GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Professional Review and Development

Unlocking the Potential of Professional Review and Development

PRD is key to Teacher Professionalism

GTCS has developed a series of resources to support your Professional Review and Development (PRD), which can be accessed below.

PRD and professional learning are central to the principles of the teaching profession. If we are to maximise professional learning opportunities to support strategic development in schools, we must give greater importance to our PRD processes. We must value and reflect upon the excellent work undertaken by teachers, capitalising on the momentum of high-quality ongoing professional dialogue to ensure future engagement in meaningful professional learning.

PRD provides teachers, throughout the year, with ongoing opportunities to reflect on their practice and personal learning, punctuated with a variety of professional learning conversations, supported by an annual review meeting between reviewee and reviewer. When set within a culture of professional trust and positive relationships, where everyone has a shared understanding of its purpose, high-quality PRD empowers teachers, whether they are reviewers or reviewees, to be leaders ‘of and for’ learning. This engagement helps teachers to plan for improvement and become even better. It also promotes inclusion and enables us to best meet the increasingly diverse needs of all learners.

Professional Standards for teachers are core to the being, knowing and doing that is teacher professionalism. It is these standards which make useful connections between ongoing Professional Review and Development, Professional Learning and Professional Update sign-off. Through actively engaging in self-evaluation across the standards and ongoing dialogue, teachers can become agents of change, develop an enquiring mindset and take ownership of their learning journey. Professional capital, which includes human, social and decisional capital, will therefore grow across learning communities with teachers being recognised and valued by the profession as proactive role models of learning.

GTCS has identified ten key features of a high-quality PRD that should be set within a culture and climate of trust, with school readiness for PRD in place, and ongoing professional dialogue between colleagues happening regularly, together ensuring a positive experience for all.

PRD Support Month 2021 Resources

Sharing resources, tips and thoughts about PRD throughout May 2021.

How coaching can help you com back stronger (PDF)

Coaching experts Agnes Hendry, Alison Dakers and Lesley Henderson discuss coaching techniques for wellbeing and development. This article was first published in issue 88 of Teaching Scotland.

The power of PRD (video)

Sharon Smith, speaks to Susan Ward, Headteacher, Kingsland Primary School, Peebles, and Gordon Wood, Depute Headteacher, St Andrew's High School, Kirkcaldy about their PRD experiences.

Emotional overflow in PRD (blog)

GTC Scotland's Sharon Smith discusses the emotional side of Professional Review and Development (PRD) and how to handle these conversations.

PRD in 2021: an opportunity to be seized (Sway)

What might PRD sound, look and feel like during this unusual time?

Making the most of your Professional Review and Development (webinar)

In this webinar designed for teachers in their first four years post-probation, we look at coaching approaches and setting professional goals. This webinar was presented in partnership with Education Scotland for the Stepping Stones programme.

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PRD is important; especially now (blog)

Sharon Smith, Senior Education Officer, reflects on the last year and how PRD conversations can be a catalyst for change.

The Power of PRD (video)

Sharon Smith, Senior Education Officer, GTC Scotland talks to two teachers about the power of Professional Review and Development and the benefits it can bring to teachers. Sharon is joined for this informal conversation by Susan Ward, Headteacher, Kingsland Primary School, Peebles, and Gordon Wood, Depute Headteacher, St Andrew's High School, Kirkcaldy.

A culture and climate of trust, where teachers feel nurtured, valued and empowered is core to the success of PRD.

PRD requires teachers to talk openly and honestly about their professional learning, and for this to be achievable teachers need to feel safe in doing so. They need to know that they have permission and space to make mistakes, and opportunities to take risks.

We should all feel comfortable in being challenged and questioned about our professional learning, and confident in discussing the decisions that we have taken. Strong, positive relationships with trust and respect are all required for this to be fully maximised.

We should avoid making assumptions that we all feel the same about our place of work, and endeavour to take the time to self-evaluate to understand the quality of our professional relationship.

The Culture and Climate of Trust resources below are provided to assist schools with this process - schools are free to use the resource in anyway suitable for their own context and circumstances.


Guidance to use Resources (PDF)

Culture and Climate Resource

In order to give PRD value, we should prepare and plan for its success.

Schools should, ideally every year, take the time to ensure that working time agreements have time identified and prioritised for the formal PRD meetings, and that reviewers have received training in coaching for PRD.

Both reviewers and reviewees should be knowledgeable about their locally agreed policies/LNCT agreement and be fully aware of what is required of them.

Additionally, the roles and responsibilities should be understood, with everyone ensuring they undertake their own obligations to contribute to the success of their own PRD. Ideally pairings between reviewers and reviewees should be identified as early as possible to allow for on-going professional dialogue to support professional learning throughout the year, and for the reviewee/ reviewer relationship to grow.

Are We Ready for PRD Graphic

10 key features of high-quality PRD

To ensure a positive PRD experience for all and to achieve the ten key features of high-quality PRD we must strive to make sure:

  • there is a positive climate and culture of trust in schools;
  • schools have ensured they are prepared and ready to engage in high-quality PRD; and;
  • there is ongoing professional dialogue between colleagues.

The ten key features are:

  • self-evaluation across the Professional Standards;
  • ongoing engagement in meaningful professional learning and reflection;
  • explore leadership opportunities;
  • support strategic development;
  • career conversations and next steps;
  • coaching conversations to support and challenge;
  • offer a reflective, safe space to explore successes and challenges;
  • celebrations of success and planning for future next steps;
  • enhance empowerment and develop teachers as agents of change; and
  • nurture teacher professionalism, building professional capital.

Ten Key Features of PRD

The central wheel is divided into three section, which may support considerations as teachers engage with PRD:


  • Nurture teacher professionalism, building professional capital.
  • Enable empowerment and develop teachers as agents of change.
  • Celebrations of success and planning for future next steps.
  • Offer a reflective space to explore successes and challenges.

Professional Learning

  • Self-evaluation across the Professional Standards.
  • Ongoing engagement in meaningful professional learning and reflection.
  • Explore leadership opportunities.
  • Support strategic development.

Process and Practice

  • Career conversations
  • Coaching conversations

We should all ensure we are familiar with our own roles and responsibilities for PRD to make certain that we all have high-quality, meaningful PRD experiences. PRD is not something ‘done to us’, and we have a collective responsibility to ensure that we prepare in advance and take the time to reflect on where we are in our professional journeys prior to our formal PRD conversation. Roles and responsibilities have been identified for the following groups:

  • Reviewees
  • Reviewers
  • Senior Leadership Teams
  • Local Authorities and Employers
  • GTCS

Effective coaching approaches ensure the reviewee is appropriately supported and challenged in their professional learning conversations

Local authorities and employers have an important role in ensuring PRDs are valued and seen as positive experiences for teachers and schools.

There are many misconceptions about PRD.