We become aware of concerns through referrals. These are usually from employers, Disclosure Scotland and members of the public. Teachers and college lecturers may also refer themselves.

We investigate and make decisions about a registered teacher or college lecturer’s fitness to teach in line with our Fitness to Teach Rules. The Fitness to Teach Rules set out the process we follow.

The aim of the rules is to allow GTC Scotland, with the help of the parties involved, to deal with cases fairly and justly.

This means dealing with a case in ways which:

  • are proportionate to the complexity of the issues; 
  • seek informality and flexibility in proceedings;
  • ensure that parties can take part in proceedings; and 
  • avoid delay, as far as possible.

When we receive a referral, we review the allegations. We use our Threshold Policy to decide if we should investigate.

Saying that a teacher or college lecturer’s fitness to teach is impaired is a serious matter. You are alleging that they have done something that raises concerns about their ongoing fitness to teach and they are a risk, now and in the future.

The purpose of an investigation is to find out what has happened and establish if action should be taken in the public interest.

We gather information to establish if the teacher or college lecturer’s fitness to teach is impaired.

We approach the investigation process in a neutral way.

We are not investigating to build a case for or against the teacher or college lecturer.

Our approach to Fitness to Teach 

We approach our Fitness to Teach casework by targeting our work only where action is necessary and proportionate. These requirements are set out in law. As a result, while we take all referrals and information that we receive about teachers seriously, we do not investigate all referrals we receive.

Members of the public must first raise concerns about a teacher or college lecturer with their employer, if there is one.  This is best regulatory practice.

We stay neutral throughout the process and gather all the relevant information. We work to ensure that the right outcomes are reached in the public interest.

Our Regulatory Investigations Officers are investigative specialists and generally come from a legal or criminal justice career background.

We appoint external solicitors, who we call ‘Presenting Officers’, to present the cases that reach a hearing.

Our Fitness to Teach process must meet human rights law – the right to a fair trial (Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights).

Fitness to Teach Panels decide the outcome of Fitness to Teach cases. Panel members are independent. Panels reach outcomes according to a legal process and solely based on the evidence before them.

Our Fitness to Teach process is independent from any other processes including employer, police and criminal court processes. It focuses on ensuring the maintenance of our teaching standards.

We carry out our own investigations. We cannot rely on findings made by others, with some limited exceptions, for example criminal convictions.

Read the Fitness to Teach Rules and Policies to find out more about how we investigate and make decisions about fitness to teach.

Find out more about what we investigate and the investigation process.