PRD for Local Authorities and Employers

GTC Scotland works closely with Local Authorities and Employers to Support them in their work.

Please find advice, support, ideas and suggestions with regards to Professional Review and Development below.

Roles and Responsibilities

Schools will take their lead on PRD from local authority or employer policies and Local Negotiating Committee for Teachers (LNCT) agreements.

Local authorities and employers have a significant role to play in creating the conditions to ensure teachers have the best chance to benefit from PRD.

They should consider their roles and responsibilities to ensure they support schools and teachers to fully engaged in a refreshed approach to PRD.

Tackling bureaucracy – Professional Learning Records

Teachers often raise concerns that PRD is an overly bureaucratic process, involving excessive amounts of paperwork and endless online record keeping. This shouldn’t be the case, and employers should take the opportunity to review their internal policies.

PRD is essentially a reflective conversation about professional learning. It should involve the reviewee self-evaluating against the Professional Standards, reflecting on their professional learning and the impact it has had, and identifying next steps.

Reviewers should support and challenge the reviewee’s thinking using a coaching approach.

Professional learning records and evidence of impact should be used to support the professional conversation during PRD – they are not assessed as evidence.

The teacher should also only describe professional learning that has had a significant impact on their learning and leadership of learning.

Records of the formal PRD conversation should be kept to a minimum, for instance noting the areas of development that have been identified and/ or the agreed professional learning plan.

The key elements of the Professional Update process can be viewed here.

Protected characteristics

Local authorities and employers should ensure they take steps to remove any barriers that may arise as a result of protected characteristics.

For example, parents returning from maternity leave and working part-time might find themselves unable to access professional learning opportunities on their non-working days.

The Equality Act defines the following protected characteristics:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
Unconscious Bias

We are all different due to our backgrounds and life experiences. We make decisions in our personal lives and our workplaces based on these different life experiences.

The views and opinions we develop as result of our life experiences affect our decision-making, our behaviours and our everyday interactions. They are learned stereotypes that we default to and we do not give them thought or considerations as they are part of who we are. 

Sometimes our unconscious bias can be detrimental and should be challenged by ourselves and others. This may become evident when considering offering professional learning opportunities to some, but not others.

Additionally, due to unconscious bias we may not afford equality of experiences to everyone during PRD conversations. Local authorities and employers should consider ways to highlight the impact of unconscious bias and provide some level of training to support equity of PRD experience.

The following resources may be of help. GTC Scotland is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Conversations: coaching and career

Training, briefing, support and other professional learning about the PRD/ PU process should be provided by local authorities and employers for both reviewers and reviewees.

There should be an emphasis on the use of coaching approaches to support reviewers to facilitate a coaching conversation during PRD. This will ensure that reviewees are appropriately supported and challenged in their professional learning conversations. 

The role of reviewer should be offered from the level of principal teacher or faculty head onwards.

Regular professional learning sessions should be provided across local authorities and schools to ensure reviewers have the experience, knowledge and skills to provide high-quality coaching conversations to all reviewees.

Reviewees should also be familiar with the specifics of a coaching conversation in order to engage fully in the PRD discussion.

Local authorities should support professional learning opportunities for reviewees to help them to fully understand the structure and benefits of a coaching conversation.

Coaching and mentoring

Local authorities and employers have a role to play in ensuring that any national offers of professional learning, such as those offered on the Education Scotland Framework, are shared with all schools, who should then ensure that they are shared with all reviewers.

Any internal professional learning sessions being offered should be shared on internal booking systems and advertised regularly through internal communications.

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