Raise a concern as a member of the public

What we investigate

We investigate when an allegation is of a level of seriousness that we think a teacher or college lecturer is a risk to children, young people, students and/or colleagues. We also investigate where we think there is a potential risk to public confidence in the teaching profession.

We investigate when, based on the information received, we think there is a prospect that a teacher or college lecturer’s fitness to teach would be found to be impaired.

What you can raise a concern about

You can only refer a teacher or college lecturer to us about their conduct (the way they have behaved). Only employers can refer a teacher to us about that teacher’s competence (their skills, knowledge and ability to teach). If you have a concern about a teacher’s competence, you should raise this with their employer. Read more about the Fitness to Teach process before making a referral.

If, following an employers’ investigation, you believe that a serious concern about the teacher’s fitness to teach has not been properly or appropriately investigated by the employer, you can make a referral.

Our investigations are thorough, involving evidence gathering and hearings. As a professional regulatory body, our Fitness to Teach process is about managing the wider, future risk that a teacher poses. It is not a complaints resolution process, and it is not about punishing teachers for past events. We must only intervene when this is necessary. Teachers sometimes make mistakes or errors of judgement – these will not always mean that we need to take action. We must use our limited resources to focus on serious cases that require action by us and that cannot be managed at employer level or have been adequately dealt with in another forum e.g. the criminal courts.

Considerations before making a referral

If you are looking for advice on whether to make a referral, speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau. We must remain neutral throughout the process so we cannot provide individual guidance and support.

Check that the teacher is registered with us using Search the Register. We cannot investigate an allegation against a teacher that is not registered with us.

We do not investigate referrals:

  • on health grounds
  • made anonymously where the matter raised cannot be verified
  • made by a person who does not cooperate with our procedures
  • made anonymously where we cannot identify the teacher or college lecturer from the information supplied
  • that we have received and considered before. If the referral contains new information, we may re-consider

Referral FAQs

Yes. However, if you choose to remain anonymous and there is not enough information to progress the referral, we may close the case. Also, if we progress the case, we will not be able to contact you with updates.

No. Please take concerns about a teacher or college lecturer’s competence to the teacher/college lecturer and their employer.

Competence is a teacher’s knowledge, skills and ability to teach.

GTC Scotland must ensure that registered teachers meet the expected standard of professional competence and are fit to teach.

The Standard for Full Registration outlines the standard of professional competence expected of teachers who hold Full Registration. This must be read in conjunction with our Framework on Teacher Competence.

Yes, the teacher or college lecturer has a legal right to have sight of any information provided to us in a referral or gathered during an investigation. They may also submit a subject access request to access personal information that we hold about them.

No. Once you have made a referral we must consider if an investigation is required.

Submit your referral

Before making a referral ask yourself:

  • Have I raised the matter with the teacher or college lecturer concerned and the headteacher of the school or principal of the college?
  • Have I raised the matter with the employer?
  • Has the school, college or employer carried out an investigation? If so, what was the outcome of that investigation?
  • Have I raised a complaint with the employer and have I escalated this through each stage of that process, including to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman?
  • Have I read GTC Scotland’s Threshold Policy to see if the matter is “of a level of seriousness that it raises a concern that the teacher presents a risk to children and young people”.

If you have not taken these actions, we would encourage you to do so before submitting a referral form to us to ensure that we can focus on the right cases. It is likely that, if you have not taken these steps, we will not open the investigation on the basis that it is premature.