Almost 300 teachers in independent schools in Scotland are still not registered, despite regulations coming into force this summer.
Speaking at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, Jennifer MacDonald, director of regulation and legal for the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), revealed that latest figures showed that 294 teachers in independent schools are not registered.
The latest phase of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is focusing on alleged abuse carried out in Scottish boarding schools.
Prior to October 2017, teachers working in independent schools were not required to be registered with GTCS.
The Registration of Independent Schools (Prescribed Person) (Scotland) Regulations 2017 act requires all teachers to be registered by the June 1 2021 deadline, to allow staff to gain the necessary qualifications.
Registration with GTCS requires all potential teachers to go through a background check with Disclosure Scotland to insure they are “a fit and proper person” to take up a teaching post.
However, Mrs MacDonald told Judge Lady Smith that some teachers were still unregistered, despite being three months away from the deadline, including at some of the boarding schools the inquiry was focusing on.
She said: “Fettes currently has 12 unregistered teachers. Gordonstoun has one, Loretto has 14, Merchiston Castle has two, Morrisons has one and Queen Victoria School has one.
“We currently have registration of around 90% of independent school teachers, so still some to go.”
However, John Edward, the director of Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), said the reason for this may be due to “eccentricities” in how GTCS recognises teaching qualifications.
He told the inquiry: “In most cases, the remaining, non-registered teachers will be a result of Covid-19 disruptions or it may be people like sports tutors who would not normally be required to be fully registered.
“We would probably always argue for more pragmatism, but there are cases where the Scottish system of registration doesn’t always match the rest of the UK, particularly in those who may have both academic and pastoral roles.
“There are subjects such as photography that comes to mind, that you can’t take a teaching qualification in, in Scotland.
“So to be a qualified photography teacher you won’t be recognised in the same way.
“We have business studies teachers whose degrees in economics are not recognised.
“So there are eccentricities – teachers who are native Spanish speakers who can teach French because they have a degree in it, but can’t teach Spanish.”
The inquiry continues.