The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Accreditation of Programmes Leading to Professional Recognition

GTC Scotland recognises the need for high-quality professional learning and development programmes to ensure that teacher professionalism is maintained and enhanced and that learning experiences are professionally recognised and valued.

We welcome submissions from providers who wish to have their professional learning and development programmes accredited with the award of Professional Recognition if they meet with the required guidelines for accreditation.

Professional Recognition Accreditation Panel meeting dates

Click here to view upcoming Professional Recognition Accreditation Panel meetings

See further information on Panel meetings below.

What are the requirements for programme accreditation?

We define accreditation as the process of ascertaining the professional acceptability of a learning and development programme leading to the award of Professional Recognition for course participants.

There are specific features required to achieve Professional Recognition that must be embedded within a programme in order for it to be successfully accredited.

The specific features include:

  • A clearly articulated rationale for the programme
  • Alignment with the national Professional Learning Model   
  • Enquiry and research and the dispositions required for this as outlined in the Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning or other appropriate Standard
  • Alignment to features of enquiry at SCQF level 11
  • Focus on the individual's personal and professional learning and development, linked to the particular area of expertise. This includes a personal self-evaluation process
  • Enhanced academic and professional knowledge of the subject/ topic/issue
  • Enhanced professional actions within the specific educational context and/or the wider educational community
  • Critical reflection on the learning and development within the area of expertise
  • Clear understanding and analysis of the impact of this learning and development on self/ learners/colleagues' professional practice
  • Evidence of collaborative practice
  • Professional discussion with line manager as an integral part of PRD discussions
  • An opportunity for participants to evidence their professional learning as part of the programme

How do I make an application to have a programme accredited?

We require a variety of documentation about the professional learning programme in order to assess its suitability for Professional Recognition accreditation.

This documentation should be submitted electronically and include:

  • programme specifications, structure and content
  • assessment arrangements
  • partnership arrangements
  • relevant information to demonstrate how the required specific features set out above are embedded within the programme
  • Professional profiles of the staff responsible for delivering the programme.

Once this documentation has been received it will be assessed by a member of the Education team to try and ensure the above have been covered and that the specific features have all been included.

If the programme is deemed to be appropriate after this initial assessment, the programme provider will be invited to a Programme Accreditation Panel, which is the next stage in the application process. Programme Accreditation Panels are usually held once a month and all programme documentation work should generally be submitted six weeks before the panel date. Programmes will be allocated the first available time slot on the next panel.

About Programme Accreditation Panels

Programme Accreditation Panels are usually held on a monthly basis in order to scrutinise and evaluate proposed programmes.

Panels consist of a minimum of three members and must include: a GTCS Council/Education Committee member; a registrant from the relevant educational context. drawn from a pool of external experts; and at least one other registrant or lay person drawn from the same pool. The Panel has the authority to make decisions about the appropriateness of learning programmes and to advise the providers of these programmes of their decision.

The submitted programme documentation is circulated to panel members well in advance to the panel date for them to consider. The criteria checklist used is based on the following, including the list of specific features set out above:

  • programme specifications, structure and content
  • assessment arrangements
  • partnership arrangements
  • relevant information to demonstrate how the required specific features set out above are embedded within the programme (see Specific features list)
  • Professional profiles of the staff responsible for delivering the programme.

Panel members draw up a list of questions based on the documentation they have received and bring these to the panel meeting. At the panel the programme team are invited to firstly give a short 10 minute presentation to the panel about their programme and this is followed by a professional discussion with the panel based on the questions raised from the documentation submitted and the short presentation on the day.

At the conclusion of the Programme Accreditation Panel, Panel members have a private meeting to determine the outcome of each programme.

There are four possible outcomes (click each for more information)

  1. to accredit unconditionally
  2. to accredit with recommendation for action
  3. to accredit conditionally
  4. to suspend the panel

The Convener of the Programme Accreditation Panel and a GTC Scotland officer will convey the outcomes to the provider at the conclusion to the Panel process.

A formal letter is also sent confirming the Panel's decision. The letter, if required, will indicate the timescale involved for any conditions set.

Panels for Professional Recognition of Leadership Programmes

These panels follow the same format as set out above but will include representation from the Scottish College for Educational Leadership. The programme, if successful, will then be awarded both Professional Recognition from GTC Scotland and endorsement from SCEL of the Leadership Programme. Please see SCEL website for further information on Leadership Programme endorsement:

Scottish College for Educational Leadership

Appeals against Panel Decisions

If a proposal is refused, programme providers have an opportunity to submit a revised proposal. It is also possible for programme providers to appeal against a GTC Scotland Panel decision. Any such appeal will follow GTC Scotland processes and be heard by the GTC Scotland Professional Standards Committee.

What are the next steps for accredited programmes?

Programmes are accredited with Professional Recognition for a period of five years with an interim evaluation highlighting any developments and/or enhancements to the content, nature, duration, staffing or structure of the programme.

During this period the accredited programme provider submits to GTC Scotland the lists of candidates who have successfully completed the programme and who wish to be awarded with Professional Recognition. The Certificates can then be either sent directly from GTC Scotland to the teachers or to the programme providers, should they wish to organise an event to celebrate with the teachers.

Programme providers can make use of the GTC Scotland Professional Recognition quality mark. They will also be invited to become part of our list of accredited providers for Professional Recognition and to send us a paragraph for inclusion on our website, please see:

The programme providers must notify GTC Scotland if there are any significant changes in staffing and/or to the structure of the programme during this five-year period.

Professional Recognition - Renewal

At the end of each five-year period, programme providers must make a submission giving an update on the programme over the period of the award, including any changes and developments made. It should also include reference to the National Professional Learning Model. This submission for renewal will be taken to a GTCS internal panel to decide the next course of action:

  • The programme provider will be invited to attend a full panel as set out above.
  • The programme is recommended for recognition at the next Professional Recognition panel. The programme provider would not attend this panel.

Quality Assurance

We will, as part of due process, conduct a sampling of successful applications on a twice-yearly basis to ensure consistency of standards within the assessment process. An evaluation of the sampling process will be circulated to the GTC Scotland Education Committee. We will retain the sample documentation.

If you have a course you would like to submit for accreditation contact:

T: +44(0)131 314 6086



To make an initial enquiry about Professional Recognition accreditation contact:

T: +44(0)131 314 6000