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.

Entries open for Saroj Lal Award 2022

Entries are now open for the Saroj Lal Award for a Pioneering Spirit in Equality and Diversity. The deadline for submissions is 1 September 2022.

Find out more about the award and how to submit an application.

Awards overview

Excellence in Professional Learning Award

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 the learning of children and young people.

Awarded annually, schools and learning communities hold this award.

See past recipients

Professional Learning Award for Organisations

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.

Awards Submissions

GTC Scotland welcomes submissions from organisations that support and promote teacher professional learning.

Upcoming PLA for Organisations panel dates

  • 14 September 2022
  • 20 October 2022
  • 17 November 2022

Quality Mark

Professional Learning Award for Organisation recipients can use the GTC Scotland Professional Recognition Quality Mark.

Previous recipients of the award

Dyslexia Scotland
Learning for Sustainability Scotland

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Royal Highland Education Trust
School Leaders Scotland

Scotland’s Enterprising Schools

Scottish Film Education

Tapestry Partnership
The Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC)
The Wood Foundation
Tree of Knowledge
Convener’s Award

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
Saroj Lal Award for a Pioneering Spirit in Equality and Diversity

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.

2021Theo Ogbhemhe
George D Gray Award

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.


YearAward WinnerUniversity
 2001Emma Holding
Alistair Macdonald
 University of Strathclyde
 2002Lorraine Smith University of Edinburgh
 2003Andrew Foster University of Dundee
 2004Rhona McWalter University of Dundee
 2005Jane Harrison University of Dundee
 2006Jane Chiverton University of Dundee
 2007Karen Chrichton University of Dundee
 2008Elizabeth Fuller University of Dundee
 2009Kirsten Braden University of Strathclyde
 2010Marianne McCron University of Edinburgh
 2011No Award 
 2012Sharon Friel-Myles University of Dundee
 2013Ainslie McCabe University of Strathclyde
 2014Stacey McKillop
Steven McHarg 
 University of the West of Scotland
 University of Edinburgh
 2015Kirsty McLaren University of Dundee
 2016Amy Buchan University of Strathclyde
 2017Rachel Frew
Commendation – Abigail Stirling
 University of the West of Scotland
 University of Edinburgh
 2018Robbie Blair University of Edinburgh

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