Key Driver: Teacher professionalism
Since August 2014, all teachers who are fully registered with the General Teaching Council Scotland ( GTCS) are required to engage in 'Professional Update'. This aims to support career-long professional learning ( CLPL) and thereby to promote the quality of teachers, the impact teachers have on children's learning, and the reputation of the teaching profession in Scotland. More information can be found on the website of GTCS.
The Professional Update process is based on:
- Teachers engaging in professional learning to stimulate their thinking and ensure that their practice is critically informed and up to date. This may include personal professional learning, in school professional learning and beyond school professional learning. It may also include undertaking practitioner enquiry.
Using Professional Standards
- The Standards offer support in identifying, planning and developing professional learning to ensure continuing development of professional knowledge, skills and understanding and practice.
- Ongoing professional dialogue plays a central role in the Professional Review and Development process. It provides teachers with an opportunity to reflect on their practice and to consider how to improve their professional skills and knowledge.
As part of the Professional Update process, teachers are required to keep a record with evidence of, and reflections on, their professional learning, which is confirmed by their line manager. This is recorded by GTCS as part of the Professional Update processes every five years. The records of GTCS show that of the cohort of 2015/16, 96.6% of those in this cohort have had their Professional Learning confirmed by their line manager.
96.6% As of December 2016, 96.6% of the Professional Update cohort 2015/16 has had their Professional Update confirmed by their line manager and recorded by the GTCS. GTCS will continue to work with their partners to support registrants to confirm their Professional Update for 2015/16.
The key findings of the Evaluation of the Impact of the Implementation of Teaching Scotland's Future, published in 2016, revealed that the teaching profession has risen to the challenge set out in TSF. The evaluation highlighted four particularly encouraging signs of development:
1) Teachers are more engaged with professional learning and are using the Professional Standards to guide their professional learning.
2) There is a greater willingness to try new approaches to professional learning.
3) Teachers are engaging in a range of professional learning opportunities, professional dialogue being highlighted as an important professional learning activity.
4) There is a greater focus on the impact of professional learning on pupil outcomes.
Teachers are more engaged with professional learning and are using the Professional Standards to guide their professional learning.
Where a teacher is in their own learning journey will determine which Professional Standard they use and for what purpose. The standards are underpinned by the themes of professional values, sustainability and leadership. They are integral to, and are demonstrated through, all of a teacher's professional relationships and practice. All of the standards have a clear focus on leadership for learning. All teachers should have the opportunity to be leaders. They lead learning for, and with all learners with whom they engage. They also work with and support the development of colleagues and other partners.
From the GTCS Professional Update annual evaluation for 2015/16, all teachers reported that they are engaging with the Professional Standards. The Standard for Career-long Professional Learning was used by most ( 83.5%) teachers and 56.9% of teachers to a large extent found this useful in guiding their professional learning.
Teachers find the Standards useful as a reflective tool to critically self-evaluate professional learning and values, to consider the evidence of impact of their professional learning and identify their professional learning needs.
There is a greater willingness to try new approaches to professional learning.
In the Evaluation of the Impact of the Implementation of Teaching Scotland's Future (2016) teachers felt they are being encouraged and supported to try new professional practice.
83% of teachers reported that they regularly try new approaches to improve their professional practice
79% of teachers felt they were encouraged to try new professional practices
67% of teachers felt supported to try new approaches in their professional practice
Teachers are engaging in a range of professional learning opportunities.
From the Evaluation of the Impact of the Implementation of Teaching Scotland's Future (2016) professional reading and dialogue are highlighted as important professional learning activities.
The type of professional learning teachers engage in has changed over the last 5 years
Other types of professional learning which are highly rated by teachers are:
- Practitioner enquiry/teacher led research
- Using digital technology to support learning and teaching
- Participating in a Teacher Learning community
GTCS Professional Recognition Awards.
The GTCS Professional Recognition Awards acknowledges the expertise and accomplishment of the teacher as an enhanced practitioner in an area. This award aligns with the Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning and recognises and supports teachers as they develop as reflective, accomplished and enquiring professionals.
The graph below shows the range of topic areas in which the 1,705 registered teachers have gained Professional Recognition since August 2011.
This shows the variety of Professional Recognition Awards, reflecting the dynamic nature of professional learning and enquiry which is currently being undertaken by the profession.
4,600 Since 2012 the Scottish Government has provided funding to enable teachers to undertake SCQF Level 11 professional learning, as part of its aim to ensure that teachers have the necessary skills and knowledge. To date it has supported around 4,600 teachers, of which around 1,100 were in 2016/17.
Since 2011, universities have seen 3,196 teachers gain SCQF level 11 qualifications. 1,471 have exited with a PG certificate, 718 with a PG Diploma and 1,061 with PG Degree.
There is a greater focus on the impact of professional learning of pupils.
From the GTCS Professional Update annual evaluation for 2015/16, it can be seen that teachers believe that their professional learning is having a positive impact on their own learning and the learning experiences of children.