The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Three key themes emerge from Professional Standards consultation

The results of the GTC Scotland consultation on a refreshed set of Professional Standards and revised Professional Code have now been published.

Over 240 responses were received, with 70.3% of respondents strongly agreeing/agreeing that the purpose of the refreshed set of Professional Standards and revised Professional Code is clearly set out.

Twenty-eight recommendations have been identified and can be grouped into three key themes on content, development and delivery.

1. Content needs to be clear and concise

By far the largest number of recommendations – 19 out of 28 – related to the content of the revised Professional Standards and refreshed Professional Code.

Respondents felt that the Professional Standards and Professional Code needed to be clearer with jargon removed and key terms, such as ‘teacher leadership’, explained. Moreover, it was recommended that specific reference was made to:

  • professional commitment
  • enquiry and critical reflection
  • equality and equity and the promotion of cultural diversity
  • teacher professionalism and the impact of teachers on learner’s development, and
  • additional support needs.

Responses also indicated that teacher values required to be better woven throughout the Professional Standards and that teacher professionalism should transcend both the Professional Standards and Professional Code. The format of the Professional Standards and Professional Code was also reviewed with recommendations centring on making these more accessible and available in alternative formats.

2. The Professional Standards and Professional Code could be further developed


Five out of the 28 recommendations related to how the refreshed Professional Standards and revised Professional Code could be further developed.  Feedback suggested that the Professional Standards and Professional Code could be usefully supported by a series of professional guidance documents providing advice on specific topics, such as on a duty of candour or “speaking out”.

It was also recommended that Learning for Sustainability should be recognised and significantly enhanced as a cornerstone of Professional Standards.

3. Launching the refreshed Professional Standards

The final four recommendations considered how the Professional Standards and Professional Code could best be launched. It was suggested that the wider public is engaged, possibly through Parent Associations and Parent Councils, and that the recently released PRD guidelines should be referenced. It was also suggested that the Professional Standards could act as a reflective framework of current policy and to support teachers career journey.

What happens next?

A final redraft of the Professional Standards is taking place and will be shared with the teaching profession in August 2020.

A year of enactment will then follow before the refreshed Professional Standards come into force in August 2021. This will allow teachers and others to engage, explore and understand the relevance of the Professional Standards before they take effect.

In light of forthcoming registration of college lecturers, it has been determined that further review of the Professional Code is necessary.