GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

History of GTCS

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) as one of the first teaching councils in the world when it was set up in 1965. In 2012, legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament made it the world's first independent, self-regulating body for teaching.

Timeline of GTCS

On 8 May 1961, more than a thousand striking teachers crammed into the Central Halls in Bath Street in Glasgow, with over 200 more turned away at the door. They astonished the organisers of the meeting - David Lambie of the city's Educational Institute of Scotland management committee and Arthur Houston, a teacher at St Augustine's Secondary School in the north of the city - who had expected about 40 people to turn up to debate their idea of setting up a Scottish Teachers' Council to give teachers similar control over their profession to that of equivalent bodies in medicine and accountancy.

On 9 November 1961, the Secretary of State established a Committee led by the senior judge Lord Wheatley with a remit to review the training and certification of teachers. The Committee members included four headteachers, three Directors of Education, four representatives of local authority education committees, representatives of the three main teaching professional associations, a university professor, a college Principal, two officials of the Scottish Education Department and two senior officers of external bodies to represent the public interest.

On 2 June 1965, Teaching Council (Scotland) Act 1965 became law following concerns that entry requirements had lowered after the Second World War and unqualified teachers were working in Scottish schools. Its powers, remits and duties have since been amended by other legislation, including the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998  and the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000. It is a legal requirement for all teachers working in Scottish local authority schools to be registered with GTCS (The Requirements for Teachers (Scotland) Regulations 2005).

In December 1999, the first issue of Teaching Scotland was distributed to all GTCS registrants. 

From 1 Feb until 12 Mar 2012 a consultation was held on the proposal for a scheme of Professional Update following the creation of a Working Group in 2011 with representation from key stakeholders in Scottish education.


On 2 April 2012 GTCS was granted independence status by the Scottish Government. The Teaching Council (Scotland) Act 1965 was repealed and replaced by the Public Services Reform (GTC Scotland) Order 2011. The Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland) Order 2011 was made by Scottish Ministers in accordance with the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010  and passed into law on 17 March 2011.

The granting of independent status for GTCS was an historic and important milestone for our teaching profession. The Council, already the oldest such body in the world, became the world's first independent, self-regulating professional body of teaching.

Independence brought significant changes to the Council and some adjustments to the way GTCS carry out business. Independence also opened opportunities to offer new services to teachers and other education professionals.

On 18 August 2014, Professional Update was launched.

GTCS held a celebration event on 2 June 2015 to mark its 50th anniversary. This included a presentation by Ian Matheson (former GTCS Education Officer - Research) who presented a selection of highlights from his book Milestones and Minefields - A History of GTC Scotland. Excerpts from the book were published in Teaching Scotland through the anniversary year, read them .


Delve into the history of GTCS and view a gallery of Chairmen and Convenors, Chief Executives, Councils and more.