth and breadth of vocational qualifications and industrial experience in the College sector and is working with partners (including Colleges Scotland and EIS FELA) to expand registration opportunities to ensure that all lecturers can be registered in a category appropriate to their background and qualifications.

No. The registration of College lecturers initiative will not affect the continued employment of anyone currently working in Further Education. All lecturers will be supported to achieve registration over time in a category that is appropriate to their background and qualifications.

If you would like to apply for registration now, information and an application form can be found on our website:

It is mandatory for all GTCS registrants to engage in career-long professional learning in order to learn and develop as a teaching professional to improve learning and teaching and the student experience. This is confirmed every five years by the registrant’s line manager through the College professional review and development process (if the College is validated for Professional Update by GTCS). At the time of writing, the majority of Colleges have been validated. This process is called Professional Update and its purpose is to maintain and enhance lecturer professionalism through self-evaluation against the Professional Standards, and engagement in ongoing career-long professional learning.

GTCS piloted Professional Update from 2014-2016 with three large regional colleges in Scotland. Forty six lecturers engaged in the pilot and in the process of Professional Update. Feedback from lecturers through the pilot study indicated that engagement with the Professional Standards in professional learning was a major contributor to lecturer professionalism. Further information about Professional Update in the College sector can be found on our website:

College Sector

GTC Scotland is overseen by its GTCS Council which currently comprises 37 members who come from a variety of backgrounds. Information on the composition of Council can be found on our website:

Council Members

Our governing Council is currently looking at what changes might be required to, amongst other issues, address the registration of College lecturers.

You can apply to re-register with GTCS on our website:

Re-Register

The Working Group is aware that there are some lecturers who deliver in HE and FE, and the group is currently considering how best to address the issues this creates.

Anyone registered with another regulatory body is eligible to register with GTCS.

The Working Group is currently considering how best to address the issues dual registration raises and will provide more information in due course.

There is currently no Code of Professionalism and Conduct (COPAC) for College lecturers. As part of GTCS wider work on the refresh of the Professional Standards for Teachers, there is an ongoing refresh of COPAC underway.

GTCS intends to include College stakeholder representatives on this group to develop a COPAC that is fit for purpose for the lecturing profession in Scotland.

To teach in Scottish schools you are required to have a teaching qualification in Primary or Secondary education. Further information can be found on our website: