How do you get a teaching job in Scotland?

Cathy Taylor from the University of West London explains how to get a teaching job in Scotland and the role of the teacher induction scheme for probationer teachers.


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This article has been written in partnership with AGCAS.

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 follow the registration route based on where you qualified. For information on eligibility and how to register, visit the GTCS website.

You will also need to become a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

The salary scale for main grade teachers starts at £27,498 (for probationers) 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 professional graduate diploma in education (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 in state schools for all eligible graduates through the teacher induction scheme (TIS). To be eligible for the TIS scheme, graduates need to have obtained a teaching qualification from a Scottish university and be a UK citizen. EU citizens should seek advice from the GTCS.

Probationers have up to three years to obtain the standard for full registration through the TIS, although the majority will meet the standard within a year.

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. Probation can take up to 270 days to complete through this route and probationers must find their own post.

Completing probation in independent schools

In independent schools, probationers have access to a similar experience to those completing the TIS. The Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) offers a 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 carrying out long-term supply teaching, the probation year should follow a fairly structured process. Those carrying out short-term supply teaching may find that the process is much less structured.

Teaching service elsewhere in the UK may be acceptable towards reaching the SFR as long as it is relevant to your teaching qualification and you submit the relevant paperwork to the GTCS. Make sure you check what’s required in advance.

Probation teachers on the flexible route have five years to achieve SFR. Contact individual local authorities to find out how they operate supply teaching. You can find a list of local authority probation managers on the in2teaching website.

Getting a job after your probation year

When searching for jobs after your probationary year, you might want to take a look at:

You could also establish what support is available for probationers making applications through your local authority contacts.

This article was last updated August 2021.

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