Information for referred teachers and college lecturers
The information below is for referred teachers and college lecturers. We have tried to cover common concerns and questions. If you have any other questions, please contact the Regulatory Investigations Officer dealing with your case.
We are required legally to investigate and determine the fitness to teach of registered teachers, college lecturers and applicants for registration.
We investigate fitness to teach referrals that we receive if they meet our threshold for investigation.
If we decide that an investigation is not needed, your registration will remain unaffected. No information about the referral will be made public. We will inform any current employer.
The allegations in the referral did not meet our threshold for investigation. Find out more about these criteria in our Threshold Policy.
We keep this for 15 years in line with our Records Management Policy. This ensures that we have a record of it should someone submit the same concerns later. Referrals that have already been made, received, and considered by us will not be investigated by us unless re-consideration of that decision is in the public interest.
This ensures that we are fulfilling our regulatory function following the law openly.
We understand that this can be a stressful time. We recommend that you take part in the Fitness to Teach process. Your participation is critical for the right outcome to be reached. We encourage you to engage early with the investigation and supply as much relevant information and insight as possible.
We investigate to find out what has happened and establish what action, if any, should be taken in the public interest. At the start of the investigation, we inform you, your employer and the referrer that an investigation has begun. You have 14 days to supply an initial response to the allegation.
We will gather information that is relevant to the allegations to establish if your fitness to teach is impaired. Alongside looking into whether what is alleged happened, we will be looking into your fitness to teach now. If you recognise that you have made a mistake or have done something wrong, we will investigate what you have done to:
- reflect openly and honestly on events,
- learn and make changes to ensure there will be no repetition.
We strongly encourage you to take part in the process. Our Regulation Team is there to help ease your participation in the process and will answer your questions and concerns.
If you decide that you do not want to take part, please contact us in writing. We will only contact you when we are legally required to do so (for example, when an outcome is reached).
You may be reading this following our initial letter to tell you that an investigation is starting. You will find an Information Form attached.
This form is an opportunity for you to supply your first thoughts about the information that has been referred to us. We may use what you tell us to help inform our investigation and ensure we gather all relevant information.
- you might admit all or part of what happened which will help bring the investigation process to a conclusion quicker.
- You might know of someone that saw what happened or was involved and want to highlight this to us to ensure that we speak to them as part of our investigation process.
It is up to you whether you want to engage with us in this way. You might feel that you are not able to respond, have nothing to say or do not want to say anything. It is fine for you to take this position. You will have the opportunity to respond again at a later stage once we have carried out investigations.
We cannot advise on what to include in your statement.
We will investigate. This includes reading the Information form.
Once the investigation is complete, we will send you a report containing the information that we have gathered. You may be provided with an Interim Report, in which case you will have 28 days to provide a response. We will consider that response and will then produce a Final Report.
You then have 28 days to submit a final response for the Panel to consider if you choose to do so.
Find out more about panel meetings.
Representation and other support for referred teachers and college lecturers
You have the right to represent yourself throughout the process. We recommend that you get help from a representative. The representative does not need to be legally qualified.
A representative can help make things a lot less stressful than managing on your own.
There are several options for representation available to you:
- If you are a member of a union or professional association, they will often be able to represent you.
- A solicitor who has experience in Fitness to Teach (or professional regulatory) hearings. The Law Society of Scotland may help you to find a solicitor. If you are worried about how you would be able to pay a solicitor’s fees, check if you have legal expenses cover through any of your insurance policies.
- The Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
- A family member or friend who is confident in carrying out this kind of role.
- Your employer may be able to offer advice and support.
- Association of Headteachers & Deputes in Scotland (AHDS)
- Citizen’s Advice Scotland
- Community the Union (formerly Voice)
- The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)
- The Education Institute of Scotland Further Education Lecturers Association (EIS-FELA)
- Law Society of Scotland
- National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)
- National Education Union
- School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
- Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA)
We know that being involved in the fitness to teach process may be stressful. The following services are available to you if you need them.
Education Support: 08000 562 561
Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87
The Samaritans: 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Turn2us (0808 802 2000) is a free service that helps people in financial need access welfare benefits, charitable grants, and other financial help. Turn2us works in partnership with Teacher Support Scotland regarding the financial concerns of teachers.