GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Professional Standards 2021 for Teachers. These standards become mandatory as of 2 August 2021

Professional Values

Professional Code View the current Standards View all 5 refreshed Standards side-by-side

What are the Professional Standards?

The Professional Standards, with professional values at the heart, support and promote partnership, leadership, enquiry and professional learning. It can be helpful to move across and between the Professional Standards to support your professional practice and enable you to support the learning of colleagues and student teachers.


Use this tool to compare Professional Knowledge and Understanding, and Professional Skills and Abilities across up to three Professional Standards.


Click on one of the Standards below to find out more.

The Standard for Provisional Registration is the benchmark of competence required of all student teachers at the end of Initial Teacher Education who are seeking provisional registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland). This Professional Standard outlines what is required to become a teacher in Scotland.  

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The Standard for Full Registration is the foundation of the Professional Standards and is the benchmark of competence required of all registered teachers in Scotland. This Professional Standard is the gateway to the profession and constitutes the teaching standards in which learners, parents, the profession itself and the wider community can have confidence. This Professional Standard encompasses what it is to be a teacher in Scotland.

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The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning provides an aspirational and/or developmental framework for teachers.  It describes the advanced professional knowledge and pedagogical expertise that registered teachers could develop and maintain as they continue to progress in teaching and the education profession. This Professional Standard supports the professional growth of teachers in Scotland. 

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The Standard for Middle Leadership provides an aspirational and/or developmental framework for teachers in or considering leadership roles. It outlines the strategic vision, professional knowledge and understanding, interpersonal skills and abilities and professional actions that support teachers in leadership roles.  Set alongside the Standard for Headship, these Professional Standards provide a framework for professional growth for teachers in leadership roles. Consequently, they have some additional purposes:

  • support for self-evaluation and reflection for teachers in, and aspiring to, formal leadership roles in our schools; 
  • informing the process of recruitment and selection; and 
  • contributing to dialogue about leadership and management. 
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The Standard for Headship provides an aspirational and/or developmental framework for teachers in or considering leadership roles. It outlines the strategic vision, professional knowledge and understanding, interpersonal skills and abilities and professional actions that support teachers in leadership roles.  Set alongside the Standard for Middle Leadership, these Professional Standards provide a framework for professional growth for teachers in leadership roles. Consequently, they have some additional purposes:

  • support for self-evaluation and reflection for teachers in, and aspiring to, formal leadership roles in our schools;   
  • informing the process of recruitment and selection; and 
  • contributing to dialogue about leadership and management. 

The Standard for Headship has the additional purpose of being a requirement for teachers permanently employed in Headteacher roles from August 2020.

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