The route into teaching in Scotland is different from the rest of the UK. Discover the qualifications you'll need to hold and the deadlines you'll need to meet to get the ball rolling

What qualifications do I need to teach in Scotland?

To teach in Scotland you'll need a degree and a teaching qualification gained through Initial Teacher Education (ITE).

There are two types of ITE qualification, a:

  • four-year undergraduate programme
  • one-year postgraduate course, the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). To secure a place on an undergraduate course you'll need at least three Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6-equivalent qualifications, one of these being in English, and two SCQF Level-5 equivalents, one of these being in maths.

For the PGDE, you'll need an undergraduate degree as well as the English and maths qualifications mentioned above.

Prior classroom experience isn't compulsory, but being able to demonstrate your enthusiasm to teach, as well as talk about the skills you've picked up from doing so, will strengthen your application.

You'll also need to register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland) and become a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme. By signing up to PVG you'll help training providers identify candidates who are barred from working with disabled or young people.

Where can I get a teaching qualification in Scotland?

There are currently 11 higher education institutions offering ITE programmes:

  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of the West of Scotland

Each university has its own entry requirements in addition to the qualifications listed above, so check with them directly before applying.

Probationary period

Once you've completed your ITE, and before you've gained full registration status, you'll enter your probationary period. You can complete your probationary period in one of two ways:

  • The Teacher Induction Scheme ensures a one-year teaching post in a local Scottish authority for all students who have recently obtained their teaching qualifications from a Scottish university. You'll be allocated a post in one of five authorities of your choice. Throughout the year you'll have a maximum class commitment time of 82% to allow for your professional development, as well as access to a mentor teacher for support and guidance.
  • The Flexible Route is for candidates who can't commit to a full-time position, have dropped out or aren't eligible for the Teacher Induction Scheme, would like to become fully registered in a second subject or would like to complete their probation somewhere other than a Scottish school. The Flexible Route allows you up to five years to complete your probationary period. You'll document your professional development, which can take the form of supply teaching, teaching in the Scottish independent sector or teaching outside of Scotland.

How do I apply?

Whether you're looking to apply for the four-year undergraduate programme or the PGDE, you'll submit your application through UCAS Undergraduate.

During your ITE programme you'll be invited to apply for Provisional Registration at GTC Scotland. You'll be asked to disclose your five chosen locations in preference order as part of your application. It pays to be open-minded - if you're willing to complete your probation anywhere in Scotland, you could receive a bursary of up to £8,000 and a subsidy on your tax and national insurance payments.

When do I apply?

As you submit your application for teacher training in Scotland through UCAS, the same application dates and deadlines apply as those set for institutions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is usually around September each year.

How much will it cost?

The 2023/24 tuition fees for both undergraduate and PGDE courses are £1,820 for students from Scotland.

Scottish residents can expect their course fees to be paid by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). You'll need to reapply to SAAS for each academic year you require funding.

However, if you're a resident of England, Wales or Northern Ireland and hoping to study in Scotland, you'll be required to pay a tuition fee set by the institution you're applying to. This fee can be covered by a student loan from your home funding body the same way it would if you were studying at home.

For more information, contact:

Is there any funding available?

If you're a Scottish resident, not only will your tuition fees be paid by SAAS, but you'll also receive a maintenance loan, as well as a non-repayable bursary in some cases.

How much additional funding you'll receive will be worked out based on your household income. The maximum yearly amount on offer is £8,100 (comprised of a £6,100 student loan and £2,000 bursary), which you'll qualify for if you're from a household with a combined income of less than £20,999 per annum.

You may still be eligible for funding if you've received funding for a previous degree.

There are also a number of living grants on offer for Scottish residents - SAAS has additional funding opportunities for students who are single parents or who have adult dependants. The Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) is available to those who qualify - you may have to complete a needs assessment to prove your eligibility.

You'll be entitled to a maintenance loan if you're a student from England, Wales or Northern Ireland, which you'll receive from your home funding body. Contact your chosen institution for guidance on the additional funding you could receive, in the form of scholarships and bursaries.

See Study in Scotland - Funding and Fees for more information on funding opportunities.

Where do I find out about teaching jobs?

Throughout your teacher training and probation year, you'll be open to teaching opportunities through the contacts you make. You can also search for jobs on the following websites:

Alternatively, search graduate teaching jobs in Scotland.

Find out more

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