GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Professional Update for Retired Teachers and Retired Teachers engaging in Supply Work

The nature and availability of the teacher supply pool in Scotland varies from one employer to another, and from one year to another. Retired teachers often form an important group within the supply pool. The guidance below attempts to balance, in an appropriate and proportionate way, the considerable experience, knowledge, skills and abilities of retired teachers with the need for any teacher on supply to continue to develop professionally.

Categories of Full Registration - General and Associate

Teachers who retire and who wish to stay on the GTC Scotland Register will have the option of retaining their pre-retirement category of Fully Registered (General) or moving to the new category of Fully Registered (Associate).

Engaging in supply work requires the maintenance of Fully Registered (General) status and engagement in the Professional Update process as follows: 

  • On an ongoing basis:
    Self-evaluation against the appropriate GTCS Standards 
    Engagement in ongoing Professional Learning
    Maintaining a reflective professional learning record and associated evidence of impact
    Engagement in the Professional Review and Development process
  • On an annual basis: updating your details held on the GTCS register including checking your personal and employment details are up to date
  • On a 5-yearly basis: signing off to confirm engagement in the process with GTCS (individual and line manager)

Fully Registered (Associate)

Retired teachers who decide not to engage in supply work but wish to remain on the Register may opt for the Fully Registered (Associate) category. The Associate category is not appropriate for those wishing to do classroom teaching. For retired teachers choosing the Fully Registered (Associate) category, the requirement to engage in the modified version of the Professional Update process involves updating details annually on the register and adhering to the values in the Standards, although other aspects are encouraged where possible and appropriate.

General Status
Full (Retired)
General Status
Up to 5y supply work
Associate Status
Details on Register

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Formal staff review process

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Use of Standards

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Maintain SFR and engage with other Standards as appropriate Maintain values
Engaging in PL

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As required by supply post  
Recording impact of PL

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Full details of what is required for retired teachers engaging in the Professional Update process is outlined below.

Maintenance of Registration

Teachers who retired prior to the start of the 2014-15 school session

Teachers who retired before school session 2014-15 did not have the opportunity to engage in the Professional Update process and therefore could not undertake the sign off procedure. In recognition of this, all teachers who retired prior to the start of the 2014-15 school session will be considered to hold Fully Registered (General) status until the end of session 2018-19 unless they opt for Fully Registered (Associate) status or request removal from the Register.

Teachers retiring after the start of the 2014-15 school session

From August 2014 onwards, all teachers will engage in the Professional Update process and will have an allocated school session for the sign off procedure which is part of that process. There will be a general facility for teachers to choose to sign off in the school session during which they retire, in addition to and irrespective of the allocated sign off year. Teachers will retain Fully Registered (General) status for the five school sessions which follow. There are three possible situations for teachers approaching retirement who wish to engage in supply work:

  • Teachers who will retire before their allocated sign off year should choose the facility to sign off in their retirement year if they wish to undertake supply work, effectively bringing their sign off year forward.
  • Teachers whose sign off year coincides with their retirement year should sign off as planned.
  • Teachers who retire after their sign off year can opt to sign off again in their retirement year in addition to their previous sign off, giving a further five years of Fully Registered (General) status. Otherwise they can continue to hold Fully Registered (General) status for the remainder of the five years since their previous sign off.

Engagement in Professional Update for Retired Teachers who do not intend to carry out supply work beyond five years of their retirement date

The following guidance describes the engagement of retired teachers in aspects of the Professional Update process as required by GTCS. However, it should be noted that this may be different from what is required by employers in a contract of employment or in local policies and procedures.

Retired teachers who are Fully Registered (General) and intend to engage in supply teaching for up to five years after retirement will engage in Professional Update as follows:

  • Annual update of details
    This is a requirement.
  • Engagement in ongoing professional learning
    Appropriate forms of professional learning are required as determined by the professional needs of the teacher and the nature of the supply post.
  • Engagement in staff review or PRD meetings, recording of professional learning, and recording evidence of impact of professional learning
    Each employer will have a policy on the engagement of teachers in these aspects but, for Professional Update purposes, retired supply teachers are encouraged but not required to engage in these aspects. The GTC Scotland online profile is available for all retired supply teachers who wish to use it.
  • Use of the GTC Scotland Standards
    Knowledge and maintenance of The Standard for Full Registration is required. Alternatively, the option of engaging with The Standard for Career-long Professional Learning and The Standards for Leadership and Management may be appropriate in some circumstances.
  • 5-yearly sign off
    For teachers who retired prior to session 2014-15, this is not required before the end of session 2018-19 (in practice, 31 October 2019). For teachers retiring from session 2014-15 onwards, this is not required within five years of retirement, provided that the sign off procedure has been undertaken during the teacher's final session of employment. Otherwise, the remainder of the five years since sign off applies.

Retired teachers who are Fully Registered (General) and who engage in supply teaching for more than five years beyond their retirement require to fully participation in all aspects of the Professional Update process and are required to sign-off no later than five years after retirement.

We have created a flowchart of the possible options for teachers who retired prior to the start of session 2014-15 and for those who will retire after the start of session 2014-15:


For further information about Professional Update, contact:

T: +44 (0)131 314 6000