Mathematics

Maths is an essential subject in Scotland’s schools and it’s a priority subject for teacher recruitment.

What’s involved?

Every secondary school pupil will attend maths classes for most of their time at school. These high levels of demand mean there are opportunities to enter the profession all over the country.

Maths is often perceived as a complex and difficult subject. Your teacher training will help you to develop ways of engaging pupils in your favourite subject and making it easy and enjoyable for them to learn. You’ll also be able to clearly demonstrate how maths is relevant in modern life and take your pupils on a journey from basic numeracy to complexities such as algebra and trigonometry.

Maths teacher training options

There are two routes into teaching maths. You can study a four year combined degree in education and mathematics or take a one-year diploma course following your undergraduate degree in maths.

David Buchanan – Maths Teacher at Airdrie Academy

“After graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering I first worked as project manager in private banking, using my numerical and problem-solving skills. After a short while I decided to retrain as a teacher. I have definitely made the right choice. Due to my experience of the applications of mathematics, I can bring this into the classroom. Being able to draw on examples from engineering helps the students understand principles but also makes lessons more engaging.

“If you’re thinking about a career as a STEM teacher I highly recommend it. There are few careers where you are part of something that is always evolving, with discoveries or breakthroughs. Teaching a STEM subject to students allows you to be part of this evolution and to transfer this excitement and enthusiasm across to the young people in front of you every day.”

Gillian Angus - Maths Teacher at Hazlehead Academy

“I’ve been teaching for 10 years, both in Scotland and abroad. The biggest myth about STEM teaching is that it’s just science. I’ve been a technical teacher, an engineer, I’ve taught science, done experiments… There is a lot of scope to express your creativity. My students often have mixed abilities, so I have to cater for all students. You learn what works and you learn how to develop in order to make your lessons engaging and interesting for students.

"My advice if you’re considering a career as a STEM teacher is just go for it. The kids find it interesting and it’s a great way to show them the relevance of the science and technology and maths and to show them the types of careers they could have. So, just go for it.”

Victoria Wall – Maths Teacher at Wallace High School

“I genuinely love being a teacher. Whether it is developing relationships with staff and pupils, acting as a mentor to young people, or simply sharing my love for Maths, I find that there is a great deal of job satisfaction on offer.

“The job of a teacher is not without its challenges, although I aim to improve pupil performance and implement my behavioural policies which I feel will benefit my students in the long-term.

“Moving forward, my primary aim is to focus on becoming an excellent Maths teacher. One crucial aspect of this is going to be motivating my pupils so that they are more enthusiastic about STEM subjects. I personally feel that this comes back to the important fundamentals of teaching; we need to shake off the ‘boring’ tag and, for teachers, this starts by reinforcing your own passion, otherwise you are going to find it hard proving them wrong.”

Undergraduate route options

For the four-year combined degree and other undergraduate degree programmes you must have at least:

English and two other National Qualifications at SCQF Level 6 (Higher Grade) AND
Mathematics and one other subject at SCQF Level 5 (or an accepted alternative, for example, National 5, Credit Standard Grade or Intermediate 2).
However, individual universities set their own entry requirements and are likely to require four Higher grades (often at AABB), so please double-check actual course requirements with the university in question before applying.

Post-graduate route options

For the one-year (or equivalent) Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) programme you must have:

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  • an undergraduate degree validated by a higher education institution in the United Kingdom or a degree of an equivalent standard from an institution outside the United Kingdom AND
  • a National Qualification in English at SCQF Level 6 (for example, Higher Grade) or an accepted alternative AND
  • a National Qualification in Mathematics at SCQF Level 5 (for example, National 5, Credit Standard Grade or Intermediate 2) or an accepted alternative.
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