Probationers set to brighten the future of Scottish education

Norrie McKay, GTCS Education Adviser, talks about his experience of hosting the National Probationer Event.

Norrie McKay, GTCS Education Adviser

In mid-June we held our annual National Probationer Event to celebrate the work of probationer teachers on the Teacher Induction Scheme across Scotland. Each local authority nominated a probationer who had had an outstandingly good year and 31 out of 32 were able to attend.

During the morning session, the probationers heard from our CEO, Kenneth Muir, about the challenges facing Scottish education and the role they could play in meeting those challenges. That was followed by a short keynote speech from Jackie Brock, CEO of Children in Scotland, who praised teachers for the work they do in developing the whole child. Each probationer was then presented with their Certificate of Full Registration and individual and group photographs were taken.

View photos from the event

The probationers themselves gave a 2-minute account of their favourite moment from the year past and there were many inspiring and moving stories, provoking laughter and tears. Kathryn Dodd of Edinburgh University held a workshop on Practitioner Enquiry and challenged the probationers to continue to have an enquiring disposition in their first year of teaching.

Gillian Hamilton started the afternoon session with a presentation about the importance of teachers and the impact they have on people’s lives, concluding with video clips of celebrities thanking their teachers. Probationers were then presented with a personal statement of support specifically for them from Dame Helen Mirren. The statement read:

When I accepted a lifetime award from BAFTA earlier this year, I paid tribute to my wonderful teacher Alys Welding who opened my eyes to a world of imagination, literature and poetry and encouraged me to become an actor. Many of the stars in the audience also acknowledged that a special teacher had started them on their journey and we thanked those teachers for that. Today at GTC Scotland you are starting your journey as a teacher and I encourage you to be that special teacher who will find and encourage many different kinds of talent in the young people you will inspire.

Following a discussion session on how we can improve the Teacher Induction Scheme and further 2-minute highlights, I presented various probationers with mock Oscars linked to tales of things that had gone wrong over the year.

Finally, Tom Hamilton rounded off the event with a vote of thanks. The quality of the work done by our probationers was outstanding. Each had a personal journey to relate and some had overcome great odds to get where they are. The future of Scottish education looks very bright indeed.