To help us manage journalist requests effectively we have set out our standard responses to the most frequently asked media queries we receive.
Please read these responses and the information in the related links, and if your query is not answered here, get in touch via our Contact Form.
We aim to ensure that media requests are identified promptly but due to the large number of queries we receive daily, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to provide an immediate response. We will treat media requests that contain questions which fall under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 as Freedom of Information requests, and issue requests for additional clarification if required. These requests will be dealt with in line with the Scottish Information Commissioner’s Office guidelines.
Who we are, what we do and why we do it
The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland) is the teaching profession’s independent registration and regulation body. We work to maintain and enhance trust in teaching.
GTC Scotland’s role is to keep a public register and set and uphold the standards for entering and remaining in the teaching profession. We were created in 1965 following calls from teachers for a body to ensure teaching standards.
Areas of expertise
We can provide expert opinion on topics such as:
- Professional regulation and what that means for teaching in Scotland;
- The standards of competence and conduct that the public can and should expect from teachers and college lecturers working in Scotland’s schools and colleges;
- Statistics on the number of teachers and college lecturers registered in Scotland and the subjects they are registered to teach (we cannot confirm that all these teachers and college lecturers are employed and actively working in Scotland).
The Register of Teachers
In the 1960s, teachers campaigned to become a self-regulating profession to ensure high standards for teachers were maintained. This resulted in the establishment of GTC Scotland in 1965.
There was, however, no requirement for teachers employed in the independent sector to be registered with GTC Scotland or another regulatory body. Compulsory GTC Scotland registration for these teachers was brought in by law and this came fully into effect in June 2021.
Today, it is a legal requirement for all those employed as teachers in local authority and independent schools to be registered with GTC Scotland.
As part of agreed national terms and conditions of employment, college lecturers must register with us.
You can check if an individual is registered with us via Search the Register.
A snapshot of the Register
The register is ‘live’, and changes every day as people come on to, and leave, the register.
The following figures are taken from our Annual Report 2021-22:
- There were 80,695 teachers and college lecturers registered with GTC Scotland.
- 1,321 people who qualified outside Scotland, applied for and gained registration with GTC Scotland. People who qualified outside Scotland account for around 11% of the register.
- 2,340 college lecturers applied for and registered with GTC Scotland via the College Lecturer Registration Programme. Following the introduction of the Standard for Provisional Registration (College Lecturers in Scotland) in February 2023, 3,500 more college lecturers are expected to register.
- 3,096 probationer teachers were awarded Full Registration via the Scottish Government Teacher Induction Scheme.
- 263 probationer teachers were awarded Full Registration via the Flexible Route.
- 137 teachers were awarded GTC Scotland’s Standard for Headship.
Fitness to Teach Hearings
Comment on cases
- We are unable to comment on individual Fitness to Teach cases for legal reasons.
- We cannot confirm what has been said in a hearing.
- We publish information about individual cases only where they reach a certain stage in the Fitness to Teach process.
- We cannot share further information about the hearing other than what has been published on the website.
- Notices of scheduled hearings will be added to the upcoming hearings up to 7 days before the hearing is due to take place to allow members of the public and media to attend.
- Hearings are held at our offices or on Microsoft Teams.
- The teacher or college lecturer will not be named in the hearing notice. Names of individuals are disclosed during the hearing and at the end of our Fitness to Teach process unless an Anonymity Order has been granted by a Panel.
- Information on the granting of an Anonymity Order, and examples of the reasons they are granted can be found in the Privacy and Anonymity Practice statement (PDF 126 KB).
Fitness to Teach Panels
- Fitness to Teach Panels decide the outcome of Fitness to Teach cases. Fitness to Teach Panels are made up of independent members. They decide the outcome of Fitness to Teach cases, according to a legal process and solely based on the evidence before them.
- There are at least three people on a Panel. There will always be a majority of registered teachers on every panel, and at least one non teacher (a lay person).
- Any action taken through our Fitness to Teach process must be proportionate, transparent, consistent and targeted where action is needed. The Fitness to Teach Panel will look at the shortfalls identified, alongside where the teacher is now. This includes considering what steps have been taken by the teacher to reflect on the issues, learn from them and make changes to ensure they will not happen again.
Fitness to Teach Statistics
- In 2021-22, we received 230 Fitness to Teach cases. Of these, 206 related to conduct and 17 to competence; 4 were registration reviews and 3 were subsequent registration applications.
- 54 cases were referred by the public, 51 by employers and 125 from other sources.
- We closed 174 cases.
- We received referrals in respect of 0.3% of our total number of registrants.
How to attend hearings
Members of the public and media are expected to give at least 2 working days’ notice to use if they wish to attend a hearing so we can make appropriate arrangements. Please follow the instructions within the specific hearing notice on our website.
When decisions are published
The Panel’s written decision will be published on our Recent Decisions page normally within 28 days of the conclusion of the hearing.
Links for more information on GTC Scotland
- Our Fitness to Teach Publication Policy sets out how we communicate information about our Fitness to Teach process and casework and what we publish.
- Our Fitness to Teach Threshold Policy explains what referrals we investigate and why.
- Latest news stories.
- Teaching Scotland Magazine.
- Corporate Publications.
- Freedom of Information Disclosure Log.