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Teachers in state and independent schools must be registered with the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS). Teachers who qualified outside of Scotland are not automatically allowed to teach. You will need to apply for GTCS registration and may also be asked to undertake an initial period of probation. If you gained QTS without a PGCE, you will need to complete a PGCE top-up award, currently available through the University of Northampton.
The salary scale for main grade teachers starts at £22,866 plus any payments made through the Preference Waiver Scheme, an incentive scheme explained in more detail below.
- Information on teaching salary scales is available from the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union.
Scotland’s Teacher Induction Scheme
On successful completion of a PGDE, graduates attain the Standard for Provisional Registration (SPR). To meet the Standard for Full Registration (SFR), graduates undertake a period of probationary teaching.
To ease the process of finding suitable probationer posts, the Scottish Government guarantees a one-year (190 teaching days) probationary placement on the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS) for all eligible graduates in state schools. To be eligible for the TIS scheme, graduates need to have obtained a teaching qualification from a Scottish university and be a citizen of the European Union. Independent schools are not part of the TIS, but probation can still be completed in this sector through the Flexible Route (see below).
Probationers may be given a place in one of five preferred authorities they choose, or they may opt for the Preference Waiver Payment (PWP). This option offers an £8,000 incentive payment to secondary teachers and £6,000 payment to primary teachers to undertake their probationary year in any authority the GTCS chooses.
The Flexible Route
If you're not eligible, do not wish to join the TIS, would prefer part-time work, are teaching in an independent school or want to achieve full registration in a second subject, the Flexible Route is another way to gain the SFR.
Completing probation in independent schools
In independent schools, probationers have access to a similar experience to those completing the TIS. Due to the different alignment of the school year, probation can take up to 270 days to complete and probationers must find their own post. The Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) offers an extensive professional learning programme to probationers.
Probation through supply teaching and fixed-term contracts
If you’re undertaking the Flexible Route in state schools, it will be through supply work and fixed-term contracts. Length of probation service will vary and will be partly dependent on employment opportunities. Probationers may have different professional learning opportunities and support networks available to them.
For those on fixed-term contracts or long-term supply, the probation year should follow a fairly structured process. Those on short-term supply may find that the process is much less structured. In all cases, you must ensure that you complete each of the elements of the probation process (such as observed lessons, professional learning, supporter meetings, Professional Development Action Plan (PDAP) and teaching service) so that you can satisfactorily complete the interim and final reports.
Teaching service elsewhere in the UK may be acceptable towards reaching the SFR as long as it is relevant to your teaching qualification, and interim and final reports are submitted to the GTCS.
Probation teachers on the Flexible Route have five years to achieve SFR. Contact individual local authorities (LAs) to find out how they operate supply teaching. A proactive approach is highly recommended. Let local schools know you are available for supply work – although work is allocated through the LAs, it can be helpful if schools know you exist and are ready to work. Teachers with provisional registration are normally paid on salary scale 0 but check with individual local authorities. The EIS has useful information on recent salary and pay conditions.
Getting a job after your probation year
- Around March/April is the time to start looking for vacancies.
- The Times Educational Supplement (TES) advertises jobs in state and independent schools.
- All local authority jobs are advertised via myjobscotland.
- Jobs in the independent sector are advertised by the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS).
- LAs tend to use application forms for recruitment and there may be support for probationers applying for their first jobs.