The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Making an individual application for Professional Recognition

In order to achieve Professional Recognition you are required to adopt an enquiring approach to investigate and evidence how you have engaged in enhanced, significant and sustained professional learning to develop professional knowledge and understanding. You also need to evidence how this has impacted on your skills and abilities, and on learners and learning.

Professional Recognition is looking at expertise that moves beyond that expected of a teacher, for example moving from a grounded knowledge of assessment as set out in the Standard for Registration, to one where they have become an expert in this area, perhaps helping to support others.

What do I need to demonstrate?

To gain Professional Recognition in a specific area of expertise you will be required to demonstrate:

  • enhanced, significant and sustained professional learning, aligned to the Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning or other appropriate Standard
  • alignment to features of enquiry at SCQF level 11
  • professional expertise/accomplishment within a specific educational context
  • professional learning and development related to the area of expertise/accomplishment
  • professional reading and research related to the area of expertise
  • professional action evidenced within a portfolio
  • critical reflection and analysis of impact on professional practice, learners and learning
  • evidence of how you have shared this expertise and what impact this has had on your colleagues and wider community
  • a summary of professional discussion with your line manager.

Where might I start to help me think about Professional Recognition?

Discuss your submission with your line manager

You should have a professional discussion as part of the PRD process with your line manager to discuss the potential or current areas of professional learning and development you have identified for Professional Recognition. This discussion should include a critical reflection upon how the learning and development you have gained has impacted on your professional practice, your learners and colleagues, as well as any next steps considered for the future. This discussion requires to be agreed and signed off by your line manager. This reflection and ongoing discussion with your line manager forms part of your submission for Professional Recognition

Questions to consider as part of this discussion

  • How is my work in this area of expertise/accomplishment enabling me to develop as a practitioner?
  • How have I applied what I have learned in this area of expertise?
  • How is this influencing and enhancing my professional practice?
  • What reading and research has challenged and critically informed this learning and development?
  • What is the impact on learners and their learning experiences?
  • What is the impact on my colleagues' professional learning?
  • What evidence do I have to demonstrate the impact on my practice, colleagues and learners?
  • How will I take this forward? What are my next steps for development?
  • In what ways will I be able to make a contribution to the school/wider educational community?

How do I evidence my learning and its impact?

You are expected to maintain a Professional Portfolio which will include evidence of how you have developed and shared your knowledge, understanding and pedagogical expertise within the area(s) of your professional practice in which you are seeking Professional Recognition. This will include a critical discussion and analysis of evidence of the impact of your work on your professional practice, and your learners and colleagues.

This portfolio should be discussed with your line manager as part of the ongoing Professional Review and Development (PRD) process. It is not necessary to send this to GTC Scotland with your application; however, you are required to retain the portfolio for one year as we will conduct a sampling of successful applications twice a year to ensure consistency of standards as part of the assessment process.

How do I apply for Professional Recognition?

The Professional Recognition application form asks teachers to:

  • Describe how they have developed their area of expertise/accomplishment as part of a coherent, systematic and sustained learning experience.
  • Outline how enhanced academic and professional knowledge of the subject/topic/issue has been supported by relevant research, literature, policy and practice.
  • Critically examine, analyse and evaluate what impact the area of development and expertise has had in their thinking, learning and practice and on learners and their learning.
  • Look at how their knowledge and experience has been shared with others and what impact this has had, including extracts of analysed evidence to support this. Look at next steps for professional learning in the light of this work and outline how the professional discussions with their line manager have shaped their thinking and practice

To make an individual application for Professional Recognition:

1. Download and complete our application form:

Applications should be submitted electronically to:

Support and guidance on completing the application

We have prepared a guidance tool for Professional Recognition applications and an article about the key role that Professional Review and Development (PRD) plays in the process.

How is my application assessed?

Applications are assessed by a panel within GTC Scotland. Applicants are notified by letter of the decision. Successful individual awards will be recorded on the register of teachers.

If a claim for Professional Recognition is unsuccessful then you will have an opportunity to submit a revised application. Should this also be unsuccessful, you may send a written request for the decision to be reviewed by a Professional Standards Panel. Any request for review can only be made where there are grounds for the decision to be reviewed in terms of GTC Scotland having either: (a) failed to act in accordance with the Registration and Standards Rules; or (b) made an error: either of which must have had a significant impact on the decision made. Review requests are considered in accordance with procedures that are laid down in the Registration and Standards Rules.

How do I reapply for Professional Recognition?

Professional Recognition lasts for a period of five years. After that time, a teacher must make a new application.


To discuss any aspect of Professional Recognition contact:

Professional Learning and Development Department

T: +44(0)131 314 6000



Portfolios should be kept for a period of 12 months.

We may arrange to review a random sample of portfolios each year for quality assurance purposes.

Awards are valid for a period of five years after which teachers must demonstrate that they have maintained their knowledge and expertise in order to maintain the award.


Eligibility requirements are:

You must hold full registration with GTC Scotland.

You should have completed a further two years teaching service after gaining full registration.