The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

North East Scotland College validated for Professional Update

GTCS validation recognises North East Scotland College (NESCol) for its commitment to the professional learning and development of staff


The validation follows an event held in Aberdeen City Campus in June 2018 when a GTCS panel heard about the college’s strategic direction for professional learning.

Five years since the merger of Aberdeen College and Banff and Buchan College, NESCol began a journey to completely overhaul its Performance Review and Development (PRD) processes. A new impressive policy and online system called iCon was developed in close collaboration with college staff and has now been in place since January 2018.

GTCS Senior Education Officer Vikki Robertson said:

“The panel observed the strong sense of commitment to professional learning at North East Scotland College across the organisation. At this early stage they could see that iCon is already beginning to shift the culture of learning within the college."

The validation report commended the college for progress made and stated that: “It was demonstrated through the presentation by the senior team that NES College leadership are sincerely committed to staff learning and development. This was demonstrated through the design of iCon which aims to create a noticeable shift from CPD and courses being provided by the college (which is substantial) to staff and lecturers taking responsibility for their own learning and development.”

North East Scotland College Principal Liz McIntyre said: “It is very positive news that the College has been recognised by GTCS for the commitment of our highly qualified staff to ongoing professional development. This is an important part of the journey to make our good college great and to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible standards of learning and teaching for our students.”

Since 2014, teachers in Scotland working in local authority schools, national organisations and universities (in teacher education) have been required to commit to engaging in ongoing professional learning across their career. This process is called Professional Update and it is a requirement of professional registration with GTCS.

The process requires teachers and lecturers to engage in career-long professional learning through the PRD process in college, self-evaluate using the Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland's Colleges and/or GTCS Professional Standards, maintain a reflective professional learning record and discuss the impact of this professional learning through professional dialogue with a line manager. This ongoing process is signed off every five years through GTCS. All local authorities in Scotland, universities delivering teacher education and independent schools have their PRD policy and processes validated by GTCS for Professional Update.

Engagement in Professional Update is currently voluntary for the Scottish college sector, as is professional registration with GTCS for college lecturers. North East College is the eighth regional college to work in partnership with GTCS to gain validation.