Empowering Schools: education reform progress update

Progress update on delivery of the Scottish Government's programme of education reform.

Chapter 6: Enhancing The Teaching Profession

Next steps 

As part of our wider strategy to enhance the attractiveness of the profession and to address recruitment and retention challenges, we made a commitment in the Next Steps publication to:

  • Work with our partners to establish new career pathways for teachers allowing greater opportunities for development and progression into leadership, specialist or improvement roles.

The importance of ensuring that teaching remains an attractive career option for new graduates and for career changers is well recognised. It is also vital that teachers and headteachers are both retained within the profession and enthused about their roles in delivering high quality education experiences for Scotland’s young people. These principles were recognised in the 2017-18 teachers’ pay deal, which led to the establishment of the Independent Panel on Career Pathways for Teachers, and have been further recognised in the most recent SNCT pay agreement, which includes a wider package of measures aimed at addressing key issues for the profession related to workload, additional support for learning and empowering schools. 


The Independent Panel on Career Pathways for Teachers, chaired by Moyra Boland, Deputy Head of the School of Education at the University of Glasgow, was established in June 2018 comprising key stakeholders with an interest in Scottish Education. The Panel used a range of methods to gather information to support the development of their recommendations, including consideration of a literature review, which was specifically commissioned for this purpose; stakeholder engagement events; a survey of all teaching staff registered with the GTCS; stakeholder surveys; and the consideration of various policy documents.

The final report of the Panel (published May 2019) sets out 10 substantial recommendations aimed at developing and supporting new flexible and exciting career pathways for teachers and headteachers. The recommendations include the creation of a new post of lead teacher, which will be established for specialist roles in curricular, pedagogical and policy delivery; new pathways for headteachers in and beyond headship; ensuring the availability of support for career development; and ensuring access to opportunities for career progression are coherent, fair and equitable. 

The report also includes a clear expectation, which has been recognised by the SNCT, that the job-sizing process should be reviewed to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

Going forward

The teachers’ pay deal provides certainty on pay and sets a shared agenda on addressing issues relating to workload, additional support for learning, and empowering schools for the next two years. Alongside, the Career Pathways Report this agreement is testament to the importance we place on teachers and improving the attractiveness of the profession to aid recruitment and retention. 

The SNCT is developing work-plans that will deliver both the recommendations of the Career Pathways Report and the SNCT pay agreement. We expect this process to be completed later in the summer of 2019. Alongside this Scottish Government will develop
a plan to take forward the recommendations that are not under the remit of the SNCT.

We have also recognised that high quality teaching and leadership are vital in an empowered school system. With this in mind, the Scottish Government will continue to support the Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education (MQuITE) project, which aims to measure the quality of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) provision in Scotland by studying a cohort of those graduating in 2018 over a period of five years. This will complement information to be captured through application of the ITE self-evaluation framework, produced by Education Scotland in partnership with representatives from the Scottish Council of Deans of Education and the GTCS and published in 2018 on the Education Scotland Improvement Hub.

Allied to this we are also beginning work, through the Strategic Board for Teacher Education, to consider whether more can be done to support teachers in the early phase of their career.


Email: scott.miller@gov.scot

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