SSTA opposed to the formation of an Education Workforce Council

The SSTA at its December Council meeting passed a motion to oppose the Deputy First Minister’s proposal regarding the formation of an Education Workforce Council and urges the Government to abandon plans to create such a Council.


Seamus Searson, SSTA General Secretary said “The SSTA believes that by removing the GTCS it would be a retrograde step and would compromise the independence and integrity of the GTCS.  This would be to the detriment of the teaching profession in Scotland.


“The thrust of ‘Empowering Scotland’s Schools’ in the area of the General Teaching Council (Scotland) seems to be aimed at the dissolution of a world class, self-funded and independent body that registers and maintains teacher standards in Scottish schools.


“GTCS is self-funded by teachers and requires full registration before someone can work in our schools. Considering it is one of the few areas in education that is still generally viewed as being world class and a model of good practice due to it ensuring that high standards are met and maintained, it is somewhat curious that it is now under attack”.


“The consultation bill says, ‘We intend that the Education Workforce Council for Scotland should operate independently from Scottish Ministers’ (p27) except when it suits ‘We intend to include in the Education Bill a power for Ministers to amend the list of practitioners required to register‘ (p29)”.


“The GTCS has many critics but it is democratic, fairly representative and open to all to put themselves forwards to directly influence our professional standards”.

Kevin Campbell, SSTA President concluded


“The GTCS was set up in 1965 to counter fears about the number of unqualified teachers in schools. It now seems that the Scottish Government, rather than tackling salary and working conditions that are falling through the floor, see the upholding of professional standards as an obstacle to the insertion of cheap labour into our schools”.



Further information from:

Seamus Searson
General Secretary

7 December 2017

SSTA response to the increase in GTCS Fees

SSTA response to the increase in General Teaching Council for Scotland(GTCS) Fees

The SSTA Head Office has been inundated with members complaining about the planned £15 (30%) annual increase in GTCS fees from £50 to £65 in 2017. SSTA members are extremely angry about what they see is an unjustified increase at a time of education cuts.

Teachers have had to face a cut in ‘real’ salary in the last few years and work in an education service that has had to face significant reductions in funding. Schools budgets have been cut resulting in cuts to teachers, support staff and teaching resources. The GTCS seems to be insensitive to its members and current situation within education by approving a substantial increase in the annual fee.

Like other teaching unions, the SSTA is not formally represented on the GTCS and was not consulted on the £15 (30%) increase. The decision to increase the fee was made by the GTCS Council in December. GTCS Council members are elected as representatives of a sector but are unaccountable to GTCS members in schools.

Whilst the SSTA recognises the importance of GTCS Registration as a confirmation of teachers’ skills and suitability to teach in schools in Scotland, the SSTA is concerned about the expansion of the work of GTCS at the expense of its teacher members. These were highlighted in a GTCS response to a SSTA member:

“As part of our work we offer multiple services each year such as:

  • Processing the applications of hundreds of teachers from across the world who wish to teach in Scotland
  • Managing the Teacher Induction Scheme and supporting over 2,500 probationers teachers and their supporters each year
  • Managing the Student Placement System which involves placing hundreds of students in schools
  • Managing the teacher profiles of probationers, those on the flexible route etc.
  • Managing and administrating Professional Update and the new MyProfessionalLearning service
  • We hold hundreds of professional learning meets and events each year to support teacher professional development
  • We are launching professional learning awards this year which will further support teacher professional learning

The GTCS fee and the increase can be allocated to the expenditure contained in the GTCS Annual Report 2015-16. This information will only heighten a review of the work of the GTCS and what teachers in schools should be asked to pay for.

  • Council Governance 4% (£2 to £2.60)
  • Registration Services 20% (£10 to £13)
  • Fitness to Teach 20% (£10 to £13)
  • Support 11% (£5.50 to £7.15)
  • Education Services 25% (£12.50 to £16.25)
  • Customer Services and Communications 20% (£10 to £13)"

SSTA is of the view that

  • The GTCS should reconsider its decision to increase the fee and show solidarity with its members by working within the current fee of £50
  • The GTCS should focus on its essential role of registration and accrediting teacher programmes.
  • Should the GTCS see itself as an agency that carries out functions on behalf of the Government and/or Employers then those bodies, and not GTCS members, should be expected to contribute to the additional costs.

GTCS Vacancy - Senior Education Officer (Research and Professional Learning) Maternity Secondment

GTC Scotland is offering a 12 month maternity secondment as a Senior Education Officer.  The successful applicant will work as a member of the Education Team, leading and supporting particular aspects of the ongoing work of GTC Scotland.

Interested applicants should visit for further information and an application form.  The closing date for applications is 5pm, Monday 23 March 2015.

Potential applicants who require more information about this post should contact Carrie Cave, HR Manager (0131 314 6074).

2015-03-06 Job Description - Senior Education Officer (Research and Professional Learning) - Mat Cover

Professional Update

Dear Registrant


Professional Update comes into effect from August 2014. There are a number of things you should do to be ready for Professional Update and this letter and leaflet are designed to help explain them to you. You may have read about Professional Update on the GTC Scotland website, in our e-newsletters, or in Teaching Scotland magazine. You may also have received information from your employer, or attended an event organised by GTCS Scotland, your employer or your professional association, held to explain more about Professional Update.


Engagement in the Professional Update process will become a requirement for all fully registered teachers from August 2014.  You  will  find  enclosed  a  leaflet  which  details  the  key  principles  of Professional Update, outlines the steps in the process and provides links to further information.


GTC Scotland has been piloting Professional Update since August 2012, working with teachers in local authorities, independent schools, universities and Education Scotland. A working group comprising representatives of unions, employers, government, parents, universities, Education Scotland and GTC Scotland has met regularly to agree the way forward, produce guidelines and review progress. We have used the findings of this pilot work to develop the process which will be rolled out nationally from August


We believe  that  Professional  Update,  which  is  premised  on  supportive  and  rigorous  Professional Review and Development (PRD) and sustained professional learning, will contribute to the future quality of the education profession. The process builds on and develops existing good practice and comprises the following interlinked features:


  • An annual update of contact information to GTC Scotland;


  • Engagement in professional learning, including continuing engagement in PRD processes;


  • Ongoing self-evaluation against an appropriate GTC Scotland Professional Standard;


  • Discussion of this engagement and its impact, as part of the PRD process;


  • Maintenance of a professional learning record and portfolio of evidence of impact; and


  • 5-yearly confirmation of engagement in this process with GTC Scotland.


From August 2014,  all registered  teachers  are required to engage  in the  ongoing  process  outlined above, with the 5-yearly sign-off process being implemented on a rolling basis, based on GTC Scotland registration numbers, as detailed in the table below:


2014/2015 Registration years  ending in 9 and 4
2015/2016 Registration years ending in 0 and 5
2016/2017 Registration years ending in 1 and 6
2017/2018 Registration years ending in 2 and 7
2018/2019 Registration years ending in 3 and 8


As your registration number is (to be inserted as appropriate), you will be required to complete the Professional Update sign off process for the first time in session 2017/2018.  Your GTC Scotland registration year is the first two digits of your registration number.


Teachers (including supply teachers) working in local authorities, independent schools and universities will  receive further  information from their  employers  about how they  can record their  professional learning and complete the Professional Update sign off in line with local procedures.


We plan to pilot Professional Update with a small number of registered teachers in the college sector in session 2014 I 2015. Registered teachers working in the college sector due to complete the 5-yearly sign-off will be able to defer this process until the completion of the pilots, and can contact us at: to do so.


We have developed additional guidance for teachers who are not employed in these contexts to ensure that they are able to engage in the process and maintain registration with GTC Scotland. This includes retired  teachers, teachers  about  to  retire, teachers  working  in the  college  sector,  national  bodies, working outwith the education system, working abroad and not currently working. If this applies to you, you will find further information on our website at:


Finally, further information on each aspect of the process can be found in the leaflet and on the GTC Scotland website: Our magazine, Teaching Scotland, will continue to feature articles on Professional Update as we approach August 2014, including detailed information on each aspect of the process, case studies and links to support resources.


Thank you for your participation in Professional Update. If you have any queries about the information contained in this letter please e-mail


Yours sincerely


Kenneth Muir

Chief Executive



Kate  Adams
Customer Services Co-ordinatorT: 0131 314 6080

The General Teaching Council for Scotland
Clerwood House
96 Clermiston Road
EH12 6UT

Professional Update – this affects you!
Professional Update will be rolled out nationally to all teachers from August 2014. Find out more at:

GTCS Council Elections

Executive of the SSTA has agreed that members who wish to stand for election to the GTCS Council are free to indicate in their statements that they are a members of the SSTA

Opportunities to contribute to the work of GTC Scotland

PDF Version of Advert

GTC Scotland is the independent professional body that maintains and enhances teaching standards and promotes and regulates the teaching profession in Scotland.

We are looking to appoint talented individuals, with appropriate skills and experience, to serve on our:

  • Council (Lay Members)
  • Adjudicating Panels (Registered Teacher and Lay members)
  • Independent Appeals Board (Registered Teacher and Lay members)

You will have an important role in:

  • influencing and making key decisions that will help shape the future of teaching and the teaching profession in Scotland;
  • ensuring the maintenance of high standards in teaching and learning, and the protection of children and young people.

You will be an effective communicator, have sound judgement and decision making skills and be able to work successfully as part of a team.

  • For a Lay Council member position, you must have experience in at least one of the following areas; governance, policy, professional development, finance, audit/risk management or legal work;
  • For a Panel or Appeals Board position, it is desirable that you have contributed to the development of learning and teaching in Scotland and/or have some experience in relevant legal or tribunal or professional regulation work.

Appointment - 4 year term (Lay Council members have the option of a 2 or 4 year term)

Commitment - Lay Council members – up to 20 to 22 days per year

- Panel and Appeals Board members – from around 5 days per year

Compensation - Appointed members will be eligible to claim compensation payment of £75 for each half-day (up to 3.5 hours) for attendance. (This rate is currently under review).

- Reasonable expenses will be refunded

For further information and an application pack visit or call 0131 314 6021.

The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 30 September 2011.

Interviews will be held in Edinburgh from November to December 2011.

GTC Scotland aims to promote equality and diversity in all its activities

We positively welcome applications from all sections of the community

GTCS Launches Consultations on Fitness to Teach and Codes of Practice

The General Teaching Council for Scotland has today launched three consultations on proposed changes to important areas of its work.

The first consultation is on new Fitness to Teach and Appeals Rules. These rules set out the framework for how GTCS will investigate and determine the fitness to teach of individuals where it is alleged that they have fallen short of the standards of conduct or professional competence expected of a registered teacher.

‘Fitness to teach' is the terminology used in the new legislation that will govern GTCS when it becomes independent of government from 2 April 2012 onwards. The legislation is the Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland Order) 2011.

The other two consultations are on revisions to the existing Code of Professionalism and Conduct (CoPAC) and on the introduction of a new Student Teacher Code for teachers training to join the teaching profession.

All three consultations can be accessed at:

Invitation to serve on the First Ever GTC Scotland Appointments Committee

The General Teaching Council for Scotland will, in April 2012, become the world's first independent self-regulating professional body for teaching.

As part of this statutory change, the GTCs are looking to appoint GTC Scotland Registered Teachers and Lay people to serve on an independent Appointments Committee to recruit and select members of the governing Council and panels.

A letter from Mr Anthony Finn, Chief Executive, together with the advert setting out information on the opportunities available and how to apply are available to view using the following links.   Letter. Advert.



GTC Scotland shall be launching its Code of Professionalism and Conduct in 2008. The Code sets out the key principles and values for registered teachers in Scotland giving guidance not only to the Profession but also to members of the public. The Council wishes to consult widely on the code and the link below will enable you to engage in that process,'