GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Professional values into action

The professional values of social justice, integrity, trust and respect and a professional commitment are at the core of the Professional Standards

The values are reflected across the Professional Standards and are relevant to all registered teachers regardless of post. Values are complex and work to shape who we are as professionals. The educational experiences of all our learners are shaped by the values and dispositions of all those who work to educated them. In recognition of the importance of professional values they have been placed at the heart of the Professional Standards.

A commitment to the values underpin the range of relationships, the thinking and professional practice of teachers across Scotland.

The Professional Values

  • Social Justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities now and in the future
  • Trust and Respect are expectations of positive actions that support authentic relationship building and show care for the need and feelings of the people involved and respect for our natural world and its limited resources
  • Integrity is the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values
  • Making a professional commitment to learning and learners that is compatible with the aspiration of achieving a sustainable and equitable world embodies what it is to be a teacher in Scotland.

The values:

  • help us develop our professional identity and ‘way of being’ as education professionals
  • develop and drive our individual and unswerving professional commitment to all our learners and colleagues
  • support and encourage us to see beyond the classroom or subject
  • help us to know and develop the whole child through addressing their individual needs
  • develop our understanding of our role in collaborative working with a range of partners
  • recognise the contribution that we can make to safeguarding or our young people and where necessary transform their lives

Demonstrating the Professional Values

The values are demonstrated through all our professional relationships and practices. The connections between values and practice 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?

There is a moral imperative that the values are enacted in our everyday practice within and beyond the school context.

Importantly, it is these values which help develop and deepen our teacher professionalism over the course of our career. Set in a professional context they encourage and support us to ask critical questions of and to constantly and consistently challenge our own beliefs and those of others. In doing this, we develop our professional insight and skills and consequently maintain our relevance to the education of the young people whom we serve.

In an ever-changing and challenging world it is teacher professionalism which is firmly rooted in a set of shared professional values that helps the young people of today become the thinking and responsible citizen of tomorrow. The Professional Values are at the core of being a teacher in Scotland.

Professional Guide: a Children's rights-based approach

This guide is linked to the professional values. It is intended to complement employer's policies and help teacher embed a children's rights-based approach and effective learner participation into their practice.