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'. The aims of Professional Update are to support career-long professional learning ( CLPL) of teachers and thereby promote the quality of teacher learning, 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 the GTCS as part of the Professional Update processes every five years. The records of GTCS show that of the cohort of 2016/17, 96.1% of those in this cohort have had their Professional Learning confirmed by their line manager.
96.1% of the Professional Update cohort 2016/17 (as at November 2017) has had their Professional Update confirmed by their line manager and recorded by the GTCS. The GTCS will continue to work with their partners to support registrants to confirm their Professional Update for 2016/17.
The suite of GTC Scotland's Professional Standards includes the Standard for Provisional Registration ( SPR) and the Standard for Full Registration ( SFR), the Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning ( CLPL) and the Standards for Leadership and Management ( SLM). These standards are underpinned by the themes of professional values, sustainability and leadership.
Professional values are at the core of the Standards for Registration. They are integral to, and demonstrated through, all our professional relationships and practices.
Learning for Sustainability is a whole-school commitment that helps the school and its wider community develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and practices needed to take decisions which are compatible with a sustainable future in a just and equitable world.
All teachers should have opportunities 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.
More information about Professional Standards can be found on the website of GTCS.
Where a teacher is in their own professional 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 2016/17, all teachers reported that they are engaging with the Professional Standards. The Standard for Career-long Professional Learning was used by most teachers and 79.9% of teachers reported they found this useful in guiding their professional learning to a large extent/some extent.
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.
It is interesting to note the kinds of professional learning teachers are engaging in. From the GTCS Professional Update annual evaluation for 2016/17, collaborative learning and attendance at courses are the most popular and most valued approaches to professional learning.
From the GTCS Professional Update annual evaluation for 2016/17, curriculum development and subject knowledge are the specific professional learning activities most engaged with by teachers.
Teachers are continuing to engage in a range of professional learning opportunities.
From the GTCS Professional Update annual evaluation for 2016/17, 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.
Impact of Professional Learning
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 864 registered teachers have gained Professional Recognition between October 2016 and October 2017.
The variety of Professional Recognition Awards, shown above, reflects the dynamic nature of professional learning and enquiry which is currently being undertaken by the teaching profession.
Excellence in Professionals Learning Awards for Schools and Learning Communities
The Excellence in Professional Learning Awards for School and Learning Communities recognises the central role that leadership at all levels plays in creating and sustaining professional learning environments where teacher professionalism can flourish and bring about sustained impact on learning and learners.
In this inaugural year four school and learning communities received the Excellence in Professional Learning Award, these were
- Windygoul Primary School, East Lothian
- The Fife Pedagogy team, Fife
- St Ninian's High School, East Dunbartonshire
- The North Ayrshire Professional Learning Academy, North Ayrshire
More information about Excellence in Professional Learning Awards can be found on the website of GTCS.
Since 2011, universities have seen 5,552 teachers gain SCQF level 11 qualification at PG Certificate, PG Diploma and PG Degree.
Content Analysis of Initial Teacher Education ( ITE)
The purpose of the Content Analysis of ITE was to publish information on the range of literacy, numeracy, health & wellbeing ( HWB), data literacy and social justice coverage in initial teacher education programmes.
The key finding from this were:
- The dedicated hours of contract for literacy, numeracy, health & wellbeing, quality and data literacy across each ITE programme is wide ranging. The highest number of hours reported for any key area across all programmes was 173 hours for literacy whereas the lowest number of hours reported for any key area across all programmes was 2 hours for data literacy.
- There is less of a difference in number of hours dedicated to key areas across post graduate (secondary) programmes.
- Numeracy generally has the lowest difference of dedicated hours within programmes.
- A wide range of assessment strategies were reported by ITE providers although there are some common features across all ITE programmes.
- A wide range of pedagogy / andragogy strategies were reported by ITE providers.
Within the undergraduate (primary) programmes, the table below shows that the lowest difference of dedicated hours was for the key area of numeracy at 45 hours, with the highest difference being for literacy and equality at 125 hours.
All probationer teachers (2,386) who completed the Teacher Induction Scheme in 2015/16 were invited to take part in a survey, of which 237 (9.9%) responded.
These 237 probationer teachers were made up of 139 (59%) primary and 98 (41%) secondary.
Post-Teacher Induction Scheme
Post- TIS teachers felt they could benefit more from support in all areas. Around two thirds of primary probationer teachers indicated they would like more support in numeracy ( 64.2%), Health and Wellbeing ( 66.7%), equality ( 67.5%) and data literacy ( 66.7%). More than half of secondary probationer teachers indicated they would like more support in Health and Wellbeing ( 59.0%) and equality ( 57.7%).
The data collected indicates that the majority of probationer teachers feel that they are confident in their knowledge and ability to teach literacy, numeracy and contribute to Health and Wellbeing to support pupil outcomes.
Equality appears to be more problematic than literacy, numeracy and Health and Wellbeing.