Professional Learning and Leadership Awards
GTC Scotland’s Awards celebrate, promote and encourage professionalism and professional learning at all stages of a teaching professional’s career.
The awards place a spotlight on the excellent work taking place in our classrooms, schools, colleges, universities, local authorities, education organisations and across a range of partnerships.
This award celebrates and recognises schools and learning communities that promote, support and lead professional learning which has a significant and sustained impact on teachers, classroom practice and pupil learning.
Awarded annually, schools and learning communities hold this award.
This award celebrates organisations that support and promote teacher professional learning. The award identifies organisations that aim through their work: “to develop and enhance teachers’ knowledge, expertise and skill; [and] develop their professionalism, and to impact positively on learning experiences and outcomes of children and young people” National Professional Learning Model.
GTC Scotland welcomes submissions from organisations that support and promote teacher professional learning.
Upcoming PLA for Organisations panel dates
- 8 February 2022
- 15 March 2022
- 19 May 2022
- 6 June 2022
- 14 September 2022
- 20 October 2022
- 17 November 2022
Professional Learning Award for Organisation recipients can use the GTC Scotland Professional Recognition Quality Mark.
Previous recipients of the award
Dyslexia Scotland is a national Scottish charity which aims to inspire and enable people with dyslexia, regardless of age and ability, to reach their potential in education, employment and life. It provides information, advice, training and support for people with dyslexia and those who support them in their life, learning and work.
Our Strategic Aims and Strategic Plan for 2018 – 2021 can be found here
As part of our second strategic aim, ‘To influence and achieve national and local positive change’, we work closely with partners such as the Scottish Government, Education Scotland, GTCS, CLD Standards for Scotland. For example, we are a key partner in a national collaborative working group taking forward the 5 interlinked recommendations of a 2014 Education Scotland review, ‘Making Sense: Education for children and young people with dyslexia in Scotland’
Our Professional learning programmes for teachers include:
- Annual Education Conference
- Online Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit and 3 online badged Dyslexia and inclusive practice modules
- Masterclasses (separate ones for teachers and for parents)
- Downloadable fact sheet resources, access to a dyslexia resource library
- Dyslexia awareness training and Helpline support
- Our Ambassadors and Young Ambassadors give powerful presentations at a wide range of events about their personal and family experiences of dyslexia
- Professional learning seminars twice a year for the tutors on our national Dyslexia Tutor list
- We manage three websites, all of which are useful resources for teachers to better support their learners, including Dyslexia Scotland (with free leaflets specifically for teachers as well as for other groups including parents, employers and lecturers); Dyslexia Unwrapped (for dyslexic children and young people aged 8-18); the Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit, especially for teachers
- We have an educational membership package which includes a quarterly magazine on dyslexia related themes, such as Assessment; Working memory; Dyslexia and Maths
- Our volunteer-led branches run open meetings throughout the year on topics relevant to teachers, parents and adults.
- A free introductory module on Dyslexia and inclusive practice for Community Learning and Development, developed by Education Scotland, Dyslexia Scotland and the CLD Standards Council Scotland with support from practitioners in the Specific Learning Difficulties Forum. The module provide practitioners who work in a CLD setting (post school) with an improved awareness of what dyslexia is.
Dyslexia and Inclusive practice pilot
A group of 30 teachers are taking part in a year-long Professional Recognition pilot. Run in partnership with GTCS, the Scottish Government and Education Scotland, this pilot aims to develop, implement and oversee a cohort of teaching professionals in Scotland to identify and support learners with dyslexia. The pilot participants are required to carry out action research projects as part of the programme. This pilot runs until October 2018, after which the programme will be reviewed.
Learning for Sustainability Scotland (LfS Scotland) is Scotland’s United Nations University recognised Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) in Education for Sustainable Development, hosted by the Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh.
LfS Scotland is an open network with more than 700 individual and organizational members in Scotland. We are part of an extensive and growing global network of more than 170 RCEs (September 2019) that share and learn from each other, establishing or strengthening international partnerships and collaboration.
LfS Scotland works actively and co-operatively across all aspects of learning to advance the understanding and practice of Learning for Sustainability in Scotland so it reaches its full transformative potential for change.,
Learning for Sustainability is seen as ‘A whole school approach that enables the school and its wider community to build the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and confidence needed to develop practices and take decisions which are compatible with a sustainable and equitable society’. GTCS 2013,
Aligned to the GTCS Professional Standards LfS Scotland’s professional learning programmes use innovative, reflexive and potentially transformative pedagogies and curricula that aims to:
- Challenge and deepen values, skills, knowledge and understanding;
- Provide support to enhance professional practice
- Impact positively on learning experiences and outcomes of learners
- Support active review and critical reflection on impact on self, learners and colleagues
- Enable dialogue and collaboration with colleagues within and beyond the programmes
- Encourage development of new practice and leadership of change
Professional learning is delivered via a mixture of face to face and facilitated online programmes designed to meet both national and local priorities for professional learning and leadership in Scotland. They are set in the context of the Scottish Government’s Vision 2030+ Learning for Sustainability Report and Action Plan.
Feedback from participants
‘This awakening in my understanding of connecting real & relevant learning experiences to develop the LfS themes, contexts & approaches coherently has enhanced the effectiveness of my professional conduct, not only in the classroom but as a leader in inspiring my colleagues to embrace this approach too’. Primary teacher, May 2019
‘I am seeing a more consistent approach to adopting a creative approach to make learning in their own class meaningful, equipping our children for this changing world’. Primary teacher May 2019
‘I challenged my teaching style in order to move from teaching where I am taking the lead, to where pupils feel empowered to take the lead and identify a project they want to take forward with myself facilitating/supporting where needed’. Secondary teacher May 2019
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) work with partners to deliver world class learning opportunities for all of Scotland’s young people aged 3 to 18 about, in and through the Scottish agricultural environment. These learning opportunities focus on farming and food production, learning for sustainability, outdoor learning and environmental awareness.
The planned outcome of RHET’s strategic actions is that Scotland’s young people have an enhanced understanding of the rural environment of Scotland, the dynamic nature of food, farming and countryside activities and the vital contribution such activities make to sustaining and enhancing Scotland’s economy and way of life. These outcomes are met with the help of working farmers who open their farms to schools to engage with food production, classroom speakers and teacher engagement.
We offer professional learning opportunities linking food production to STEM (currently supported through Education Scotland funding), Health and Wellbeing and Learning for Sustainability and regularly engage with practitioners to gauge topic interest to feed into course development. The professional learning we deliver involves tackling current issues through providing practitioners with information, together with the opportunities to gain knowledge and expand pedagogies through experiencing industry and/or undertaking classroom activities, utilising both virtual and face to face opportunities. RHET are also a partner in ‘The Good Food Futures programme’: a national food education programme designed to teach children and young people about Scotland’s food industry.
A range of teaching resources is currently available to support teachers’ planning to deliver food related learning via the RHET teaching portal (a Curriculum for Excellence linked resource library). In partnership with a range of organisations, we promote healthy eating, field trips to farms and estates, delivery of sustainability education and outdoor learning. Our input, which is all Curriculum for Excellence linked, provides a starting point for teachers and pupils to understand the connections between food sustainability, biodiversity, and healthy living choices and supports practitioners in providing knowledge and skills to improve confidence in the delivery of good food education.
‘The session was fantastic and could be easily transferred to the classroom’.
‘A very informative CPD session with excellent resources’.
‘Will give us a good starting point for the year ahead’.
Practitioner feedback on training delivered 2019
The School Leaders Scotland Professional Learning programme offers a range of high quality learning experiences designed to enhance the capacity of school leaders and their schools to deliver the best outcomes for our young people. The rationale for our programme is to provide professional learning opportunities which will ultimately impact positively on the learning experiences of young people. This is why the programme is developed annually to reflect the ever changing educational landscape and to offer delegates an opportunity to attend a range of events year on year, thus strengthening their own professional learning.
The programme has, at its heart, the theme of continuing professional learning at all levels. Our programme supports professional learning for those in middle, senior and aspiring to senior leadership positions. There is a clear recognition of the importance of leadership of and for learning. An important feature of the inputs from practitioners is the journey which they have made, including the challenges and obstacles which have been faced and overcome on the way. It is by sharing an honest account of this journey that delegates are encouraged to reflect on their own practice and look to bring about change within their own school. All events include a session which looks at the current strategic position of the particular theme as well as the perspectives of practitioners.
Attendees at our professional learning events are very much encouraged to take at enquiry based approach to their own learning journey. This enquiry-based learning encourages middle and senior leaders to take part in the research practices of the specific theme, thereby strengthening the links between teaching and learning in the school context. This research enables them to engage actively and creatively with questions and problems, often in collaboration with other leaders/staff/partners. The research tasks enable the exploration and investigation of issues and are open-ended so that different responses and solutions are possible.
For session 2019-2020 programme themes include:
- Ready for Inspection ?; Leadership of learning; Empowering family learning; Planning, tracking and monitoring
- Revisiting the broad general education; Developing the senior phase; Supporting Learners in the senior phase
- A Mentally Healthy School; Included, engaged and involved
- Building a digital school; Learning for sustainability
- Career Pathways – next steps ?; Head Teachers’ Charter – a look at empowerment
- Managing difficult situations
Information on all our events can be found on the SLS website
Scotland’s Enterprising Schools
Scottish Film Education
SSERC is a registered charity established for the benefit of those working in Scottish Education, with a particular focus on STEM. All 32 Local Authorities in Scotland subscribe to SSERC which in turn offers our support to all public sector early years centres, primary and secondary schools nationally; in addition, 14 FE colleges and 42 independent schools within Scotland are members of the organisation.
Our mission is to inspire, enthuse and support STEM educators for the benefit of all learners.
SSERC works with, and considers educators to be:
- early learning and childcare practitioners including childminders
- primary school teachers including support staff
- secondary school teachers including support staff
- current or aspiring managers and leaders in educational settings
- school/college technicians
- further education lecturers and technicians
- those involved in wider STEM education e.g. through the Young STEM Leader and STEM Ambassador programmes
- any other person who works will learners in wider, non-formal settings such as community learning and youth work.
The organisation provides, principally in support of STEM education in Scotland, a broad portfolio of services which can be broken down into three main stands:
- Provision of professional learning for STEM educators
- Health and safety advisory service
- A range of STEM engagement programmes and activities
- a range of professional learning programmes for managers, teachers and technicians
- guidance, advice and support on STEM experiments and practical work
- recommendations on resources and equipment, and design of learning/lab environments
- consultancy and technical information to support the delivery of STEM learning and teaching
- apparatus testing for safety, performance and conformance with standards
- radiation protection advisory services
- publications including three Bulletins across the academic year (earl years, primary and secondary)
- specialist health and safety guidance in relation to the sciences and technology
In addition to the above, SSERC leads wider STEM engagement activities in both formal and non-formal educational settings:
- The Young STEM Leader Programme (YSLP)
- STEM Ambassadors in Scotland Programme
- ENTHUSE partnerships
- Education Industry Partnerships
- Nuffield Research Placements
- European Space Education Research Office (ESERO) Champion
“Weaving the threads of education”
Tapestry is one of Scotland’s key providers of Quality Career-Long Professional Learning. All of our programmes for teachers have been presented to the General Teaching Council for Scotland for Professional Recognition and are benchmarked at SCQF Level 11.
Tapestry works in partnership with Scotland’s local authorities and schools to complement existing good practice and develop programmes of study which are collaborative in nature and build a “whole-school approach”. Some 30 of Scotland’s local authorities have worked with Tapestry in the progression of programmes and all local authorities have attended Tapestry National Conferences to learn from educational world-leaders such as Professors Jerome Bruner, Howard Gardner, David Perkins and Sir Tim Brighouse.
“Tapestry is a change agent, a positive force for effective innovation and creativity in education and platform for world leading new ideas in Scottish schools” = Dr Keir Bloomer
All Tapestry programmes have Key Advisors, who are either nationally or internationally recognised leaders in the field, for example Professor Dylan Wiliam and Mark Church from Project Zero at Harvard University. Professor Graham Donaldson will be the Key Advisor in a new programme which is planned for 2019. All programmes have a proven research basis and each programme is written to meet the specific needs of a local authority or school.
Tapestry offers the following Leading Learning programmes – Improving Teacher Professional Judgement, Improving Pedagogy, Making Thinking Visible and Leading Learning in the School – Through the Lens of Middle Leadership. These programmes for teachers carry GTCS Professional Recognition. In addition, Tapestry offers programmes for all those who work with children and young people e.g. Music Instructors, Early Years Workers, Support for Learning Workers/Assistants and Community Learning and Development Officers/ Workers.
An important part of Tapestry’s mission is to ensure that there is a collaborative approach to the planning and delivery of each programme. Initial strategic preparation takes place to ensure that a meaningful partnership takes place. All programmes are evaluated by the participants and there are qualitative and quantitative Interim and Final Evaluations produced for each local authority or school. These evaluations demonstrate the impact of the programmes on classroom practice and involve the teacher’s voice, the whole school approach and above all, the voiced of the pupils. These evaluations also shape the continuous and ongoing improvement of all Tapestry programmes.
Tapestry is honoured to be a recipient of the GTCS Professional Learning Award for Organisations and will constantly strive to develop in its practice.
SSERC, formally constituted as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and a registered Scottish Charity set up for the benefit of Scottish Education, is wholly owned by the 32 Scottish Local Authorities.
SSERC offers a broad portfolio of services, principally in support of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) areas of the curriculum and these can be broken down into three main stands of activity:
- Provision of Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) for early years, primary and secondary teachers and school and college technicians
- An Advisory Service
- Lead coordination role, on behalf of STEM Learning, for STEM Ambassadors in Scotland and wider STEM engagement activities.
Career Long Professional Learning
SSERC works with a range of partners, including the Scottish Government, National STEM Learning Centre, The Primary Science Teaching Trust, and others to deliver a programme of experiential CLPL for early years, primary and secondary teachers, student teachers and technicians focussing on STEM.
SSERC’s CLPL portfolio includes:
- Courses for probationer and newly qualified teachers
- Subject specific courses for teachers in primary and secondary sectors
- Transition courses to promote enhanced interaction between primary and secondary practitioners
- The annual Scottish Universities Science School
- Health and Safety courses for teachers and technicians
- Design and manufacturing courses for technology teachers
- Courses targeted at science and technology support staff (many of these courses are levelled and credit-rated by SQA within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
- Leadership courses for Curriculum Leaders and Heads of Faculty
- The annual SSERC Science and Technology Conference
SSERC believes that health and safety legislation should not be a barrier to the provision of valuable learning experiences for young people and we offer a range of training courses and guidance materials which discourage bureaucratic and over complex methods of risk management.
SSERC’s range of services includes:
- Specialist Health & Safety advice
- Access to specialist advisors in Primary Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Technology, Technician Services and Health and Safety
- Guidance and compliance advice for Radiological Health & Safety legislation through our Radiation Protection Adviser
- Curriculum support materials, Health & Safety advice and resources e.g. exemplar Risk Assessments for both specific subject and whole school activities
- Recommendations on equipment and design of specialist accommodation.
- Apparatus testing for safety, performance and conformance with standards.
STEM Ambassador Programme Liaison Lead in Scotland
SSERC works in partnership with the three Scottish STEM Ambassador Hubs to ensure a seamless offering to support the education community.
STEM Ambassadors work with young people to bring STEM subjects alive through real life experiences. They are volunteers representing a vast range of STEM-related jobs across the UK. Our Ambassadors include apprentices, zoologists, set designers, climate change scientists, engineers, farmers, geologists, nuclear physicists and architects. They help to open the doors to a world of opportunities and possibilities which come from pursuing STEM subjects and careers. STEM Ambassadors work with young people to bring STEM subjects alive through real life experiences.
The Wood Foundation
The Wood Foundation (TWF) has more than a decade’s experience developing, delivering and investing in three core areas:
- Developing Young People in Scotland
- Facilitating Economic & Education Development in Scotland
- Transforming Livelihoods through Venture Philanthropy in Africa
TWF invests finance and expertise to build the capability of individuals, communities and economies for systemic, sustainable and impactful progress.
TWF works closely with Education Scotland, Scottish Government, local authorities, school-based leaders and classroom practitioners to identify where there is growing demand for professional learning and a lack of provision to meet that demand. Following this, TWF undertakes extensive research to identify global education trends that could support the Scottish curriculum. We draw on the experience of learning institutions and organisations developing and delivering innovative, academically robust teaching and learning practices.
Upon identifying opportunities for engagement, TWF works in consultation with our stakeholders and internationally- renowned partners to co-create professional learning programmes which aim to build the knowledge, skills, networks and capabilities of educationalists working within Scotland’s school-based education system. TWF operationally manages and funds these programmes through our ‘Developing Young People in Scotland’ portfolio.
TWF invests in professional learning within education as a means of supporting the development of young people nationally. TWF has a preference for professional learning that encapsulates a real-world context; supporting learners to understand how the curriculum relates to the world of work and their pupils’ roles as active citizens. Current programmes include:
Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI)
YPI is an active citizenship programme that empowers young people to understand and make a difference within their local community.
Global Learning Partnerships (GLP)
GLP is an 18-month experiential programme of professional learning that aims to increase learners’ knowledge and understanding, experience of and confidence in delivering global and sustainable education within CfE. GLP works with practitioners working in Scotland’s 3-18 school-based education system. It is an evolving programme which is co-created with teachers.
Excelerate is a five-year pilot programme to develop young people’s readiness for work by enabling schools and partners to deliver high-quality, diverse pathways that fully realise the opportunities of CfE.
Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE)
RAiSE is delivered through a partnership of Education Scotland, TWF, Scottish Government and participating local authorities. It enhances the confidence and skills of primary school practitioners to improve learning and teaching in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
Each programme of professional learning incorporates a strategy for evaluating learner progress.
We believe that everyone is a learner regardless of knowledge, skill, expertise and experience, everyone has something to learn. Likewise, everyone has something to share and it is vitally important that educators are given the opportunity to learn from and share with peers. As a result, collaboration is core to TWF programmes of professional learning.
Tree of Knowledge
Tree of Knowledge are in the business of helping others to be the best version of themselves. By delivering inspirational training programmes, keynotes and coaching for schools and businesses around the globe, we are bringing an Entertaining, Enlightening and Educational revolution. Our vision is simple… Inspire the World.
Over the last 18 years Tree of Knowledge have been working closely with our partners across Scottish education to develop and design our diet of professional learning. Through a range of Entertaining, Enlightening an Educational programmes, workshops, partner events and bespoke experiences, Tree of Knowledge supports practitioners through the stages of becoming, being and growing as a teacher as exemplified in the GTCS Professional Standards for Scotland Teachers 2021.
We pride ourselves on building partnerships with our clients which allows us to ensure that all our offerings can be tailored to meet the needs of a given context, whilst ensuring that learning is personalised and relevant. We have partners from across the education spectrum including primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities across Scotland. We also have long established relationships with local authorities that allow us to get under the skin of what being a teacher in Scotland means, ensuring that our professional learning experiences are designed to meet the needs of practitioners at all stages of their careers.
All of our learning experiences have been developed to support teacher professionalism by enhancing practitioner’s knowledge and understanding of positive psychology-based approaches promoting partnership, leadership, enquiry and professional learning as well as individual self-evaluation strategies which contribute to their personal, professional, and school’s improvement. This is exemplified through our GTCS accredited Professional Recognition in Self-Evaluation programme ‘VIBE for Middle Leaders’ which has been designed to equip middle leaders with the essential skills to becoming an effective enquiring and self-evaluation leaders in their schools. We have a range of professional learning in addition to this including our programme Enabling Effective Communication which supports the development of communication skills for teachers at various stages of their careers. Through our learning experiences practitioners will enhance their critical self-evaluation skills and develop the tools to embed an enquiring stance at the heart of their practice. To support teacher professionalism more widely we have developed a diet of short engaging workshops that are grounded in the GTCS standard for Career-Long Professional Learning.
Our strong partnership working across the world of Scottish Education has allowed us to develop a wide range of bespoke professional learning experiences to meet the needs of teachers at various stages of their careers. Most recently we delivered a range of professional learning experiences as part of the Education Scotland and GTCS Stepping Stones project to support recently qualified teachers. Throughout the pandemic we have also partnered with Education Scotland to deliver a range of professional learning experiences for all school staff, Community Learning and Development staff and Systems Leaders.
This award is presented by the Convener of GTC Scotland Council.
The award is presented to an individual who has shown outstanding commitment to the Professional Values – social justice, trust and respect and integrity – through the course of their career. The award was first presented at the 2017 Excellence in Professional Learning Awards.
|2019||Paul Beaumont, SSERC|
|2018||Mig Coupe, Salveson Mindroom|
|2017||Professor Rowena Arshad OBE, University of Edinburgh|
The Award has been created to identify and celebrate the efforts of colleagues who exceed expectations, demonstrating a pioneering spirit, determination and challenge adversity in a bid to promote and facilitate a culture and ethos of equality and diversity and actively challenge discrimination.
The Life and Work of Saroj Lal
Saroj Lal was a trailblazing teacher and campaigner in Scottish race relations. Born and educated in India, she migrated to the UK in the late 1960s. Saroj taught at Edinburgh’s South Morningside Primary School for 3 years and was among the earliest Asian primary school teachers in Scotland. She was known for wearing her colourful saris, red lipstick, and being fundamentally proud of her heritage.
Her BAME background and experience as a schoolteacher were central to her later work in multi-culturalism and anti-racist education. She would challenge perceptions throughout her career at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and Lothian Race Equality Council, fighting for equal representation of minority ethnic communities in the classroom, children’s literature and the media. She championed the BAME cause, setting up Edinburgh’s first dedicated ethnic library, developing minority arts and expanding mother tongue teaching citywide.
Education and women’s rights remained a priority: she encouraged girls to pursue higher education by creating the Asian Cultural Girls’ Club at Drummond High School and the Continuation Course at Telford College. She also broke new ground with Lothian and Borders Police, defining the nature of racial attacks and encouraging the monitoring of racist bullying in schools. She became the first Asian woman in Scotland to be appointed as a Justice of the Peace.
Her pioneering achievements remain an inspiration to many and she leaves a lasting legacy in Edinburgh.
The George D Gray CBE MA Award seeks to find the most distinguished BEd assignments in Scotland. The assignments are judged by an experienced panel of educationalists.
The award is presented by GTC Scotland under the terms of a trust fund which was set up by Dr Ethel Gray, the widow of George D Gray, as a memorial to her husband. Widely regarded as being responsible for securing government support for setting up GTC Scotland, George Gray was also its first Registrar.
|University of Strathclyde|
|2002||Lorraine Smith||University of Edinburgh|
|2003||Andrew Foster||University of Dundee|
|2004||Rhona McWalter||University of Dundee|
|2005||Jane Harrison||University of Dundee|
|2006||Jane Chiverton||University of Dundee|
|2007||Karen Chrichton||University of Dundee|
|2008||Elizabeth Fuller||University of Dundee|
|2009||Kirsten Braden||University of Strathclyde|
|2010||Marianne McCron||University of Edinburgh|
|2012||Sharon Friel-Myles||University of Dundee|
|2013||Ainslie McCabe||University of Strathclyde|
| University of the West of Scotland|
University of Edinburgh
|2015||Kirsty McLaren||University of Dundee|
|2016||Amy Buchan||University of Strathclyde|
Commendation – Abigail Stirling
| University of the West of Scotland|
University of Edinburgh
|2018||Robbie Blair||University of Edinburgh|