PRD Myths and Legends

GTC Scotland expect teachers to keep a huge portfolio and record every piece of professional learning

There are no expectations from GTC Scotland to the amount of information recorded in professional learning records. Each local authority/employer has locally agreed policies that determine what their teachers should be doing.

Significant pieces of professional learning should be recorded, where due consideration is given to the impact of that learning through evidence gathered. Teachers should be trusted by their line managers to be engaged in all compulsory training, and as a result of ongoing professional dialogue throughout the year, be familiar with the professional learning that their colleagues are undertaking.

My professional learning must come from the school improvement plan

Professional learning should be meaningful and relevant to teachers in their context. This may mean that some of the professional learning undertaken will come directly from the school improvement plan.

Professional learning should be impactful on learning and teaching or leadership and should help teachers to continually develop their practice. Through discussions with reviewers, teachers’ next steps in professional learning can be identified and discussed to best meet the reviewee’s needs.

We must start afresh every year with new areas for development

Areas for development are identified and agreed with your reviewer through the PRD discussion and should reflect your current context. Circumstances during the previous session may have changed and the previously agreed areas for development may not have been completed or deemed relevant.

As long as professional learning is meaningful and is having a positive impact there is no requirement to change areas for development. Local policies will ultimately determine the expectations in their local authority/schools.

PU is separate thing altogether to PRD

PRD is an integral aspect of Professional Update.  All teachers should engage in their entitlement to PRD every year. When this is the case, the PU sign off year is simply the usual PRD process with an additional pressing of a few buttons on the keyboard to ‘sign-off’ and confirm the teacher’s engagement in ongoing professional learning. 

PRDs and PU should always be done at the end of the year

GTC Scotland does not stipulate a specific time of year that PRD and PU should take place. Local authorities and employers often set a specific time and should review local agreements to ensure the timings of both PRD and PU are supportive to the contextual needs of their schools and teachers. 

GTC Scotland encourages PRD and PU to be carried out at varying times throughout the school session to avoid overloading of digital systems.

You must have at least 20 pieces of professional learning for PU

Each year teachers will engage in professional learning in various ways.

There is no required number of professional learning activities that teachers have for PU, however assumptions will be made that teachers have engaged in at least three pieces of meaningful professional learning each year. 

There is an expectation that teachers will complete 35 hours of professional learning (pro-rata for part-time staff) and that the focus is agreed with their reviewer as part of the PRD process.

Only certain types of evidence are acceptable

Evidence can be gathered from many sources and in many ways. There is no requirement to keep extensive amounts of evidence for your professional learning records, however, depending on the professional learning being undertaken, there may be requirements to gather substantial evidence to determine the impact the learning has had on learners.

Evidence needs to be there to prove you have been learning

This is not the case. Your learning can be shared through discussing your reflections and thoughts and how the learning has impacted on your thinking, teaching approaches and expectations. 

You must have the same amount of evidence every year

This is most definitely not the case. Different professional learning will influence different amounts and varied types of evidence.

I have to copy my evidence on to two systems

This should be avoided at all costs and local authorities and employers should ensure that measures are taken to avoid this happening.

We should cover every strand of the standards and ensure coverage

The Professional Standards are not to be seen as a checklist. Teachers should reflect across the Professional Standards and identify where they have strengths and/or areas of expertise, and areas where there may be a need for further professional development.

We must share our professional learning records with our line managers, so they can check we are recording evidence

LNCT agreements/policies for your local authority will advise on the arrangements and expectations for teachers to share their professional learning records with their reviewers. 

Where MyPL is used for recording professional learning the teacher can select the records they wish to share for discussion with their reviewer. In the year of PU sign off there is no requirement to share five years’ worth of records with your reviewer, only selected entries from the current record would be shared and/or discussed, as per local policy.

I’ll fail my PU if my line manager doesn’t think my PL is good enough

If you are worried about any aspect of Professional Update you should discuss this with your line manager at the earliest opportunity. The focus and areas for development for your professional learning should have been agreed in advance with your reviewer as part of the PRD process. If circumstances dictate a change in focus you should discuss this with your reviewer.

If you haven’t participated in planned PL activities due to illness or absence you can contact your reviewer to request a deferral of your PU sign off. 

GTC Scotland will be checking my PL records and evidence

GTC Scotland delegates responsibility to reviewers to confirm or ‘sign-off’ your review. If you don’t agree with the decision made by your reviewer, your local policy will contain information about the appeals process.

As part of the annual evaluation of the Professional Update process there will be a 1% sampling of the Reflective Professional Learning Records of the registrants who have signed off. There will also be a 1% sampling of sign offs each year in order to check for consistency of application of the principles of Professional Update.

My learning and teaching will be judged during my PRD/ PU

The focus of PRD and PU is the teacher’s commitment to ongoing professional learning. Your learning and teaching should not be judged during your PRD/ PU. If line managers have concerns about learning and teaching then these should be addressed through other support mechanisms, conversations and perhaps ultimately HR processes.

Completing all my paperwork before my PRD is really important

LNCT agreements and policies for your local authority will give guidance around any documentation that is required. GTC Scotland have expressed that the process should not be overly bureaucratic and there should be no duplication required across systems. Reviewees may wish to self-reflect using a coaching wheel, or other model, and may use this to support and direct the professional learning conversation and support the identification of any potential next steps.

The importance of PRD is the quality of the professional learning conversation, and not the paperwork.

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