New to teaching

Have you got what it takes to be a great teacher? We’ll help you consider your options and set you out on the right career path.

Step 1 : Eligibility

Teachers either train on a dedicated four-year undergraduate course or take a one-year postgraduate course following the completion of their degree. A list of universities can be found in our FAQ section. You need to decide which of these routes suits you best. You’ll also have to decide whether you want to teach at primary school level or in secondary schools.

Because university or college entry requirements vary, it’s best to check directly with the course provider to make sure you have the qualifications required. It’s worth noting that all courses have minimum qualification levels in English and Mathematics. These qualifications have been set in relation to both English and Maths in order to ensure a recognised level of literacy and numeracy in those who are entering the teaching profession and who in their role as a teacher will be expected to support directly or indirectly literacy and numeracy skills.

To see the full eligibility criteria, check the General Teaching Council’s Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland.

The GTCS however, recognises that there is a need to introduce a level of flexibility in requirements to attract more high quality candidates in certain key areas. Candidates should therefore be given the opportunity of gaining the required English and Maths qualifications concurrently and/or as an exit qualification. You should discuss this with the university you are considering applying to.

Our aim is for our teaching profession to reflect the population balance of modern Scotland. So we’re always keen to welcome applications from people in Scotland’s minority ethnic communities and from men who are interested in primary teaching where they are traditionally under-represented.

Step 2 : Primary or Secondary?

Primary School

Primary school teachers work with children aged five to 12 and usually stay with the same group of children for the academic year. Most teachers in primary schools teach a wide range of subjects. Routes into primary education include four-year undergraduate programmes or Professional Graduate Diplomas in Education following a specialist subject degree course.

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Secondary School

Secondary school teachers usually specialise in specific subjects. Most study a one-year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education following their specialist subject degree course. Four-year teaching degrees are also offered in music, physical education and technological education, as well as four-year courses that combine education with a single specialist subject.

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