GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Professional Standards 2021 approved by GTC Scotland Council

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland) Council has today (9 December 2020), approved refreshed and restructured Professional Standards for teachers, which will come into use in August 2021.

9 December 2020

Ken Muir, Chief Executive and Registrar of GTC Scotland said, “We are very pleased to have the Professional Standards for teachers 2021 approved by Council and to begin a period of enactment support in the new year.

“Engagement with stakeholders has been an essential part of this project and I would like to thank everyone who responded to the consultations or took part in a focus group. The Professional Standards have been written by the teaching profession, for the teaching profession and capture what is means to become, to be and to grow as a teacher in Scotland today.”

The Professional Standards 2021 will launch on 13 January 2021 at the GTC Scotland Annual Lecture with Professor Graham Donaldson. A period of enactment support will then begin, allowing teachers and others to engage, explore and understand the relevance of the Professional Standards before formal enactment on 2 August 2021.


Refreshed Professional Standards were subject to public consultation in 2019, gathering feedback from stakeholders. The consultation resulted in 28 recommendations which were approved by Council in March 2020.

The ‘Being a teacher in Scotland’ section was added, highlighting that the professional values of social justice, trust and respect and integrity are at the heart of what it means to be a teacher in Scotland. This roots the Professional Standards as a framework that supports what it means to become, to be and to grow as a teacher in Scotland.

Further feedback was sought on what had more accurately become refreshed and restructured Professional Standards, with stakeholders invited to complete a short survey and feedback on three key areas. GTC Scotland also conducted virtual focus groups with a teachers and partners.

Further information

The Professional Standards describe teacher professionalism in Scotland, and have multiple purposes:

  • to create a shared language for teaching professionals;
  • to develop and enhance professionalism;
  • to support career-long professional growth;
  • to provide a framework for Initial Teacher Education, probation and leadership pathways and programmes; and
  • to ensure and enhance public trust and confidence in the teaching profession.

A revised Professional Code was also put out for consultation in October 2019. Further engagement with registrants is required and our ambition is to have two Codes (one for teachers and one for lecturers) in place by August 2021.