GTCS Professional Update

IMG_5843The General Teaching Council for Scotland has for the past few years been preparing for the introduction of a scheme of re-accreditation for teachers, required as part of the legislation which saw it gain “independence” from Government in 2012.

As with every other public body with an education remit, the GTCS can no doubt show that it has consulted widely and has “a regard to any views expressed by those consulted” [1]. The GTCS leadership have been at pains to distance itself from the competency overtones of the term “re-accreditation” and has positioned the professional update scheme, which goes live next week, as an enhancement of the annual professional review and development (PRD) process.

According to the GTCS website, I have to engage in the professional update process in August but, as with every other public body with an education remit, getting a clear statement of exactly what it is I have to do is difficult. I have a suspicion from talking to those involved in the pilot process that in the end, anything that from 500 yards looks like a duck, will be called a duck. “It’s a skoosh”, according to one participant.

This is familiar territory to anyone who has used the COSLA myjobscotland website, which is clearly designed to show how the official bodies are working hard to operate an open, equal and fair process but which in fact delivers an awkward, dysfunctional and frustrating exercise in time-wasting for potential applicants. Reading Kafka is great preparation for using this site if you’re considering it.

So, it’s August next week and, like a lot of teachers, I have a lot of things to do during the so-called holiday period, including preparing for Professional Update. From the GTCS website today:

28. When will I be required to complete the Professional Update process for the first time?

From my GTCS number, I will be required to complete Professional Update in 2014/15.

29. How should I be preparing for Professional Update?

“From August 2014, engagement in the Professional Update process will be a condition of registration with GTC Scotland. National implementation will be on a phased basis, as outlined in the question above. Teachers will not be asked to provide retrospective evidence in the PRD process prior to 2014. GTC Scotland will continue to take every opportunity to communicate with the profession to ensure that all teachers are aware of the timescale of implementation, and what will be required of them to complete the Professional Update process.”

A paragraph of text which doesn’t answer the question by stating that GTCS will take “every opportunity” to answer the question. So, I get that this is something to do with the PRD process, which from the past decade I’ve spent in education, is a futile ticky-box role-playing exercise with absolutely no value whatsoever to me, the people I teach, nor the service. OK, I think I’m ready for that.

3 thoughts on “GTCS Professional Update

  1. A month later and I’m none the wiser. I’ve written to the GTCS at to seek their advice:


    I am having great difficulty trying to find out exactly what I have to do for this professional update thing everyone is talking about. My GTCS number tells me that I am supposed to do something in August – but I have no idea what it is that I have to do. Your site and your publications like Teaching Today contain a lot of words about it but nothing that tells me what it is that I have to do in August. Given that there are only four days of August left, what will happen if I don’t do whatever it is I’m supposed to do?

    I am a local-authority employed teacher on full-time secondment to a University. Some unequivocal, direct and clear statement of what this professional update is would be really helpful.

    Please advise. Thanks.”

    I’ll post their response here.

    • 2 weeks later, I got a reply from the GTCS:

      “Thank you for your email. Please accept my apologies for not responding sooner. Please contact aaaaa bbbbb, CPD co-ordinator within XXX Council for advice specific to your secondment. S/he can be contacted on xxxx xxxxxx ext xxxxxx.”

      Obviously, I’ve redacted the details. I immediately emailed, and followed up with a phone call. 2 weeks later, I received another email from the LA telling me the CPD co-ordinator has retired and giving the name of an EO to contact, if I “have any specific questions regarding Professional Update”.

      It’s like snakes and ladders.

      • Two months on from the original enquiry, I have a fairly clear statement of what is required from the EO at my employing LA, with a suggestion that I now take this up with the University:

        “You should discuss this matter with your current line manager. I would advise that you log on to My GTCS and register. The Professional Update process has only just come into affect this session so you have until next Summer to complete the process. During this session you should keep a log of the impact of your Professional Learning. At some point this session you should organise with your line manager a PRD meeting. Prior to the meeting you should carry out a Self-Evaluation against the relevant Professional Standard; Full Registration; Career-Long Professional Learning or Leadership. Upon completion of your PRD meeting you should complete a Personal Learning Plan outlining your professional learning priorities for next session.

        There is a facility on the GTCS website to enable you to keep a log of this process on-line. [Local authorities have their own systems for staff currently working in schools]

        I hope this information is useful but there should be a CPD co-ordinator in the University to advise you on this matter also.”

        That’s helpful.

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