The General Teaching Council for Scotland

How do I engage with the Standards?

Actively engaging with the Standards is a central part of the process of being a teacher and of the Professional Update process. Whatever your role, the Standards are there to be used positively; to encourage you to think critically; to allow you to reflect on your professional practice and thinking and to consider and plan your professional learning.

Each of the Standards covers three key areas:

  • Professional Values and Personal Commitment
  • Professional Knowledge and Understanding
  • Professional Skills and Abilities

Using the Standards to support reflection and self evaluation

As an individual, you will engage in self reflection and self evaluation using the Standards, as part of the Professional Update process, to think about and ask yourself challenging questions about such areas as your values, your knowledge and skills at present and where you would wish to develop and deepen these further.

The Standards can support you and help structure your thinking and so help you to plan your professional learning and consider the impact of this learning on yourself and your pupils:

  • What is the focus of my Professional Learning?
  • What type of Professional Learning?
  • How will I know that my learning is addressing pupil needs?

As a line manager, the Standards offer you as a reviewer an opportunity to frame and have a focussed and meaningful professional discussion; ask challenging questions; identify successes and encourage focus on learning and impact.

A Standards Toolkit has been developed to support you in becoming familiar with the Standards; using the Standards either individually, or together or by theme.

The following resources may be of use:

Overview of the Standards Link

Discussion and debate: Opportunities for Line Managers/Reviewers

The Standards can be very effectively used to stimulate discussion and debate on many levels. You can make good use of the Standards to encourage collegiate activities be that at stage, departmental, school, organisational or local authority level.

They offer consistency and a common language which allows for opportunities to explore issues and engage in deep enquiry and discussion. An example of this would be to frame the discussions around the School Improvement Plan or a specific area of the School Improvement Plan around specific areas of the suite of Standards.

Importantly too, the Standards can be used not only on a formal level to support discussion but they can also be used at an informal level such as in the course of a working group.

The following resources may be of use:

Focussed and planned PRD: reviewer and reviewees using the Standards

Using the Standards as a framework for a PRD discussion can be a very positive experience for both the reviewee and reviewer.

For the reviewee

As a result of your self evaluation you can consider and identify:

  • what you need to know/learn to develop and improve your own learning and/or pupil learning;
  • why it is important to you;
  • how you know.

For the reviewer

As a reviewer taking a coaching approach and framing the questions around the Standards provides an opportunity to share thinking, reflections and practice, explore of views and identify impact. As a reviewer you can offer a reviewee support in a PRD meeting by encouraging them to work across the Standards. This supports discussion about the differences between the Standards in different areas and what learning and action could be undertaken, why a reviewee wishes to focus or develop a particular aspect and consider how this may be further enhanced or challenged.

As part of its work on Professional Update we has developed a set of Reflective questions which may help to support you to consider and plan your professional learning and development and practice related to the Professional Standards. They are intended to provide areas for reflection and self evaluation. The reflective questions may be useful for both reviewers and reviewees.

The following resources may be of use:

You may wish to create opportunities for individuals to explore aspects of the standards in more detail. We have developed some suggested professional learning sessions that might help support this engagement:


For further information about our Professional Standards, contact:

T: +44 (0)131 314 6000