24th January 2023
GTC Scotland News

The teaching profession on the International Day of Education

To mark the International Day of Education, Dr Pauline Stephen, Chief Executive and Registrar of GTC Scotland, has written to Scottish Parliament’s Education, Children and Young People Committee on the role of the Teaching Profession.

Tuesday 24 January is UNESCO’s International Day of Education and this year’s theme is “to invest in people, prioritise education”.  

As the teaching profession’s independent registration and regulation body, GTC Scotland would say “to prioritise education, invest in its people”.  

Scotland’s teaching profession is a mature one.  

It was in 1961 that teachers, concerned about the increasing number of uncertified teachers in Scotland’s schools, packed into a hall in Glasgow to debate setting up a Scottish Teachers’ Council. They wanted similar control over their profession as doctors and accountants had over theirs.  

We have a long track record of ensuring standards for the teaching profession – agreed entry criteria, shared professional standards and a code of conduct, a commitment to ongoing learning and a system of professional regulation. Teachers’ registration fees pay for this work. 

Trust in teachers 

An effective education system is trusted. This starts with a recognition of trusted teaching. Nearly everyone has experienced teaching, not everyone can teach. Teaching is a profession rooted in understanding about pedagogy. We have high standards for Scotland’s teaching profession for a reason.  

We are undergoing a period of reform in Scottish education and with that comes opportunity.  

A future vision needs to speak up for and trust teachers. It needs to give policy about teaching back to our profession with the appropriate space to think and teach with impact.  

The system needs to allow for disciplined innovation and to start focusing on what works in which context for which learners. 

It requires recognition that teachers are not merely policy implementers; they create, enact and leverage policy in their settings for their learners and communities. Teachers are curriculum makers.  

The potential of the profession to do this needs to be unlocked. The professional and social capital teachers bring to their work is integral to successful and effective teaching and learning and, through this, positive outcomes for learners. 

Read our full response to the National Discussion on the Future Vision for Scottish Education (PDF 173 KB)

You can find out more about our work over the last year in our Annual Review.  

In April we will publish our new Strategic Plan. In it we will set out how, as the teaching profession’s independent registration and regulation body, we will realise our vision of trusted teaching.   

Yours sincerely, 

Dr Pauline Stephen,  

Chief Executive and Registrar,  

GTC Scotland 

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