Routes into teaching
To teach in any Scottish or Welsh state school, you must have a degree, and gain a Teaching Qualification (TQ) by following a programme of Initial Teacher Education (ITE). All teachers are also required to register with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
Scottish and Welsh teacher training programmes are university-led. There are two routes available to prospective primary and secondary school teachers:
- A four year undergraduate programme.
- A one year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
Each programme combines theoretical understanding and practical school experience, and will lead to a Teaching Qualification (TQ) in primary or secondary education. Hear first-hand from Wendy, a science teacher in East Lothian, and Sandrine, an MFL teacher in Orkney, about their inspiration, experience, and advice for becoming a teacher.
The teaching profession looks for the highest quality candidates, so you’ll need to meet the following requirements before you can be accepted for a training programme.
- For PGCE and PGDE programmes, you’ll need to hold an undergraduate degree awarded by a UK higher education provider, or a recognised equivalent qualification.
- For courses in Scotland, you’ll need to have achieved a standard equivalent to SCQF Level 6 or above in English (e.g. Higher Grade), and SCQF Level 5 in mathematics (e.g. National 5).
- For courses in Wales, you’ll need to have achieved a standard equivalent to grade B, or above, in the GCSE examinations in English and/or Welsh and mathematics before your training programme starts. A grade 5 will be accepted as equivalent to grade B, from reformed GCSEs in England. All Welsh training providers offer an equivalency test. In most cases, this is for applicants with GCSE grade C or equivalent in English or maths.
- If you intend to apply for undergraduate degree programmes, you will also need to have achieved all of the course grade requirements.
- If you have non-UK qualifications, you will need a Statement of Comparability from UK ENIC, operated and managed by Ecctis Limited. This can take some time, so we would advise you to start the process before you submit your application.
As teaching involves working with children on a daily basis, there are some non-academic requirements you may also need to meet.
- You are required to register with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in Wales, or be a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme in Scotland.
- Some providers may ask for you to have classroom experience before you begin teacher training. You can arrange school experience independently – if you’re not sure where to begin, contact Teach in Scotland or Educators Wales to help get you started. While it is not essential, if you can spend some time observing and helping out with lessons in a local school before you apply, it will help strengthen your application. You can use the experience in your personal statement, showing what you’ve gained from it and how it has increased your motivation to be a teacher.