The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Professional impact

For four years, colleges and GTCS have been working together on PRD.

Since 2015, colleges have been working with GTC Scotland on a voluntary basis to align and quality-assure their Professional Review and Development (PRD) processes against the national criteria for Professional Update (PU). College lecturers registered with GTCS must engage in career-long professional learning through PU.

Fourteen colleges across Scotland have now completed the PU validation process and the remainder are working towards this. PU validation is a quality mark offered by GTCS and is held for a five-year period with continued support and engagement from GTCS.

The validation panel conducts a review of college PRD policies and systems and considers these against the national criteria for PU.

This endorsement offers assurance to lecturers, and the education system in Scotland, that these organisations meet the national requirements to support lecturers and college staff to:

  • effectively engage in ongoing career-long professional learning
  • self-evaluate using the Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland’s Colleges
  • and consider the impact their own high-quality professional learning has had on their thinking and professional practice through the college PRD processes.

Moreover, colleges have identified the following benefits to validation:

  • An opportunity to consider whether their current policy and system is contemporary and meets the needs of lecturers and support staff
  • A chance to review current recording systems and their fitness for purpose
  • Helps to purposefully consider how the Professional Standards for Lecturers can be meaningfully used within a reflective recording process which captures evidence of impact of professional learning and to support professional dialogue
  • An opportunity for colleges to consider new or refreshed approaches to support reviewers and reviewees in using effective coaching and mentoring for high quality PRD
  • Renewed commitment to support lecturer led entitlement to high quality professional learning.

GTCS is nearing completion of the PU national review of PRD policies and processes and is looking forward to continuing to work in partnership with Scotland’s college sector to offer further enhanced support through Professional Update and the embedding of the new Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland’s Colleges.


Lecturers from three regional colleges in Scotland took part in a pilot from 2014 to 2016. Their feedback was that Professional Update provided a clearer and more robust way of engaging in professional learning and development through using the Professional Standards for reflection and in self-evaluation. Moreover, PU was a key driver to support enhanced lecturer professionalism.