Retaining public and political trust: teacher education in Scotland

Donald Gray* (Corresponding Author), Douglas Weir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


This paper traces the key periods, players and events which have contributed to the shaping of the current landscape of teacher education in Scotland. Starting with the Wheatley Report and the formation of the General Teaching Council
(Scotland) in the 1960s through to the most recent Donaldson Review of Teacher Education, we examine ebb and flow amongst GTCS, Government, Colleges of Education and Universities. Following its own trajectory, Scottish Education resisted and rejected policies emanating from an ‘English’ ideology, capitalised on respect for and influence of the GTCS, and successfully moved teacher education’s base from autonomous colleges to high-status universities. At the core of teacher education in Scotland is the continuing desire for partnership-working amongst key stakeholders: local and national government, GTCS, schools, teacher education institutions, teaching unions, parents and pupils. A teaching profession of trained graduates, underpinned by university-led subject study, is now moving steadily towards Masters-level professional learning for all. Although having faced some troubled episodes, this period has also been characterised by remarkable stability and consensus and, although still tackling the improvement agenda suggested by the recent Donaldson review, teacher education in Scotland has retained a high degree of public and political trust.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-587
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
Issue number5
Early online date12 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2014


  • teacher education
  • education policy
  • partnership
  • higher education


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