GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Professional Update and Fitness to Teach

Professional Update (PU) focuses on professional learning and continuous improvement rather than determining whether or not a registrant is, or has remained, competent. In line with the GTCS Framework on Teacher Competence (FTC), competence cases will continue to be handled by local authorities and employers in the first instance, with cases of alleged professional incompetence referred subsequently to GTCS for resolution.

The failure to complete PU is envisaged to be a relatively rare occurrence and for most registrants in that situation it will be due to valid reasons such as career breaks, extended periods of illness, maternity/ paternity/ adoption leave, unemployment, recent change in employment circumstances, engagement in only occasional and sporadic supply work or other exceptional circumstances. For such circumstances, a deferral process has been developed.

If a registrant were to make a deliberate and conscious decision not to meet the requirements of the PU through non-compliance with contractual requirements for Continuing Professional Development or PRD this would be an employment matter and dealt with as such by the registrant's local authority/ employer in line with existing processes in the first instance. Further information on possible referral to GTCS can be found on our referral page.

As PU is an ongoing process which includes reflection against the appropriate GTCS Professional Standard(s) and continued engagement in professional learning and the PRD process, a teacher who is undergoing competence procedures should still be engaging in these components of the process. However, if the PU sign-off process is due to be completed whilst the teacher is engaged in competence procedures from stage 2 onwards, GTCS considers that it is not in the teacher's best interests to complete the sign-off process. Therefore, the employer should notify GTCS  in order to suspend this until the conclusion of the competence procedures. This information will be flagged against the individual teacher's entry on the GTCS register.

Registrants should continue to engage in the PU process if they are subject to:

  • sanctions as a result of GTC Scotland's Fitness to Teach processes.
  • Fitness to Teach processes in non competence matters.
  • a Temporary Restriction Order (TRO) and still in employment.

If the teacher feels that there are specific circumstances which would make completion of the sign-off process difficult, the teacher has the right to request a deferral. This information should be flagged against the individual teacher's entry on the GTCS register.

The requirement to complete the PU sign-off process should be suspended for:

  • registered teachers who are subject to a TRO and not in employment
  • teachers who have been removed from the register and subsequently appealed this decision to the Court of Session.

This information should be flagged against the individual teacher's entry on the GTCS register.


If you would like to ask any questions regarding Professional Update, contact: