GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

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Professional Review and Development

Registered lecturers are entitled to actively engage in a Professional Review and Development (PRD) process with their employer. This process should involve ongoing professional dialogue and registered lecturers and their line managers (reviewers) should meet at least once a year to record discussions in line with PRD and Professional Update (PU) policy.

PRD is central to enhancing lecturer professionalism. Positively engaging with PRD while using the Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland’s Colleges helps to scaffold, support and empower lecturers to be critically reflective of their thinking and practice, and enhances lecturer professionalism to ultimately best serve learners across Scotland.

PRD and professional learning are central to the principles of the teaching profession. A high-quality and valued ongoing PRD process within each college is central to maximising professional learning opportunities, the student experience and to support ongoing strategic development in colleges.

PRD provides lecturers, throughout the year, with ongoing opportunities to reflect on their practice and professional learning, punctuated with ongoing dialogue with colleagues and their reviewer, supported by annual review meetings between reviewee and line manager (reviewer).

When set within a culture and climate of professional trust, where everyone has a shared understanding of its purpose, high-quality PRD empowers lecturers, whether they are reviewers or reviewees, to be leaders ‘of and for’ learning.

This engagement helps lecturers to plan for improvement and become even better. It also promotes inclusion and enables lecturers to best meet the increasingly diverse needs of all learners.

Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland's Colleges  are core to the being, knowing and doing that is lecturer professionalism. These standards make useful vital connections between ongoing professional learning, PRD and PU.

Through actively engaging in self-evaluation across the standards and ongoing dialogue, lecturers can become agents of change, develop an enquiring mindset and take ownership of their learning journey.

Professional Update validation is a quality mark confirmed by GTC Scotland. It is awarded to colleges and employers following successful validation of their PRD and PU processes.

The review benchmarks college PRD policies and systems against the national criteria for Professional Update for Colleges.

This validation process 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;
  • consider the impact their professional learning has had on their thinking and professional practice.

Professional Update revalidation will usually take place every five years as part of GTC Scotland quality assurance procedures. Revalidation could also take place earlier in the event of significant changes being made to PU and PRD processes, There will be continued support and engagement from GTC Scotland.

GTC Scotland began a national review of college PRD and PU policies in 2015 and expects to finish this review in 2021-22 to support all colleges in Scotland to be awarded PU validation.

Through working with the college sector, GTC Scotland has identified key features which are often prominent in a high-quality system of Professional Review and Development (PRD) within a college:

  • A focus on self-evaluation across Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland’s Colleges
  • Ongoing engagement in meaningful professional learning and reflection
  • Coaching conversations taking place which support professional development
  • Support for strategic development across the college and wider learning community
  • Celebrations of success and planning for future next steps
  • Nurturing of lecturer professionalism to build professional capital

Colleges have a responsibility to encourage and support a culture of professional learning and development through all their systems and wider engagements and to invest in a robust PRD system which shows commitment to the professional development of all lecturers.

To support this colleges are encouraged to adopt a robust and systematic approach to developing coaching approaches, including providing quality training opportunities.