Media release: GTCS review of the Professional Standards – children have their say


CHILDREN have had their say on what makes a good teacher in new research carried out by Children in Scotland, commissioned by GTC Scotland as part of the review of the Professional Standards for teachers.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland and Children in Scotland will launch the report, which is based on research completed with 591 children and young people, at the Scottish Learning Festival this week.

The report, Review of the Professional Standards: The Experiences of Children and Young People, includes a series of recommendations for GTC Scotland and teachers in implementing the research findings.

Children in Scotland engaged directly with children and young people, provided a resource for adults to use as a basis for their own engagement, and issued an online survey to support a wider geographical spread of participants.

GTC Scotland asked for the research to focus specifically on values, and children and young people highlighted a wide range of personal characteristics, relationship approaches, professional attributes and principles and values that they felt were important for all teachers to embody.

These findings could be summarised under the four themes of: nurturing; rights-respecting relationships; professional skills and knowledge; and positivity/energy.

This report forms part of GTC Scotland’s review of their Professional Standards, which has been ongoing since January 2017 and is being carried out to ensure that these standards are contemporary, relevant and reflect the demands of teaching, now and in the future.

So far this review has included a literature review by leading Scottish academic Professor Margery McMahon; working groups involving stakeholders from across the education sector; and a ‘National Conversation’ involving a Scotland-wide data-gathering exercise ensuring that the voice of teachers, parents, and children and young people is included.

GTC Scotland’s Professional Standards, which include the Standards for Registration, Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning and the Standards for Leadership and Management, are underpinned by the themes of professional values, sustainability and leadership. The Standards for Registration provide a gate-keeping function for entry to the teaching profession in Scotland and provide guidance for teachers throughout their career.

GTCS commissioned Children in Scotland to carry out this research because, as one of the leading charities in the children’s sector, they are specialists in this area.

Elaine Kerridge, policy manager (Participation and Engagement) at Children in Scotland, said:
“We very much welcome the GTCS placing children’s voices and perspectives on teaching at the heart of the review of their Professional Standards for teachers. Their voices will be key to the new teaching standards and transform them into standards that place the needs and wellbeing of children at their heart.”

“We loved working with the children and young people and hearing their lived experience of teaching in Scotland in 2018. They shared what a ‘good teacher’ looks and feels like in and around the classroom and told us what matters most to them. The overarching message is that teachers need to meet the needs of all pupils as individuals in an approach that is both relationship-based and children’s rights-based. The values must be interpreted and implemented in a way that works for all pupils as individuals.”

Quotes from pupils:

“If a teacher is kind, it travels across the class and puts everyone in a good mood.”

“They want to learn from us. They ask questions like, see if it is not working, how might I do this better? They are not too proud to say they got it wrong.”

 Notes to editors:

• Further information about GTCS is available at
• Further information about Children in Scotland is available at:
• The full report can be accessed at:

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