GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Professional values into action

The professional values are at the core of the Standards. The same values are reflected across the Standards and are relevant to all registered teachers regardless of post. Values are complex and they work to shape who we are as professionals.

The values are demonstrated through all our professional relationships and practices. The connections between values and practices need to be regularly considered over the course of an individual's career. This is an important part of being a critically reflective and enquiring professional.

The values can often be overlooked, become platitudes or 'hurrah' words. After all, who would not want to claim they are committed to 'social justice' or 'trust and respect'? They are all difficult areas to 'measure' and 'evidence' in practice. It is for these reasons that it is important we look at explicit ways in which we can:

  • reflect on the values
  • understand what they mean in practice
  • consider these as a meaningful part of our self evaluation and future planning for professional learning.

When thinking about the values you are often asking two important underpinning questions:

  1. Who am I as a professional?
  2. Why do I think/work in this way?

Many of the tools identified to support self evaluation can be usefully used to consider the values in action. However, it is helpful to identify some specific areas and question to focus upon.

We have taken each of the values and provided some focused reflective questions for you to consider in relation to your own practice. You might find using a self evaluation coaching wheel a useful tool to support your thinking about the values.

We have produced a learning resources to help you explore your professional values

There are also a number of ebooks available and education journals relevant to the key areas of the Professional Values, you may wish to view:

Values as stated in the Standards

Reflective questions and possible actions as an individual:
  • You might find it helpful to focus on one particular area of the values and use the question to explore that area in some depth
  • Alternatively you might like to consider just one aspect of your practice or a recent project and use some of the reflective questions below to help you consider the way the values are embedded into your actions.

As a line manager/reviewer supporting an individual:

  • You might find these questions useful prompts to facilitate a discussion as part of the PRD process to support an individual in thinking about their own practice.

Social Justice

  • Embracing locally and globally the educational and social values of sustainability, equality and justice and recognising the rights and responsibilities of future as well as current generations.
  • Committing to the principles of democracy and social justice through fair, transparent, inclusive and sustainable policies and practices in relation to: age, disability, gender and gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion and belief and sexual orientation.
  • Valuing as well as respecting social, cultural and ecological diversity and promoting the principles and practices of local and global citizenship for all learners.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to engaging learners in real world issues to enhance learning experiences and outcomes, and to encourage learning our way to a better future.
  • Respecting the rights of all learners as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and their entitlement to be included in decisions regarding their learning experiences and have all aspects of their well-being developed and supported.
  • If I am committed to social justice, what does that actually look like in my classroom/daily interactions with pupils/colleagues/school community?
  • What assumptions and judgements relating to social justice underpin my actions?
  • What challenges do I face?
  • If I focus on my commitment to social justice in practice what changes might I see/wish to see in my practice/with my learners/ colleagues in a year? Two years? Five years?
  • What can I begin to do to move towards that?
  • Am I aware of possible inequalities that might exist in my context? How would I recognise these? What might this look like in a different context?
  • What reading have I done to further inform me about these issues?
  • Are my own practices and assumptions inclusive? How do I know?
  • Do I believe that some things are unavoidable? Why do I think that?
  • Are there things outwith my control that limit or hinder my ability to be inclusive?
  • If things were within my control what would I do differently?
  • What small changes in practice might I be able to make?
  • Am I familiar with relevant polices? Do I agree with them? If so/not, why?
  • How do I interact with different individuals/groups? How are these interactions influence by my own beliefs and assumptions about social justice/ inclusion/ equality/ sustainability?
  • I led a project on LGBT issues with my S4 class – what was the impact of this work? To what extent did this allow an engagement with the issues and lead to changes in practice (my own/others)? Were my/others perceptions challenged by this work?
  • What does LfS mean in practice? We do a project on global citizenship/eco schools in our school - in what ways is that developing LfS for me and for learners? How is this embedded into practice?
  • I work with a colleague who demonstrates practices that are not inclusive. Do I support and/or challenge that colleague to think differently?


  • Demonstrating openness, honesty, courage and wisdom.
  • Critically examining personal and professional attitudes and beliefs and challenging assumptions and professional practice.
  • Critically examining the connections between personal and professional attitudes and beliefs, values and practices to effect improvement and, when appropriate, bring about transformative change in practice.
  • How open am I to questioning and changing my practices and thinking about my assumptions?
  • What do I need to do to support that? You might consider working in a small collaborative group; engaging in some reading; undertaking a small enquiry.
  • Do I feel confident to address certain issues with others (or with myself)? What might help? What challenges might I face in doing this? What skills might I need to draw upon to do that?
  • How do I feel when I come across reading or evidence that contradicts my position or practice? Why do I think like that?
  • If there is one area I would like to explore in terms of my own beliefs and assumptions what would it be? What would I really like to know? Why do I think that is important to me?
  • If I had the time, what would I do to explore this area? Now draw up a brief action plan of what you would like to do – start off small, you won't change the world in one go!
  • What professional learning might I undertake? Why would that be most useful?

Trust & Respect

  • Acting and behaving in ways that develop a culture of trust and respect through, for example, being trusting and respectful of others within the school, and with all those involved in influencing the lives of learners in and beyond the learning community.
  • Providing and ensuring a safe and secure environment for all learners within a caring and compassionate ethos and with an understanding of wellbeing.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to motivating and inspiring learners, acknowledging their social and economic context, individuality and specific learning needs and taking into consideration barriers to learning.
Think about your interactions and relationships with:

Colleagues/external partners:

  • How do you engage with people?
  • Do I treat everyone in the same way? Why and in what ways?
  • Are there some people I find it easier to work with? Why is that?
  • How might I interact differently with some people? What difference might this make?
  • Do I actively trust and respect others knowledge and actions? How does that impact on the relationship I have with them?

Pupils/learners/people you support:

  • Do I value all learners/people I support? In what ways?
  • Who do I find it challenging to support? Why is that? Do I need to know something more to help me work with those people? How might I interact differently?
  • Do I actively trust and respect others knowledge and actions? How does that impact on the relationship I have with them?
  • What professional learning might I undertake? Why would that be most useful?

Professional Commitment

  • Engaging with all aspects of professional practice and working collegiately with all members of our educational communities with enthusiasm, adaptability and constructive criticality.
  • Committing to lifelong enquiry, learning, professional development and leadership as core aspects of professionalism and collaborative practice.
  • Do I believe it is important to work collegiately? Why do I think that?
  • What does effective collegiate working look like?
  • What does poor practice look like?
  • How well do I provide opportunities for/engage in good collegiate working?
  • Is there anything I might do differently?
  • What could I do with colleagues to help us develop the way we work together?
  • Do I believe enquiry is important? Why do I think that?
  • Do I understand what enquiry means in practice? What would this look like for me?
  • In what ways am I committed to enquiry? How is this reflected in my practice? What might I do differently?
  • Who might I work with to develop this?
  • What reading might I engage in? What professional learning might I undertake? Why would that be most useful?


For further information about our Professional Standards, contact:

T: +44 (0)131 314 6000