GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Professional Standards for Scotland's Teachers

The Professional Standards for Scotland's Teachers describe teacher professionalism in Scotland; teachers’ ‘way of being’.

Refreshed and restructured Professional Standards were enacted on 2 August 2021, and can be viewed below.

The Professional Standards support and promote partnership, leadership, enquiry and professional learning and have multiple purposes:

  • to create a shared language for teaching professionals;
  • as a benchmark for professional competency (Standard for Provisional Registration and Standard for Full Registration);
  • to develop and enhance professionalism; 
  • to support career-long professional growth;
  • to provide a framework for Initial Teacher Education, probation and leadership pathways and professional learning programmes;
  • support for self-evaluation and reflection for teachers in, and aspiring to, formal leadership roles and contribution to dialogue about leadership and management;
  • informing the process of recruitment and selection; and
  • to ensure and enhance public trust and confidence in the teaching profession.

Being a teacher in Scotland

The Professional Standards 2021 includes a new section called ‘Being a teacher in Scotland’, which highlights the professional values of social justice, trust and respect and integrity as central to 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.

The strong focus on professional values helps teachers develop their professional identity and underpins a deep commitment to all learners’ cognitive, social and emotional growth and wellbeing. The Professional Standards are integral to, and demonstrated through, teachers’ professional relationships, thinking and actions in their professional practice. Commitment to reflecting on the connections between values and actions and career-long professional learning is a critical part of developing teacher professionalism.

Welcome to the Professional Standards 2021

Dr Pauline Stephen, Chief Executive and Registrar, GTC Scotland

The Professional Standards


Standard for Provisional Registration


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 GTC Scotland. This Professional Standard outlines what is required to become a teacher in Scotland.


Standard for Full Registration


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. 


Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning


The Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning provides an aspirational and 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.


Standard for Middle Leadership


The Standard for Middle Leadership provides an aspirational and 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. 


Standard for Headship


The Standard for Headship is designed to support individual self-evaluation and reflection as an integral part of leadership development. The Standard for Headship has the additional purpose of being a requirement for teachers permanently employed in local authority headteacher roles.

Information on Headship Qualifications.

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