The General Teaching Council for Scotland

About the Standards

Videos

The following short animated videos provide a brief introduction to the GTCS Professional Standards. These Standards were launched in August 2013.

If you are having problems accessing the video, please click on the link below:

Professional Standards - About the Standards (WMV, 23MB)

You can also download the above video at a higher resolution by right clicking on the link below and selecting 'Save target as':

Professional Standards - About the Standards (MP4, 130MB)

We have created a compilation video which incorporates all aspects of the full suite of GTCS Professional Standards. You can view the compilation video below:

GTCS Suite of Standards - Compilation (WMV, 51MB)

You can also download the above video at a higher resolution by right clicking on the link below and selecting 'Save target as':

GTCS Suite of Standards - Compilation (MP4, 253MB)

The Revised Standards

The revised Professional Standards were approved at a full meeting of the GTCS Council, held on Wednesday 5 December 2012. Further guidance and support material is available throughout our Standards pages.

Our suite of Professional Standards have been revised in light of changing contexts within education and society. These complex, dynamic contexts mean that teachers in the 21st century need to be critically informed with professional values, knowledge and actions that ensure positive impact on learners and learning.

The revised suite of Professional Standards provides an opportunity to think differently about the purpose of Standards. The Standards for Registration provide a gate-keeping function for entry into teaching in Scotland and it should be noted that Full Registration continues to be the baseline Professional Standard for Competence. However, the other Standards go beyond the traditional view of a Standard as a benchmark of teacher competence, a concept which only applies to the Standards for Registration. For teachers who have achieved the Standard for Full Registration, we have developed Standards which offer constructive support for teachers as they consider how they might develop their professional knowledge and skills through on-going self-evaluation and professional learning.

Recognising the established strength of the teaching profession in Scotland as a secure platform on which to build, Teaching Scotland's Future (Scottish Government, 2011) affirmed the need to revise the Professional Standards. These revised standards support the creation of a reinvigorated approach to 21st century teacher professionalism, recognising the importance of teacher responsibility for, and ownership of, their professional learning. The teaching profession, working in partnership with other professions, has a moral imperative to secure the best learning opportunities and experiences for all learners in Scotland.

This reinvigorated approach to 21st century teacher professionalism is intended to "build the capacity of teachers, irrespective of career stage, to have high levels of pedagogical expertise, including deep knowledge of what they are teaching; to be self-evaluative; to be able to work in partnership with other professionals; and to engage directly with well-researched innovation." (Teaching Scotland's Future, 2011, p19)

Using the Standards

The suite of standards will be used for multiple purposes, including:

  • providing benchmarks for entry into the teaching profession
  • providing a benchmark for teacher competence (Standard for Full Registration)
  • providing a continuum for career-long learning and professional development
  • providing a framework for self-evaluation and reflection
  • designing and assessing professional learning programmes, including award bearing programmes
  • assisting with recruitment and selection processes
  • supporting teachers working in other educational settings, adapted as appropriate
  • informing discussion and debate about teacher standards and professionalism
  • informing Professional Review and Development (PRD) and Professional Update
  • informing discussion, debate and public expectations about teaching standards in schools and the wider education system

In addition, we use the Professional Standards to accredit programmes of study.

The Structure of the Suite of Professional Standards

This suite of Professional Standards provides a framework for teachers to examine, inform, and continually develop their thinking and practice. The suite includes:

  • The Standards for Registration (incorporating Provisional and Full Registration)
  • The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning
  • The Standards for Leadership and Management (incorporating Middle Leadership
    and Headship)

You can view the revised Professional Standards below:

Within this suite of Professional Standards there are a number of key themes.

Professional Values and Personal Commitment

Democratic values are at the heart of Scottish society. Therefore, Professional Values and Personal Commitment are at the core of this suite of Standards. They are integral to, and demonstrated through, all our professional relationships and practices. For the first time, the same values are replicated across each standard, in recognition that these are the same for all teachers, irrespective of experience and stage in career.

Leadership

We recognise that effective leadership depends on the principles of collegiality. All teachers have opportunities to be leaders. They lead learning for, and with, all learners with whom they engage. They also work with and support the development of colleagues and other partners. Different forms of leadership are expressed across the suite of Professional Standards including leadership for learning, teacher leadership and working collegiately to build leadership capacity in others.

Registration and Standards Rules

The new suite of GTCS Professional Standards has had a minor impact on the content of the Registration and Standards Rules. These Rules, amongst other things, set out the criteria for registration as well as criteria for the award of the Standard for Headship.

The Rules will be updated in due course alongside changes required for the introduction of Professional Update. In the meantime, please note that:

  • references in the Rules to the 'Standard for Initial Teacher Education' should be interpreted as the 'Standard for Provisional Registration'; and
  • references in the Rules to the 'Standard for Headship' should be interpreted with reference to the relevant sections of the 'Standards for Leadership and Management'.

FAQ's

We have been working in partnership with the education community to revise our Professional Standards for teachers. The revised Professional Standards were approved at a full meeting of our Council on 5 December 2012 and came into effect on 1 August 2013.

  • The revised suite of Professional Standards provides an opportunity to think differently about the purpose of Standards. They go beyond the traditional view of a Standard as a benchmark of teacher competence, a concept which only applies to the Standard for Registration. For teachers who have already achieved the Standard for Full Registration, the Standards provide constructive support for teachers as they consider how they might develop their professional skills and, importantly, national recognition of the high-quality professional learning which many teachers engage in throughout their careers.

    The suite of Standards will therefore be used for multiple purposes, including:

    • providing benchmarks for entry into Initial Teacher Education and the teaching profession
    • providing a benchmark for teacher competence (Standard for Full Registration)
    • providing a continuum for career-long learning and professional development
    • providing a framework for self-evaluation and reflection
    • designing and assessing professional learning programmes, including award bearing programmes
    • assisting with recruitment and selection processes
    • supporting teachers working in other educational settings, adapted as appropriate
    • informing discussion and debate about teacher standards and professionalism
    • informing Professional Review and Development (PRD) and Professional Update
    • informing discussion, debate and public expectations about teaching standards in schools and the wider education system.

    In addition, GTC Scotland uses the Professional Standards to accredit programmes of study.

  • The suite of Professional Standards has been developed to support teachers at all stages of their career. They recognise the importance of teacher responsibility for, and ownership of, their professional learning. The Standard for Provisional Registration has an important gate-keeping role for entry to the profession, and the Standard for Full Registration remains the benchmark for teacher competence throughout a teacher's career. The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning and the Standards for Leadership and Management have been developed to support teacher self-evaluation and professional learning for teachers who wish to develop beyond the Standard for Full Registration.
  • The GTC Scotland framework of Professional Standards has been revised in the light of changing contexts within education and society. Scotland already has very able teachers whose professional values, knowledge and actions make a positive impact on learners and learning. However, the complex dynamic nature of education and society now mean that, increasingly, teachers need to be critically informed adaptive experts.

    In addition, Teaching Scotland's Future (Scottish Government, 2011) affirmed the need to revise the current Professional Standards, while recognising the established strength of the Teaching Profession in Scotland as a secure platform on which to build. The revised Professional Standards support the creation of a reinvigorated approach to 21st century teacher professionalism, which is built on the important principle that teachers should have responsibility for, and ownership of, their own professional learning. When supported to meet the needs they have identified, teachers will secure the best learning opportunities and experiences for all learners in Scotland.

  • The revised Professional Standards, which came into effect on 1 August 2013, were produced by three writing groups, supported by a steering group consisting of representatives of all the key stakeholders in Scottish education including the trade unions, classroom teachers, Scottish Government, Education Scotland and others.

  • Principles

    The Professional Standards aim to provide a coherent framework to support teachers at all stages in their careers. The same values have been incorporated in each of the standards, as have leadership and sustainability.

    The Standards for Registration

    The revised Standards for Registration incorporate the Standard for Provisional Registration and the Standard for Full Registration. The Standard for Provisional Registration outlines what is expected of a teacher at the end of Initial Teacher Education and the Standard for Full Registration outlines what is expected of a teacher at the end of their probationary period, as well as what all teachers are expected to maintain and enhance over the course of their careers. By including these two standards in one document, we have attempted to demonstrate the expected progression in the early phase of a teacher's professional learning.

    The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning

    This standard aims to support teachers to develop and advance their thinking, learning, practice and expertise throughout their careers. The actions, knowledge, skills and abilities identified in the Standard for Full Registration will continue to be the foundation of good practice. Teachers who choose to work with this new standard will evolve and develop their expertise beyond the baseline level of the registered teacher. The standard recognises that during their careers teachers may undertake a variety of roles within and beyond the classroom. It also recognises the potential leadership roles that all teachers have.

    Standards for Leadership and Management

    The revised Standards for Leadership and Management have been extended from the previous Standard for Headship to include a standard for Middle Leadership, as well as an updated Standard for Headship, in order to meet the needs of all teachers in, or aspiring to, formal leadership roles in our schools.

  • GTC Scotland undertook a consultation on the review of their Professional Standards from 29 August until 6 November 2012. In addition to a news release to all media contacts, this was publicised through Teaching Scotland, the GTC Scotland website, the regular e-newsletter and the social medium Twitter. GTC Scotland also wrote directly to stakeholder groups to encourage participation in the consultation process.

    The consultation offered a range of opportunities by which people could respond: an online survey, three regional meetings and a series of Glow Meets organised in partnership with Education Scotland. The consultation report summarises statistical data arising from analysis of the responses received to the questionnaire and includes data from the online survey responses and from some written responses received by email or in hard copy. We analysed the qualitative data arising from the written responses in the comments boxes of the survey and from other evidence.

  • The standards have been designed to support self-evaluation and professional learning. Therefore they will provide you with a resource to help you evaluate your learning and your practice, for example in planning your professional learning as part of the ongoing process of Professional Review and Development. You will find helpful information on how you might use each of our Standards, depending on your role in the Scottish Education system on our website at:

    Uses for Professional Standards

  • We have published a wide range of information about the new Professional Standards.

    Teaching Scotland magazine and its online equivalent www.teachingscotland.org.uk carries regular articles to update teachers and other stakeholders about developments.

    Our main website: www.gtcs.org.uk/standards has a dedicated area to the Professional Standards.

    We will also be providing information via Twitter where our hash tag is: @GTCS

    Should you require more information please contact our Customer Service Team via email at gtcs@gtcs.org.uk or by telephone on 0131 314 6080.

Contacts

For further information about our Professional Standards, contact:

T: +44 (0)131 314 6000

E: standards@gtcs.org.uk