Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland’s Colleges


Professional lecturers contribute to making Scotland a great place to live, learn and work by transforming lives through high quality learning. In taking forward this vision, lecturers play a key role in enabling people from all sections of the community to be included in education, achieving their potential as successful learners, citizens and contributors to sustainable economic growth. Lecturers create supportive environments by working collaboratively with stakeholders, including employers, across all learning communities.

Download CDN Professional Standards


Scotland’s colleges support the Government ambition to make Scotland a great place to live, learn and work. Through the delivery of high quality learning and teaching, lecturers contribute significantly to attainment of the skills and successes of college learners.

We will face many societal and economic challenges in the coming years and therefore it is vital that we have a set of Professional Standards for our lecturers which will support effective learning for the future.

It was crucial that the Standards reflected the views and aspirations of our lecturers and stakeholders and therefore extensive consultation and feedback has truly informed the new Standards.

I would like to thank my colleagues on the Steering Group and to pay tribute to the staff in College Development Network and partners in the General Teaching Council for Scotland who all worked with tenacity and passion to ensure the college sector has a set of Professional Standards for lecturers to be proud of.

Mhairi Harrington OBE Chair of the Review of Professional Standards Steering Group and CDN Fellow


The Professional Standards support the achievement of this vision by providing a clear description of the professional practice, knowledge, behaviours, qualities and capabilities that lecturers in colleges are expected to develop, maintain and enhance throughout their careers.

These Standards will be used for a range of purposes including:

  • Underpinning professional teaching qualifications for lecturers in Scotland’s colleges.
  • Developing critically reflective and evaluative practitioners.
  • Supporting professional dialogue and collegiate working.
  • Supporting professional development.
  • Contributing to ongoing developments across the sector.


Lecturers work within a diverse, complex and dynamic environment. The Standards are designed to support and encourage lecturers to develop a clear understanding of their role and how they contribute to wider student outcomes. Underpinning the Standards is the expectation that individual lecturers are expected to commit to and be responsible for their own continuous professional development, ensuring the quality of the student experience


Values are core to the Standards and underpin the professional identity and aspirations of a lecturer. They shape everyday practice and engagement. Professional values explicitly reinforce the professional commitment of a lecturer by putting students at the centre ensuring that respect, integrity, inclusion and equality are integral to that everyday practice. Through the commitment to being a professional leader of learning, these values are affirmed and will empower students to engage, take responsibility for their own learning and maximise their potential. These values and commitments to students, colleagues and others is reinforced and evidenced through the engagement in continuous professional learning and development which enables lecturers to embrace collaboration, critical evaluation and support development of new and emerging practices. Embedding these values ensures that the professional lecturer builds and supports resilience in themselves and their students in a complex and ever-changing education and work environment.

The Standards are developed around three interdependent elements. The Standards describe our:



Intrinsic beliefs that underpin practice, including a commitment to social justice, fairness and respect.

Active enquiry

The purposeful and consistent act of being curious about learning and developing new subject knowledge and ways in which to share it.

Sustainability in learning and teaching

Themes of sustainability and the impacts of course-relevant decisions on people and the environment, should permeate teaching practice, inform it, and be made explicit to learners.

Health and wellbeing

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity in which every individual realises their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to their community.

Subject knowledge

This includes delivery of subjects that are embedded in a vocational area, as well as the teaching of subjects, such as essential skills, that also support the achievement of student learning and employability.