Media Release: GTCS elects new convener


COUNCIL members of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) have re-elected Aberdeenshire headteacher, Derek Thompson, as their new convener.

The election took place at a special meeting of the Council at the GTCS headquarters at Clerwood House, Edinburgh.

Derek Thompson has 37 years experience working in Scottish education, the last 17 as headteacher of Westhill Academy in Aberdeenshire.

As convener, Mr Thompson will chair Council meetings, provide leadership of the Council and carry out a range of ceremonial, ambassadorial and other delegated duties on behalf of GTCS.

On being appointed to the position, he said: “I am hugely honoured to be re-elected to the position of convener of GTCS.

“My work in education, the last seventeen years as a headteacher, has given me a detailed knowledge of and commitment to the values that underpin the education system and to the principles and practice of collegiality.

“I have been GTCS Council member since April 2012 and convener since April 2014. I chair the Council and Executive Committee and serve on the Education, Finance and General Purposes and Professional Regulatory Assurance committees.

“I have also chaired Standard for Headship and accreditation panels for Initial Teacher Education courses and Professional Update.

“As convener, I will use this knowledge and experience to continue to lead GTCS in its work supporting and further developing the teaching profession in Scotland.”

At the same meeting a number of other members were elected to the following positions:

Vice-convener of Council: Dorothy Ferguson – Nominated member (Church of Scotland) – retired nurse educator

Education Committee convener: Paula McEwan – Elected member (primary/ nursery) – St Andrew’s Primary School, Greenock

Finance and General Purposes Committee convener: Ian Jackson – Appointed lay member – director for Scotland, General Dental Council

Professional Regulatory Assurance Committee convener: Edith Swinley – Elected member (primary/ nursery) – principal teacher, Kinglassie Primary School, Fife

Standard for Headship Professional Interview Panel conveners:

  • David Innes – Elected member (secondary) – Headteacher, Harlaw Academy, Aberdeen City Council
  • Neil Roarty – Nominated member (Roman Catholic Church) – retired headteacher
  • Neil Simco – Nominated member (Universities Scotland – following consultation with universities providing Initial Teacher Education) – Dean of Arts, Humanities & Business, University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Edith Swinley – Elected member (Primary/ Nursery) – principal teacher, Kinglassie Primary School, Fife
  • Derek Thompson – Elected member (Secondary) – headteacher, Westhill Academy, Aberdeenshire

Notes for editors:

Derek Thompson biography

Derek Thompson graduated from Aberdeen University with a degree in Geography in 1977. He then completed his teacher education qualification in Notre Dame College in Bearsden, Glasgow.

Before becoming headteacher of Westhill Academy in 1999, Derek Thompson previously worked in Mackie, Bankhead and St Machar Academies. He was also briefly seconded as headteacher of Aboyne Academy in 2003.

Derek was elected to the GTCS Council in 2012 for a two-year term and during that time served on the Education Committee and was involved in numerous validation events for teacher education courses and local authority schemes for Professional Update.

This was fully launched for all teachers in August 2014. He also chaired interview panels for prospective headteachers looking to achieve the Flexible Route to Headship (FRH) qualification.

Derek was re-elected in 2014 to Council for a four-year term running until 2018.

He was first elected as convener in 2014 and has now been re-elected until April 2018.

Derek will use his 37 years’ experience in Scottish education to continue to support the teaching profession and to ensure Scotland maintains the highest standards of teaching for the benefit of all our pupils across the country.

He said: “There are many ‘live’ issues at the moment and I hope to play my part in leading GTCS forward through these over the next two years. I would also like to thank Aberdeenshire for their support by providing additional resources to Westhill Academy to compensate for my increased time out of school.”

  • To find out more about the General Teaching Council for Scotland and its Council visit
  • For more information about this news release please contact Kate Adams, GTCS corporate communications and information services team, on 0131 314 6080 or

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GTC Scotland contact details…

Contact: Kate Adams
Phone: 0131 314 6080