GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Leadership in the Professional Standards

The Professional Standards have a cross cutting theme of leadership of and for learning.

Leadership is one of the central underpinning and interconnecting themes within the suite of Professional Standards and is a key aspect of teacher professionalism. The Professional Standards place all teachers as leaders of and for learning. They lead learning for, and with, all learners and they work with and support the development of colleagues and other partners.

'Upholding the professional values of social justice, trust and respect and integrity requires a commitment to leadership that inspires confidence and encourages aspiration. This commitment underpins leadership of learning in all contexts and change for improvement. It values the contribution of others, challenges biases and assumptions and applies critical thinking to make effective decisions, in the interests of maintaining and improving the quality of education and leading to improved outcomes for all children and young people in Scotland.

'The professional commitment of teachers in Scotland is to lead learning through:

  • developing deep knowledge of learning and teaching
  • critically examining how our teaching impacts on learners; and
  • using evidence collaboratively to inform teacher judgement and next steps for learners.'

- GTC Scotland Professional Standards Page 5

Equating leadership solely with the actions of those in formal leadership positions is, according to Spillane (2013), inadequate as leadership involves many leaders, some with, and some without, formal leadership positions: ‘It is not the actions of individuals, but the interactions among them, that are critical in leadership practice’.  Teachers learn with and from each other and their collaborative endeavours contribute to the professional learning and development of colleagues, student teachers and the wider learning community.

Practitioner Enquiry

Teacher leadership is core to the principle of practitioner enquiry. Practitioner enquiry involves teachers questioning their own educational beliefs, assumptions, values and practices. Through adopting an enquiring stance to challenge and inform their professional practice, teachers individually and collaboratively develop knowledge to enhance, progress and lead the learning experiences of all their learners, including colleagues and partners.

Standard for Middle Leadership and Standard for Headship

The Standard for Middle Leadership and Standard for Headship recognise that effective leadership depends on the principles of collegiality and that all teachers should have opportunities to be leaders, who lead learning for, and with, all learners. These Professional Standards focus on developing teacher leadership and working collegially to build leadership capacity in others.

Leadership in the National Model of Professional Learning

The National Model of Professional Learning places the teacher at the centre as the lead leaner and explores the dynamic relationship between the learning of children, young people and adult learners and the teacher’s professional learning.

The model also positions ‘Leadership of and for learning’ as key, placing teachers as the drivers and enactors of change for improvement through their commitment to their own ongoing professional learning and development within and beyond their classrooms.

Examples of leadership of and for learning

Excellence in Professional Learning Awards

Our Excellence in Professional Learning Award for Schools and Learning Communities recognises schools and learning communities which promote, support and lead professional learning which has significant and sustained impact on teachers, classroom practice and pupil learning.

In these clips from some of our previous award winners, teachers discuss the importance of leadership of and for learning.

Windygoul Primary School, East Lothian
Dunbar Primary School, East Lothian
References: Spillane, J. (2013) The practice of leading and managing teaching in educational organisations, in Leadership for 21st Century Learning, Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing, pp. 60-77