Do you like working with children or young people and helping them acquire knowledge? Are you a life-long learner? Then teaching might be for you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 40 years old; you can always become a teacher. So, how do you study to become a teacher in Scotland?
Scotland is well-known for its broad and profound child-led education system, which is based on the Curriculum for Excellence. Its aim is for children to become, through education, Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Responsible Citizens and Effective Contributors, commonly known as the Four Capacities.
If you study in Scotland, you will learn all about this renewed and child-centred education system; you will train in an environment which offers a lot of teaching practice and you will have career progression opportunities. As a result, you will work in an education environment which cares for children and recognises teachers’ contributions.
If you want to be a teacher in a primary school, you will study to teach kids between 3-12 years old. You will get qualified in the whole range of the curriculum, which means that you will teach pretty much all the curricular areas.
If you want to be a teacher in a secondary school, you will study to teach young people between 12-18 years old. You will get qualified in a specific, chosen subject, which you will teach throughout your teaching career.
You can study in Scotland, either in the primary or secondary sector, following two routes:
- a 4-year undergraduate programme
- a 1-year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
The 4-year undergraduate programme comes under the Initial Teacher Education (ITE), which includes both theoretical understanding and practical school experience.
After the completion of your studies, you will gain your Teaching Qualification and you will be required to register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). You will then join the Teacher Induction Scheme, a program for newly qualified teachers trained in Scotland. This program is compulsory for all teachers who have gained their Teaching Qualification from a Scottish university and offers a one-year teaching post in a school. Throughout this period, which is called probationary period, you will teach in a primary/secondary school setting, with your very own class, and have the opportunity to spend some of your teaching time by attending courses for professional development.
By the end of this period, you will have gained more experience, by having responsibility of your own class, and you will now be able to gain your full registration and seek permanent positions.
The probationary period is something like a trial period, when you are asked to demonstrate your ability to work with children in an effective way, to apply your knowledge in a school setting and to show that you’re ready to become a fully registered teacher.
Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
PGDE is a graduate one-year programme which aims to ensure that student teachers have both the theoretical and practical knowledge of how to teach, in order to meet the needs of their future students.
How can I apply?
Whether you’re looking for undergraduate or postgraduate teacher training programmes in Scotland, you must apply through the UCAS Undergraduate Scheme. Register with UCAS as an individual and search for full-time, part-time or distance learning courses. If you’re an international student, you need to apply through UCAS, but send proof of qualifications directly to the university of your choice.
In Scotland, there are nine education institutions and each of them has its own entry requirements. Before applying, you should make a good research of the universities and of what they offer and read their entry requirements carefully.
For more info on how to apply, have a look here.
For more info on primary and secondary teaching, have a look at the following websites:
Sara Tsompanidi is a primary teacher and freelance writer, living and working in Edinburgh. She has been providing guest posts for a year. Her educational background in primary teaching and her multicultural experiences have given her a broad base to approach many topics. She especially enjoys sharing her experiences and providing practical advice to individuals who are making their first steps in Scotland.
(You can contact her here: firstname.lastname@example.org)