19th September 2023
GTC Scotland News

GTC Scotland announces George D Gray Award winner

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland) has awarded the George D Gray CBE MA Award to Queen Margaret University graduate Lauren Thomson. 

The George D Gray Award recognises the most distinguished assignment by a student teacher completing an undergraduate Primary teacher education programme in Scotland.   

Assignments are judged on: academic distinction; how the research and thinking involved aligns with the Standard for Provisional Registration; and how the candidates for the award have demonstrated their preparedness for entering the induction phase of their teaching career. The Standard for Provisional Registration is the benchmark of competence required of all student teachers who are seeking provisional registration with GTC Scotland and outlines what is required to become a teacher in Scotland. 

Lauren graduated with a BA (Hons) Education Studies and is now completing her probation at Letham Mains Primary School in Haddington, East Lothian. 

In her dissertation, How Can Teachers Challenge Homophobic Attitudes in the Classroom?, Lauren undertook a review of international literature about homophobic attitudes across primary and secondary schools. 

She focused on four main areas:  

  • representation in the curriculum;  
  • teacher’s own confidence in challenging homophobic attitudes;  
  • teachers’ own identities; and  
  • school input through policy and ethos.  

Lauren said: “My inspiration to focus on this subject stemmed from a mixture of a passion towards a relationship-based ethos, as well as personal and professional observations of homophobic attitudes in classrooms. 

“I think this research process and my time spent with this topic will positively influence my teaching throughout my career. It has provided me with transferable positive associations underpinning respect and a greater confidence when delivering topics such as diversity, inclusion and conflict.” 

GTC Scotland Chief Executive and Registrar Dr Pauline Stephen said “As a judging panel, we were delighted to see the high quality and calibre of research being performed by Scotland’s student teachers. 

“Lauren’s dissertation reflected the Professional Values of social justice, integrity, trust and respect. These values are at the core of the Professional Standards for Scotland’s Teachers. 

“The panel felt that Lauren’s dissertation offered a powerful contribution to what it means to become a teacher in Scotland. In particular, the panel reflected that her thesis presented a unique reflection on personal and professional identity as a developing teacher and could provide a useful tool for reflection.” 

The assignments were judged by an experienced panel: Dr Pauline Stephen and GTC Scotland Council members Omar Kettlewell and Nuzhat Uthmani who are both primary school teachers. 

Equality and diversity in teaching 

The Professional Standards for Teachers include a section ‘Being a teacher in Scotland’, which outlines the professional value of social justice which includes a focus on fair, transparent, inclusive, and sustainable policies and practices in relation to protected characteristics”.  

GTC Scotland produced ‘Equality and Diversity: a guide for teachers’, to support teachers to promote and embed equality and diversity in their teaching. 

Read more about  Lauren and her work in Teaching Scotland magazine. 

Read Lauren’s dissertation

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