Here, you will find a list of our frequently asked questions regarding GTCS registration. If you have a question that is not on the list, or you require further information, please contact your branch secretary in the first instance or email Anne Keenan.
GTCS is the oldest self-regulating professional teaching organisation in the world. Founded in 1965 it became an independent body following an Act of Parliament in 2011. GTCS has over 75,000 teachers and over 600 college lecturers on its register.
It is the national professional registration body for college lecturers in Scotland and carries out a range of statutory functions and other initiatives to promote, support and develop the teaching profession in Scotland.
GTCS is a registered charity and works in the public interest. This means that its work in registration and regulation is fundamentally to reassure the public (including lecturers, teachers, children, young people and adult learners) about the quality and professional standards of those directly involved in teaching and learning across Scotland.
Registration with the GTCS is a contractual requirement for college lecturers in Scotland. The May and November 2017 National Joint Negotiating Committee Agreements gave effect to the commitment to move to mandatory professional registration of college lecturers.
This agreement was re-stated in NJNC Circular 03/18 which specified that, 'lecturing staff in our workforce for the future will require professional registration similar to GTCS.’ This commitment to registration was confirmed in the National Working Practices Agreement (‘NWPA’) and implemented by NJNC Circular 03/19. Section 13 of the NWPA clearly states that ‘lecturing staff will require professional registration with the General Teaching Council (Scotland) (GTCS)’.
Registration with GTCS is a mark of teaching professionalism. It recognises that teaching in a college is a professional role which requires a body of knowledge and development of skills and experience to effectively deliver vocational and academic qualifications to a wide range of learners.
It also says to the public that an individual has the requisite qualifications, skills and experience to teach in a specific sector. Registration with GTCS will raise the status and standing of lecturer professionalism in Scotland.
As GTCS has registered college lecturers on a voluntary basis for a number of years, it has developed strong partnerships with colleges across Scotland and with the EIS, as the recognised trade union for college lecturers. Through these partnerships, work has been ongoing to support registered lecturers’ entitlement to high-quality professional learning through Professional Update (see question 13).
Registration will bring:
Professional registration with the recognised professional body that represents and advocates for lecturers in Scotland.
An entitlement to a high-quality, lecturer-led model of professional learning through Professional Update.
Access to the Education Source (EBSCO), a resource of more than 1,700 academic journals and eBooks to support professional and academic reading and enquiry.
A dedicated MyGTCS account to log reflective professional learning and access a range of support tools.
Ability to apply for a Professional Recognition award.
Teaching Scotland, the flagship magazine of GTCS, which contains opinion pieces about key topics in the range of education sectors, alongside regular features on learning, practice and professional resources.
Access to a Benefits App offering discounts on a range of services and products.
GTCS already registers both school teachers and college lecturers. Over 600 college lecturers are already registered in the Further Education category with others carrying over their school registration but employed in a college.
GTCS registration is sector specific (Primary, Secondary, Further Education (College sector) and Teacher Education Institutions) and is not about making colleges more like schools.
GTCS recognises the unique context of the college sector and its different needs and there is specific Further Education representation on the GTCS Council. John Kelly, EIS-FELA Salaries Convenor, is currently a Further Education representative on GTCS Council.
GTC Scotland is overseen by its GTCS Council which currently comprises 37 members who come from a variety of backgrounds. Information on the composition of the Council can be found on the GTCS website.
The governing Council is currently looking at what changes might be required to registration rules to enable mandatory registration of college lecturers.
The College Lecturer Registration Working Group has been set up to establish requirements and pathways for college lecturers to register with and be regulated by the GTCS.
The May and November 2017 National Joint Negotiating Committee Agreements gave effect to the commitment to move to professional registration of college lecturers. This agreement is also incorporated into the NJNC Circulars 03/18, 03/19 and the National Working Practices Agreement.
The College Lecturer Registration Working Group includes representatives from:
Universities offering the Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE)
The working group has agreed to ensure the distinct identity of the College sector is reflected in any registration and regulation arrangements. It has also been agreed that registration will be phased to allow appropriate routes to registration to be developed, reflecting the wide range of backgrounds and roles that lecturers in colleges bring to the sector.
The first tranche of mandatory registration will begin in September 2021, when lecturers holding a TQFE or recognised primary or secondary qualification will be contacted to register.
Arrangements for lecturers who do not currently have a TQFE; or who are qualified outwith Scotland; or have an alternative teaching qualification are being discussed by the group, and more information will follow. Registration for this group will commence from April 2022.
All parties involved in the working group have stressed that this initiative will not impact the job security of lecturers. Instead, it is believed that registration will raise the status and standing of lecturers, enhancing the professionalism of the lecturing workforce.
In addition, the Professional Standards for College lecturers will be supported and maintained by GTCS along with the Professional Standards for Teachers.
To be considered for registration with GTCS at the present time, a Teaching Qualification (Further Education) from one of the Scottish teacher education institutions or a recognised Primary or Secondary teaching qualification is required.
The College Lecturers Registration Working Group is currently looking at potential validated routes to registration and whether other teaching qualifications might be considered acceptable for registration purposes. As soon as this work to develop alternative pathways has been completed, further information will be issued in this regard.
If you don’t currently hold a TQFE, don’t worry! You will be in the second tranche of registration which is due to take place from April 2022. The aspiration is that as many lecturers as possible gain a TQFE or equivalent. However, members of the College Lecturers Registration Working Group are exploring a range of new pathways that will support college lecturers to obtain the necessary qualifications required for registration.
Further information about these options will be publicly announced and added to this FAQ as they are further developed.
You will not be eligible to register in September 2021 but you will form part of the second tranche of registration, due to start in April 2022. Work is ongoing within the College Lecturer Registration Working Group to consider and identify validated routes to registration. Alternative qualifications will be considered as part of this process. More information will be published in this regard in the coming months.
Don’t worry. You do not need to do anything differently from other college lecturers. You will be contacted as part of the national rollout of registration from September 2021.
There are a number of college lecturers who may already be registered with another professional regulatory body. GTCS already registers individuals who are registered with other professional bodies. However, you should check with the other regulator what their position is in relation to dual registration. It is also worth highlighting on your application to GTCS that you are registered with another professional body. GTCS will then be able to offer specific advice for your circumstances.
If you have been waiting a long time to start TQFE, contact your line manager or FELA Branch Secretary to find out how places are being prioritised in your college and when you are likely to be able to undertake TQFE.
The College Lecturer Registration Working Group (GTCS, EIS-FELA, Colleges Scotland and the Scottish Government) has highlighted to Scottish Ministers the extensive backlog of lecturers awaiting to undertake TQFE and the impact which this backlog could have on registration.
EIS-FELA is continuing to call on the Scottish Government to allocate dedicated resources to fund participation and demonstrate its commitment to promoting the professionalism of the sector and the registration process.
Lecturers contacted to register in August 2021 will pay a reduced part-year fee of £43. The GTCS annual registration fee is £65 and this is the standard fee for all registrants.
All lecturers registering will revert to payment of the standard annual registration fee of £65 from April 2022.
Full details are available on the GTCS website here.
Professional Update requires all lecturers registered with GTCS to prioritise, record and reflect on their career-long professional learning and for this to be discussed as part of the Professional Review and Development (PRD) processes with line managers.
This is confirmed every five years by the registrant's line manager through the college professional review and development process (if the College is validated for Professional Update by GTCS). The purpose behind Professional Update is to maintain and enhance lecturer professionalism through self-evaluation against the Professional Standards, and engagement in ongoing career-long professional learning.
Visit the GTCS website for further information about Professional Update in the College sector.
Professional learning may be shaped by many factors but ultimately, it should be predominantly self-directed, with the lecturer as leader of their own learning.
Professional learning is an entitlement and plays a central role in shaping lecturer professionalism, in building capacity, confidence and expertise and in providing the sense of agency which allows lecturers to lead learning in their context. It also provides essential space for the sharing of practice, collaboration and enquiry.
Professional learning may take many forms and involves learning with and from others. It is not solely restricted to attendance at formal learning events such as conferences and workshops. In practice, valuable professional learning is an ongoing process which can take a variety of forms, including focused professional reading, research or dialogue, peer support, and experiential, action or enquiry-based learning. For more examples of professional learning activities visit the EIS Professional Learning web-page and the GTCS website.
In preparation for mandatory registration, the Professional Standards for college lecturers were transferred from the Scottish Government to GTCS. This will allow greater alignment between the Professional Standards, Professional Update and Professional Learning for college lecturers.
The Code of Professionalism and Conduct which currently applies to college lecturers registered with GTCS, will continue to apply. It is the intention of GTCS to review COPAC as part of its wider work in 2022 and to look at how this specifically applies in the college context. College stakeholder representatives will be included in the group established to take the review forward.