Panel Consideration Meetings
If, following our Investigations Process we believe it is in the public interest to continue the process, and that there is enough evidence to support the allegation, the paper work is considered by a Panel at a Panel Consideration Meeting.
Panels make sure that the Fitness to Teach process is fair, transparent and proportionate.
They include at least three people. The majority will be registered teachers and college lecturers and there will be at least one non-teacher. It’s important to have a non-teacher as they bring a different perspective. Panel members are independent and are not GTC Scotland employees.
They are supported by a GTC Scotland Servicing Officer, who advises the Panel on any procedural matters, and an independent Legal Assessor to advise on legal matters.
Panel decisions are reached according to the principles of proportionality and fairness and with the reason for fitness to teach in mind, which is upholding trust in the teaching profession.
The Panel will consider all the information gathered through the investigation process and decide what action is appropriate to take next.
The Panel uses Practice Statements as a framework for their decision.
How are Panel consideration meetings held?
They are held in private. The teacher or college lecturer, their representative, employer, and witnesses are not allowed to attend.
The Panel will make its decision purely based on the written material placed before it.
The written material includes:
- the Investigation Report and evidence.
- any response and evidence the teacher or college lecturer has asked to be considered.
The Panel Consideration Practice Statement explains in more detail what the Panel does. It also explains the factors a Panel will consider in reaching a decision at this stage. This is a helpful document to read to help understand more about the process.
Possible outcomes of a Panel Consideration Meeting
This outcome will be chosen when the Panel decides that:
- the case should not have been investigated as it does not meet the threshold
- there is insufficient evidence to prove the facts alleged
- the referral is malicious or
- fitness to teach is not impaired
This outcome will be chosen when the Panel decides it needs more information to make a decision. The case is considered again once this information has been received and shared with the teacher or college lecturer.
A consent order lists the allegation(s) and the outcome offered by the Panel and asks the teacher or college lecturer to either:
- agree with the allegations and accept the outcome. The Fitness to Teach process will end.
- disagree/agree with the allegations and not accept the outcome. The Fitness to Teach process continues.
Panels issue consent orders in line with our Indicative Outcomes Guidance.
There are four types of consent order:
- Conditional Registration Order;
- Reprimand and Conditional Registration Order;
More information on each type of consent order is below.
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.
Conditional Registration Order
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.
Conditional Registration Order and Reprimand
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.
Removal with Consent
If a Panel decides that a teacher or college lecturer is currently unfit to teach and the teacher or college lecturer admits to the allegation(s) in full, it issues a removal consent order.
A removal order can be offered even when found fit to teach.
If the teacher or college lecturer does not accept the order, the case is [referred to a hearing].
The panel can refer the allegation on for a Full Hearing.