The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

Returning to teaching

If you have been out of teaching for a while and have allowed your registration to lapse, you will be required to re-register with us before returning to the classroom.

It is a legal requirement for any teacher to be registered with us whilst teaching in a Scottish state school.

To re-register, you will need to request an application pack. This application for registration ensures that our records are correct and up to date. You will be asked to join the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. If you are already a member of the PVG Scheme you will have an update processed, this is known as an Existing PVG Scheme Member Application.

We will also require an overseas police check if you have spent three months or more (in a single period) in a non-UK country in the last ten years or you were born and have lived overseas until adulthood.

Once the registration process is complete, you will receive confirmation of your registration with us and your status will be reactivated.

Although not a requirement of GTCS, some local authorities require teachers who have been out of the profession for a while to complete a return to teaching refresher course. At the moment, courses are offered by the University of Edinburgh in conjunction with the City of Edinburgh Council and in Glasgow by the University of Strathclyde.

You may also wish to discuss your pension entitlement with the Scottish Public Pensions Agency.

Returner Teacher Courses

University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh, together with six partner authorities offers a national, blended "Returning to Teaching" course.

This course is delivered in an online format over 10 weeks with 2 face to face sessions,

More information can be found here.

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde offers a 10 week Returner Teacher Course.

This course is delivered in the University of Strathclyde Lord Hope Building by staff from Strathclyde and Edinburgh Universities, Education Scotland, GTCS, schools and local authorities.

Find out more about the course and apply here

Some tips for getting back into the classroom

See if your Local Authority runs refresher courses

Contact your Local Authority Education Department for information on any courses they are running in your area. These courses are sometimes run by universities.

Ask a local school if you can observe some classes

If you find that there are no arrangements in place in your area you could try contacting the headteacher of a local school to ask if you could observe some classes.

Read up on Curriculum changes

A lot has happened in Scottish Education in recent years. If you have been out of the classroom for a while you might find it helpful to review up-to-date curriculum documents for your subject and sector. Curriculum for Excellence information and the syllabus for secondary subjects will help. Curriculum for Excellence information can be obtained from Education Scotland and the syllabi for secondary subjects are available from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

Arrange some Professional Learning

Consider looking into areas of professional learning to update your curriculum and/ or subject knowledge.