News | Published October 31 2019

General Teaching Council for Scotland begins consultation on new standards code

Early October saw the start of a consultation process in Scotland on a new professional standards code that will apply to teachers.

The governing body for the profession, the General Teaching Council for Scotland, which participated in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review, is engaging with teaching professionals and the wider public as part of the process.

The consultation is set to run until the end of December.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland, which operates independently of the Scottish government, is the oldest regulatory body on the planet in the teaching profession, having operated since 1965. All teachers in Scotland must be registered with the body, which sets out the minimum qualifications teachers need to be fit for the profession, along with a strict code of conduct.

The Council reserves the right to strike off teachers in Scotland who do not live up to existing standards and will continue to do so for those who do not comply with the new code.

As chief executive Kenneth Muir penned in the Review: "Action is taken if a teacher's fitness to teach is found to be impaired because of shortfalls in their conduct or professional competence."

Its disciplinary processes focus on "ensuring maintenance of our professional standards for teachers", making the council's fitness to teach process "distinct from any employer or criminal process."

In the Review, released back in March 2019, Muir did indicate that the council's Code of Professionalism & Conduct would be updated along with its minimum standards for teachers to be registered with the regulatory body.

The new code includes an outline for how teachers should be initially trained, as well as measures for enhancing public faith in the teaching profession.

The beginning of the consultation process has now seen these plans truly set in motion.

Speaking of the ongoing consultation, Muir said that the Council must be sure that the new code is "fit for purpose."

It also delivers on its promise outlined in the Review to "develop public engagement" and raise awareness of the Council's role in both "regulating and supporting the teaching profession".

Muir said: "The professional standards and professional code are integral to the working lives of teachers.

"These documents guide teachers through their careers, ensuring high standards and encouraging professional learning in order to continually update and develop skills.

"We have refreshed the professional standards and revised the code to reflect the changing educational landscape and the needs of teachers and, importantly, children and young people."

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
October 31 2019

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