Returning to teaching


Returning to teaching after a break

Wherever your career or your life experiences have taken you, now is a great time to return to teaching.  If you’re considering coming back – don’t overthink it, just do it.

Yes, a return to the classroom may feel slightly daunting – but that’s true of going back to any job. Always remember that what drew you to teaching in the first place is still there. The chance to make a difference. To be part of the energy of a lively school.

"It’s the kind of job that if you want to keep learning then you can. Every day is different when you are working with young people."Zoe Halliday – Geography Teacher at Douglas Ewart High School

Your core skills will still be relevant. There’s just a couple of things you’ll need to check if you’ve been away from teaching for a while:

  • Make sure your registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland) is still valid. You might need to re-register, it’s very straightforward, just follow these steps.
  • Join the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme. If your GTC Scotland registration has lapsed, you will be asked to join the PVG scheme or complete an Existing PVG Scheme Member application as part of your application for registration. You will need to complete an Existing PVG Scheme Member application each time you start working for a new employer. This ensures that GTC Scotland and your employer is informed should you be accused or convicted of an offence that may have a bearing on your fitness to teach.

A refresher course

Some local authorities will insist on you taking a ‘returning to teaching’ refresher course. This is available at the University of Edinburgh.

To find out whether you need to take the refresher course, you can check with the local authority you’re applying to.

Curriculum for Excellence

If the term Curriculum for Excellence is new to you, it’s worth reading up on it. You can access Curriculum for Excellence materials, as well as the syllabus for your secondary subject, from the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Getting some ‘return’ experience

If you’ve been out of the classroom for a while, it could be worth getting some experience at a local school. It should be relatively easy to arrange – simply contact the headteacher directly.

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