New to teaching

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Here is some basic info on what you need to do to become a teacher. We’ll also cover how to apply as well as some guidance on bursaries and funding.

You can teach in Scotland once you have:

  • Completed a four-year undergraduate course in education, or
  • Completed an undergraduate course and then a one-year PGDE, or
  • Have qualified outside of Scotland with equivalent qualifications.

More teacher training options

There are a number of new teacher education programmes designed to offer flexibility and encourage diversity in the profession. These include:

  • Distance Learning Initial Teacher Education DLITE (PGDE) – University of Aberdeen (Primary and Secondary)
  • Learn to Teach Primary programme – for staff employed in all local authorities in Scotland
  • PGDE Secondary Education with Supported Induction Route (SIR) – University of Dundee (Secondary with a focus on STEM subjects)
  • Partnership Induction Model (PIM) joint with the University of the Highlands and Islands (through the University of Dundee) – secondary with a focus on STEM subjects
  • MSc Transformative Learning and Teaching programme – University of Edinburgh
  • Returning to teaching course – University of Edinburgh
  • MEd Enhanced Practice with Specialism – Middle Years Maths Teachers – University of Glasgow (Dumfries campus)
  • Combined PGDE with integrated Masters Year in Secondary STEM subjects – University of Strathclyde
You’ll find that most of these programmes are linked to local authorities and participants will teach in schools in these local authorities during the course.

How to get onto a teaching course

Every student must apply for their chosen course via UCAS – an organisation that manages all college and university applications. If you submit your application by mid-January, you’ll have a decision by the start of May.

You can find out more on what happens after you have submitted your application from UCAS.

Things you should do before applying to UCAS

  1. Make sure you have the right level qualifications and experience. Each university, each course, and each level (e.g. primary vs. secondary) have varying entry requirements so it’s best to check with your training provider of choice.
  2. Try and get some relevant experience or do some voluntary work with children. If you’re looking to teach at primary, get some experience with primary school children. The same idea goes for secondary.
  3. Put together a personal statement. This is a short essay that you are asked to submit in support of your teaching application. In your personal statement, you must demonstrate your passion and commitment for teaching. It’s also important you show your enthusiasm for returning to university.
    Here are some things to consider when writing your personal statement:

    • Why do you want to become a teacher?
    • What skills do you have that will make you a good teacher?
    • What experience do you have in working with children and young people of all ages? And what appeals to you about working with them?

    The ability to communicate well in writing is something that the admissions team will look for, so we recommend spending a good bit of time on this.

    It would also be a good idea to finish with a summary of what you have to offer – leave the admissions team with a clear understanding of why you’d make a great candidate for the university course as well as an excellent teacher.

  4. Choose two referees from people that know you well. When you make your university choices, you’ll also have to supply two names of people who can provide a reference for you. Get more useful info on choosing the right referees straight from UCAS.

How to get funding for teaching courses in Scotland

If you’re eligible, SAAS will pay your tuition fees straight to your PGDE university. The tuition fees for a PGDE, for example, are £1,820 (for 2018-2019 students).

Find out more about funding from SAAS.

Bursary and loan for teaching course in Scotland

You could be eligible for a bursary and/or loan to cover your living costs.

At present, there are bursaries available for those who have been employed for at least three of the last five years AND have a degree in either Maths, Computing, Technical Education, Physics or Chemistry.

Find out if you could qualify for a bursary here or get more information about bursaries and loans from SAAS.

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