"I had considered a career in teaching for quite some time, from my early years at secondary school. As I grew older, I knew I wanted to be in a career where I could inspire people to achieve their potential."Josie Burgess – Gàidhlig teacher at Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu/Glasgow Gaelic School
Information, support and advice to help you become a teacher
There’s plenty of support and advice available here on the site to help you begin your own journey into teaching. Read on to find out what you need to do to become a teacher.
You can teach in Scotland once you have:
- Completed a four-year undergraduate course in education
- Completed an undergraduate course, and then a one-year Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
- 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.
- 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
- 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
Most of the programmes are linked to local authorities and involve teaching in schools within these local authorities during the course.
How to join a teaching course
Every potential teacher must apply for their chosen course via UCAS – an organisation that manages all college and university applications. Although some courses in Scotland remain open until all places are filled, be sure to check throughout the year to see what’s available.
If you submit your application by mid-January, you’ll have a decision by the start of May. Although many courses in Scotland remain open until all places are filled, so be sure to check throughout the year to see what’s available.
You can find out more about what happens after you have submitted your application, direct from UCAS.
Minimum entry requirements to become a teacher in Scotland
You’ll need at least the following qualifications to train in Scotland:
- English at SCQF Level 6 and Maths Level 5.
- Two other National Qualifications at SCQF Level 6, and one other subject at SCQF Level 5 for an undergraduate degree.
- An undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education provider for PGDE programmes.
- Membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme.
- Classroom experience.
Find out more on the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF).
Skills and qualities for teaching
What kind of teacher would you be?
For a quick way to find out, take our quiz.
Become a primary school teacher
Primary schooling typically starts at 4 or 5 until 12 years of age. Primary school teachers cover lessons in all areas of Curriculum for Excellence including: expressive arts, health and wellbeing, languages, mathematics, religious and moral education, sciences, social studies and technologies.
There are a number of undergraduate, postgraduate and alternative routes into primary school teaching.
Become a secondary school teacher
Secondary school teachers teach specialist subjects to young people typically aged between 12 and 18 years old. As a secondary teacher you will be able to inspire pupils in your subject as well as support their health and wellbeing in their formative years. The routes into secondary teaching are different to those into primary.
The probationary year in Scotland is known as the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS). This is a guaranteed, one-year probationary teaching post with a Scottish local authority school. A flexible route is also available. You can find out more at The General Teaching Council for Scotland website.
Age groups – how the Scottish education system works
Children in Scotland complete seven years of primary school, starting in P1 and going up to P7. After this, they’ll complete six years of secondary school from S1 to S6. Secondary schools in Scotland are also known as high schools or academies.
What is the Curriculum for Excellence?
Scotland’s world-leading national curriculum, Curriculum for Excellence gives teachers flexibility to deliver learning that really engages pupils. This major educational reform aims to provide a wide, flexible range of courses and subjects. The Scottish government only sets guidelines about the school curriculum – which means that schools don’t have to stick to set learning paths, and can decide what to teach their pupils.
There are three core subjects that sit at the heart of the curriculum that schools must teach, but can be taught across a range of subjects and themes:
- Health and Wellbeing
- and Numeracy
Project-based learning brings together the skills and knowledge from across the curriculum, giving pupils an engaging and more connected way to learning. It’s an opportunity for their lessons to be more personalised, perhaps centred around what really interests them, and even introducing topics that are relevant to their local area and community.
For further information on becoming a teacher, check out the General Teaching Council’s helpful guide – So you want to teach in Scotland? (PDF)