GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Professional Recognition

GTC Scotland's Professional Recognition recognises the enhanced, significant, sustained and reflective enquiry a teacher has undertaken and the development of their professional learning in a particular area.

Professional Recognition aligns with the Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning. This Standard is closely aligned to features of SCQF Level 11 and describes the advanced professional knowledge and pedagogical expertise that registered teachers develop and maintain as they continue to progress in teaching and across the education profession. A teacher may also choose to reflect against aspects of the Standards for Leadership and Management and, for lecturers in the College sector, the Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland's Colleges.

The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning provides an opportunity for teachers to progress, enrich, develop and enhance their practice, expertise, knowledge, skills and professional values. It supports teachers as they develop as reflective, accomplished and enquiring professionals who are able to engage with the complexities of teaching and learning, the changing contemporary world of their learners and the world beyond the profession and its institutions, in order to enhance the learning experiences for all learners.

The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning and the criteria for the award of Professional Recognition' align to the features of SCQF Level 11 enquiry as outlined in the Scottish Framework for Masters in Education.

These ensure that learning:

  • is grounded in practice
  • is research informed;
  • is personally and professionally transformative;
  • is collaborative in nature;
  • challenges assumptions and widens perspectives; and
  • aspires to make a positive impact on Scottish Education.

The SCQF is structured around the following characteristics:

  • knowledge and understanding;
  • practice: applied knowledge and understanding;
  • generic cognitive skills;
  • communication, ICT and numeracy skills; and
  • autonomy, accountability and working with others.

View more information regarding the Framework for Masters in Education:

Professional Recognition is not awarded at Masters Level.

There are many areas in which registered teachers/ lecturers in all sectors can gain Professional Recognition. The list of areas teachers have achieved Professional Recognition in is very varied, reflecting the dynamic nature of the professional learning and enquiry being undertaken. It includes:

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Outdoor Education
  • ICT
  • Numeracy
  • Enterprise
  • Learning for Sustainability
  • Supporting Pupil Learning
  • Supporting Teacher Learning
  • Mentoring
  • Coaching
  • Assessment
  • Practitioner Enquiry
  • Creative Learning
  • Project Leadership
  • Supporting Probationer Teachers

The list of award categories continues to be adapted to recognise the specific claims submitted for recognition. Please email us if you would like to discuss this further at:

The award is open to all teaching professionals who have completed one year of professional practice after gaining full registration from GTC Scotland and have then gone on to engage in sustained, significant professional learning in a particular area.

Once the award of Professional Recognition has been made the teaching professional is recognised as an enhanced practitioner in that field for a period of five years.

How do I apply for the award?

There are two ways to gain Professional Recognition:

1. Make an individual application for recognition in a particular area of expertise/accomplishment.

2. Complete a professional learning programme which has been accredited with Professional Recognition by GTC Scotland.

Accredited Professional Recognition Programmes

A list of the programmes that have received accreditation can be found on the following page:

Accreditation of Programmes Leading to Professional Recognition

If you are a programme provider and want to learn how to apply to have your programme accredited, please visit the following page: Accreditation of Programmes Leading to Professional Recognition

All GTCS accredited programmes are awarded with a Quality Mark.


To discuss any aspect of Professional Learning contact:

Professional Learning and Development Department

T: +44 (0)131 314 6000