Accreditation and entry requirements for Initial Teacher Education


GTC Scotland is responsible for accrediting programmes of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and setting the minimum entry requirements for these programmes.

We ensure that programmes of ITE are professionally appropriate and demanding and prepare students for registration as a primary or secondary teacher. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) must design programmes of ITE to equip students to meet the Standard for Provisional Registration.

We believe that ITE programmes should help prepare creative and dedicated teachers who can work and develop professionally in a world of change, diversity and accountability, committed to equal opportunities for all.

Policy statement

The Accreditation of Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland Policy Statement outlines our accreditation and reaccreditation process for ITE programmes. When paired with the Guidelines below, it sets out our policy on the content, nature and duration of programmes leading to a teaching qualification.


The Guidelines for Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programmes in Scotland set out the conditions for the accreditation of programmes of programmes of ITE.

Evaluation framework

HEI use the Evaluation Framework: Accreditation of Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland to assess their proposed programme for academic rigour and degree-worthiness.

Accreditation process

GTC Scotland’s Education Committee delegates programme scrutiny to Accreditation Panels. 

Each Panel consists of a minimum of five members, including at least two external members. We draw these external members from the education community including an ITE institution and, as appropriate, local authorities, schools or the college sector.

  1. HEI submits the completed Evaluation Framework and supporting documentation six weeks before meeting with the Accreditation Panel
  1. GTC Scotland staff undertake any required pre-event discussions with the HEI team
  1. The Panel meets privately to identify issues for discussion and areas for consideration
  1. The HEI make a 20-minute presentation to the Accreditation Panel on the highlights of the programme, including representation from students, recent graduates and/or professional partners
  1. The Panel and HEI discuss relevant areas and clarify issues
  1. The Panel meet privately to make their decision
  1. The Panel communicate their decision to the HEI with four possible outcomes: accredit unconditionally; accredit conditionally; to defer a decision subject to major amendments; and to refuse accreditation

Entry requirements

We set the minimum entry requirements for ITE programmes in Scotland. We outline these requirements in our Memorandum on Entry Requirements. 

It is for ITE providers to decide whether to accept or reject an applicant in line with their general admissions policy. ITE providers may require applicants to have more than the minimum entry requirements. 

The Memorandum is reviewed on a five yearly basis following consultation to ensure it continues to reflect the requirements of the teaching profession and maintains the link with the current Professional Standard for Provisional Registration.

Legislation – where GTC Scotland’s responsibility for accreditation comes from

The Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland) Order 2011 Part 4 states that: 

29 (1) It is for the GTCS to determine what constitutes a recognised teaching qualification for individuals seeking registration as a school teacher. 

29 (2) A determination may make such provision about the education and training required to attain such a qualification as the GTC Scotland thinks fit.

29 (3) A determination may, in particular, make provision about –  

(c) the admission of individuals to such courses