IN AUGUST next year we will launch a scheme of Professional Update for teachers. As the independent professional regulatory body for teachers we were tasked with doing this by the Scottish Government.
We have worked hard to ensure that Professional Update will support teachers to develop their career-long professional learning. It is based on effective, consistent Professional Review and Development (PRD) and high-quality professional learning focused on teachers’ development as well as aiming to improve outcomes for young people.
The Professional Update Working Group we established includes representatives from across Scottish education, including the teachers’ trade unions, and has been developing a process which requires the following of teachers: an annual update of contact details to the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS); engagement in professional learning; self-evaluation against the appropriate GTCS Professional Standard; discussion of this engagement and its impact as part of the PRD process; maintaining a professional learning record and portfolio of evidence; five-yearly confirmation of this engagement to GTCS.
We have been piloting Professional Update in local authorities, in higher education and in the independent sector.
This will soon be extended into the further education sector. Feedback from teachers participating in the pilot has been positive, and we have used this feedback to help prepare for the national rollout.
What Professional Update is not is a stick with which to beat teachers.
The vast majority of teachers already reflect on their practice, engage in high-quality professional learning and deliver quality education.
The Scottish education system is still one of the highest regarded internationally. We know this because of the large number of visits we receive from international educationalists keen to find out more about education here.
But it would be foolish to stand still; we must always strive to be better. Professional Update will help teachers further improve standards in Scottish schools.
• Kenneth Muir is chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-update