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Training to teach in Scotland

Training to teach in Scotland

Find out about the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), which is the main graduate entry route into teaching in Scotland. Check out the entry requirements and how to apply.

The Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) is the main graduate entry route into teaching in Scotland. You’ll follow a university-led programme of initial teacher education (ITE) – initial teacher training (ITT) in the rest of the UK. The minimum entry requirements for a PGDE course are set by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), but universities have the freedom to select applicants based on their own admissions policies and selection criteria. For some very popular programmes, universities may ask applicants to have more than the minimum requirements.

Although new initiatives to qualify have been introduced, the PGDE currently remains the most common route. Contact individual institutions direct about possible alternative routes to qualification.

Universities will also be looking for commitment to the profession, classroom or other experience of working with children and young people, and the necessary qualities to be a good teacher. All students on ITE courses are required to be a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Teachers qualified in Scotland should be able to apply for qualified teacher status in England and Wales. Contact the Teaching Regulation Agency for more information.

What qualifications do you need to train as a teacher in Scotland?

The minimum entry requirements for a PGDE course are published in the 'Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland'. Some institutions will have higher entry requirements and you should check with them before making an application.

Primary teaching

Minimum entry requirements for a PGDE primary:

  • A degree validated by a UK higher education institution or a degree of equivalent standard from an institution outside the UK
  • National qualification in English at SCQF Level 6 (eg Higher Grade) or an accepted alternative
  • National qualification in mathematics at SCQF Level 5 (eg National 5, Credit Standard Grade or Intermediate 2) or an accepted alternative.

Secondary teaching

Minimum entry requirements for a PGDE secondary:

  • A degree validated by a UK university or a degree of equivalent standard from an institution outside the UK. The degree should normally contain 80 SCQF credit points relevant to the subject area. Forty credit points must be at SCQF Level 8 or above. Credit from a master's degree might be considered but universities must be convinced of the relevance of the credits to teaching the subject. To qualify to teach more than one subject, appropriate credit points can be counted for entry to both subjects.
  • National qualification in English at SCQF Level 6 (eg Higher Grade) or an accepted alternative
  • National qualification in mathematics at SCQF Level 5 (eg National 5, Credit Standard Grade or Intermediate 2) or an accepted alternative.
  • Some secondary subjects have additional specific entry requirements.

Which Scottish universities offer teacher training?

Scotland has several education institutions. Not all providers offer all possible PGDE courses, so research education providers thoroughly before applying.

How and when do you apply?

UCAS is the central online applications system for postgraduate education courses in Scotland. Applicants for Scottish PGDEs must use the main UCAS undergraduate system (not UCAS Teacher Training) and can therefore apply to up to five options. See UCAS for more information.

Funding teacher education in Scotland

For eligibility, information and advice on funding visit the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) website.

Qualifying to teach in further education in Scotland

Students in Scottish FE institutions are aged 16 and over. Currently, FE lecturers are not required to be registered with the GTCS. However, if you want to be considered for registration you must have been awarded a Teaching Qualification (Further Education), also known as TQFE, or comparable teaching qualification. City and Guilds qualifications are not acceptable equivalents.

Three universities in Scotland currently offer the TQFE:

Candidates apply directly to the institution. A full list of FE colleges in Scotland can be found on the Colleges Scotland website. Vacancies can be found at myjobscotland and jobs.ac.uk. The TQFE does not qualify you to teach in a primary or secondary school.

Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence

Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) applies to all young people aged 3–18 in any educational setting. The cornerstones of the curriculum are the four capacities of Successful Learner, Confident Individual, Responsible Citizen, and Effective Contributor. CfE's purpose is to offer learners more choice and flexibility in how they learn and to support learners in gaining more in-depth skills, knowledge and understanding. The aim is also to integrate more diverse ways of learning into the curriculum, such as outdoor and interdisciplinary learning.

For more information about the Curriculum for Excellence see Education Scotland.

Written by Suzanne Agnew, The University of Edinburgh

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