How To Teach In Scotland

Whether you are keen to train to become a teacher in Scotland, or whether you are already a qualified teacher and are wondering how to work in a school over the border, it’s important to be aware of the requirements of the Scottish educational system. Although there are a lot of similarities between the school system in Scotland and in England, there are a few subtle differences which must be understood.

GTCS Registration

One of the key requirements when teaching in any school in Scotland is to have GTCS (General Teaching Council of Scotland) registration. Although in England there used to be a similar body called the GTC which all teachers had to be a member of, it has now been disbanded. Teachers in both the public and independent sector must be registered with this regulatory body, and teachers must also obtain membership to the PVG scheme.

Already Qualified Teachers

If you are an existing teacher but obtained your qualification outside of Scotland, you will not be automatically permitted to teach in a Scottish school. As well as having to apply for GTCS membership, you will also possibly have to go through a probationary teaching period. Any teacher who obtained their QTS status without taking a PGCE must also take a PGCE top up award as well as their existing degree.

For teachers in secondary schools, if their degree is in their chosen teaching subject a PGDE will be necessary. Any secondary teacher who does not have a degree in their subject will need to undertake a B.Ed degree. Teachers with QTS who have neither a B.Ed or PGDE can still obtain a teaching position in Scotland as long as they already have a degree and have been working as a teacher for three years.

Obtaining A Teaching Qualification In Scotland

If you wish to study to become a qualified teacher in Scotland, you must follow one of the following pathways:

  • Undertake a 4 year undergraduate Bachelor of Education degree programme (or a combined degree)
  • Take a 1 year PGDE (Professional Graduate Diploma in Education). This follows a degree in another subject
  • Take a part time teaching course. This can often be done in partnership with a local authority.

Scottish teacher education programmes will include professional studies together with curriculum and subject studies and teaching practices in school settings.  At the present time, there are eight institutions in Scotland which offer teaching qualifications as an option for students and courses are open to any Scottish or overseas student.

The Induction Scheme

Once a teacher has qualified, they must then obtain SFR (the Standard for Full Registration). This means that a probationary period must be undertaken and passed. The Scottish Government guarantees a 1 year probationary teaching post on a TIS (Teacher Induction Scheme) in a public sector school. In order to be eligible, the graduate must have obtained their qualification in a Scottish university and be an EU citizen. Probationary candidates can either be offered a place in one of 5 preferred local authority areas or they can opt into the Preference Waiver Scheme which offers an incentive payment of either £6000 (for primary teachers) or £8000 (for secondary teachers) if they will teach for a year in any authority chosen by the GTCS.

The Flexible Route Of Induction

For anyone who is not eligible for the TIS scheme or who doesn’t wish to opt in, would prefer to take a part time role or who has obtained a teaching position in an independent institution, the Flexible Route is also available to gain the SFR.

Any graduate taking the Flexible Route in a public sector school will either be on a fixed term contract or working on supply, however all of the elements must still be completed. Teachers who take this route are given 5 years to obtain SFR status.

Getting A Teaching Job in Scotland

Every local authority teaching job in Scotland is advertised via My Job Scotland. This is a valuable resource for finding a job anywhere in the country and is a comprehensive list of current vacancies. There are also vacant positions advertised in the TES (Times Educational Supplement) and on their website as well as in The Scotsman newspaper. S1 Jobs also advertises current teaching posts that require filling and for independent jobs, the Scottish Council of Independent Schools should be the first port of call. For those who are interested in teaching in Scotland, the GTCS can also offer valuable advice, especially for those who are newly qualified.

Teachers are highly in demand in Scotland, especially in secondary schools, and there is an attractive salary available for qualified candidates. The Scottish government is working hard to making teaching in the country an attractive prospect and conditions are improving all the time.