Fitness to Teach Panel hearings are held to decide if an applicant for registration, a registered teacher or registered college lecturer is fit to teach.
A minority of referrals (about 10%) are brought before a hearing.
Hearings take place in-person or online.
This is a formal and legal process. We try to ensure all information is presented to allow the Panel to make a fair and proper decision. The process for hearings is set in the Fitness to Teach Rules.
A Presenting Officer will share evidence and information in a neutral way.
A Panel will consider all information presented, the wider context and any steps taken by the teacher or college lecturer to address concerns since the allegation took place.
The Panel uses Practice Statements as a framework when making their findings.
If the decision is to either refuse or remove registration, the applicant, teacher or college lecturer has the right to appeal that decision to the Court of Session.
Possible Outcomes of Hearings
The panel finds that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove the allegations made.
The Panel finds that some of the allegations were proved, but there is no current impairment of fitness to teach. Panels usually make this decision because the teacher has shown insight and addressed the areas of concern identified in the allegation.
In the most severe cases, when a teacher or college lecturer falls significantly short of the standards expected, they are unfit to teach and must be removed from the Register of Teachers.
If a teacher or college lecturer is removed from or refused entry to GTC Scotland’s register, they cannot be legally employed as a teacher or college lecturer in any educational establishment in Scotland.
Removal or refusal also has implications for employment in other countries within the UK. The teacher or college lecturer has a right of appeal to the Court of Session.
A reprimand is recorded in the Register against a teacher or college lecturer’s name for a specified period of the time.
Teachers or college lecturers who are given a reprimand continue to have Full Registration and are able to teach. The reprimand will appear on their entry on the Register.
A Panel may impose a reprimand where most or all of the following factors are present:
- The matter does not constitute an abuse of a position of trust;
- Harm has not been caused to a child/learner;
- The matter has been admitted;
- The teacher or college lecturer has reflected on the matter, shows genuine remorse and has taken steps to properly address the issue(s);
- The matter represents an isolated incident;
- There has been no repetition of the matter at issue since the incident concerned;
- There is evidence attesting to the good character and history of the teacher or college lecturer; and
- A reprimand is in the public interest: it appropriately indicates to the profession and the public the seriousness of the matter, therefore maintaining public confidence in the teaching profession.
A conditional registration order imposes conditions that the teacher or college lecturer must follow to maintain registration. The Panel decides what conditions should be imposed and for what period.
A conditional registration order may be imposed where:
- It is possible to identify specific areas of the teacher or college lecturer’s practice that are remediable and that could be effectively, appropriately and practically controlled or restricted;
- It will adequately protect learners from risk of educational harm;
- The teacher or college lecturer shows the potential and willingness to respond positively to the imposition of conditions on their registration;
- The teacher or college lecturer shows sufficient insight to suggest that they will be able to comply with conditions; and
- It will maintain public confidence in the teaching profession.
A Panel can impose both a Conditional Registration Order and a Reprimand.
They can do so when they feel:
- this outcome would appropriately communicate to the profession and the public the gravity of the allegations and support public confidence in the teaching profession.
- there is at least one area of the matters at issue that is not remediable or effectively, appropriately and practically controlled or restricted by imposing only a conditional registration order.