Scotland school Teaching Requirements

Scotland School Teacher Requirements

Opportunities exist for teaching in Scotland to school age children from the islands, highlands and central areas. Management & classroom school teaching jobs Scotland vacancies are offered full and part time.

Choosing an occupation as a teacher means Scotland school teacher requirements must be met.

School teacher requirements Scotland

  • 2 good teaching references, one from a current or former school.
  • Degree in the subject.  (Science degree for a science teacher!).
  • Qualified school age teaching qualification for nursery, primary or secondary school (PGDE, B.E.d, PGCE, BA Education, MEd).
  • Police criminal record clearance check from country of residence, for school, work and residence permit or PVG Scheme in Scotland.
  • One or more years teaching experience at the age level you propose to teach.
  • General teaching Council Scotland registration, with identification.
  • Permission to work in Scotland such as the Youth Mobility Scheme or shortage skills (Mathematics & Science Teachers).

Scotland has no official retirement age for teaching or work.

Teaching in Scotland subjects

Educations jobs in Scotland are advertised where you could be a teacher of a certain subject in a Scottish secondary school including:

Information TechnologyChemistryEnglish
Business & EconomicsHistoryPhysics
Religious StudiesFoodDrama
Art & DesignDesign TechnologyMedia
Physical EducationAccountingMusic

Scotland primary school subjects areas

Physical educationArt/drawingHistory
Religious educationComputingGaelic

A teacher at primary school can find primary school teaching jobs covering the above subject areas to young learners:

Classroom teacher, head of department job role, deputy & head teacher, and head of year responsibilities are available at Scottish schools.

UK work visa requirements for teaching in schools

Teacher shortage occupation list:

  • Teach in Gaelic medium in nursery, primary or secondary school (Scotland only2314/5.
  • Secondary age school teaching subjects: Mathematics, science with physics, Mandarin, physics, Computer science.

See here


UK Skilled worker visa

For a qualified teacher in a school education job in Scotland (Part of UK).

Independent schools or government funded schools apply.

Age from 3 to 18 years old: Nursery primary & secondary school level (2314 & 2315).

Special education teaching (2016).

See here  UK Government education work visa .

Obviously, you must meet certain requirements to be given these types of visa.

Welcome are Scottish, UK and overseas trained teachers

Scotland is open to educators from the UK and overseas qualified teachers.  

With an appropriate school age teaching qualification from your home country you can teach in Scottish state school’s.

You’ll need to have registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

In Scotland to teach from overseas?

USA,  Canadian,  Finland, Australian,  New Zealand school age certified teachers with experience would have no problem with qualifications and registration with the GTCS.

This would enable you to be hired for jobs to teach at a state school at primary or secondary age.

Did you know that teachers study for different qualifications than the other parts of the UK as requirements to become qualified as a school teacher?

GTCS teacher registration Scotland

All school teachers that qualified outside of Scotland do not automatically qualify for registration with the Scottish general teaching council that enable you to teach in Scotland.

Overseas qualified teachers may require conducting further training to fully qualify for a Scottish school.

Qualified teacher’s from Wales, Northern Ireland, and England with a PGCE or Bachelor of Education B.E.d with QTS and completed their induction should have no problems with GTCS registration.

Who does not qualify to teach at a Scottish school?

Teacher trained via a school-based teacher training, although there are exceptions.

Teach First program teachers will find great difficulty registering with GTCS.

Qualifications and experience assessed by GTCS    (First Step)

To become a teacher in Scotland and teach at a local government school, first apply to have your qualifications and experience assessed and gain registration with the GTCS.

You have a choice of teaching at primary or secondary school level. Also, independent fee-paying schools teachers must also be registered with (GTCS).

You should have one of as a prospective teacher:
  • PGDE (Secondary or primary) from a Scottish university and a degree in the subject to teach or BA or B.E.d degree.
  • PGCE 5-18 years with QTS, experience and a named degree in the subject area.
  • Three years relevant teaching experience and at least a BA or BSC in the subject named on your degree.

This criteria for registration with GTCS is subject to change. You’re application from start to finish takes at least 6 week to complete registration, PVG police check takes up to 4 weeks alone.

See primary & secondary teacher pay 2021: Scotland Teacher Salary Scale 

Some locations to find a teaching job in Scotland?

There is no shortage of places where jobs for school teachers in Scotland are advertised.

As a new teacher, you’re first port of call could be the local councils.

All local government councils in Scotland have job advertisements and application processes with a full list of Scotland teaching jobs available.

See below for locations of education jobs Scotland, with nursery, primary & secondary school teaching.

Of course, classrooms also provide teaching assistant jobs Scotland, Glasgow, for example where you could be working alongside a teacher team teaching in a primary school.

Aberdeen City




Argyll & Bute

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar


Dumfries and Galloway


East Ayrshire

East Dunbartonshire


East Lothian

East Renfrewshire









North Ayrshire

North Lanarkshire


Perth & Kinross



Scottish Borders

Shetland Islands

South Ayrshire

South Lanarkshire


West Dunbartonshire

West Lothian

Towns and village schools in Scotland

Teaching vacancies Scotland at secondary, primary & nursery schools are in towns, cities, villages and the middle of nowhere including:

Ayr, Arbroath, Shetland, Galahads, Perth, Inverness,  Kirkcaldy, St Andrews, Stonehaven, Oban, Cumbernauld, Dunfermline, Dunbar,  Stornaway,  Berwick upon Tweed, Wick, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Elgin, Fort William and other areas around Scotland.

Schools and councils advertise full or part time permanent jobs or choose supply teaching Scotland for a temporary post that may possibly lead to a full time teaching position.

Scottish school system

Scotland’s schools curriculum varies from primary, nursery, and secondary schools and according to age.

Students start at primary school at 5 years old in primary one until primary 7 in public sector schools.

Secondary teaching starts at 12 years old, from S1 to until S6 at 18 years old. The school year begins in August and ends the following June.

School students can leave at 16 or stay on a further 2 years.

Scotland curriculum phases

– Nursery school from 3 -5 years old.
– Primary school 5-12 years old (P1-7).
– Secondary school from 12-18 years old (S1-S6).

Secondary school qualifications in Scotland from 14-16 years old are Standard Grades studied in the S3 and S4 which leads to the first level of national qualification, equal:

  • Skills for Work National Vocational Courses available to pupils aged 14 and over.
  • Standard grades are studied and award at different level up to credit level:

Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher courses for pupils aged 16-18. Higher and Advanced Higher studied from 16 to 18 (S5 & S6) years old to gain entry to further education study or to university. See also: (SQA).

Curriculum for Excellence started in 2009-2010 teaching year to focus on a single coherent curriculum for all pupils.

From age 3 to 18 years old the aim is to increase, and place more focus on numeracy, and literacy & pupil choice in primary, secondary Scotland teaching curriculum.

Teacher training Scotland

Scotland teacher training providers courses are conducted through 11 universities in Scotland and school placement:

  • BA in Education undergraduate 4 year degree course for primary or secondary schools.

Universities in England offer courses in initial teacher training and a bachelor of education B.E.d degree which is the undergraduate 4-year degree route towards becoming a qualified teacher in Scotland.

Taster days for teaching are arranged by schools and the Scottish government to introduce prospective teachers to Scotland teaching and education.

Once you complete university teacher training you require to complete Scotland probationary teacher induction.

Scotland career development as a teacher

Once you get some years of experience you can become a school head of department for English or mathematics for instance.

You’ll always be learning and developing your teaching style and even keeping up with the subject area changes you teach.

As a school teacher, you are expected to complete and participate in school centred learning provided by the school, commonly known as school inset days. This should be in addition to your own schedule of learning & development for career advancement.

Teacher masters education level study

What more study and qualifications!  I thought I was now a qualified teacher?

The Scottish government in partnership with selective Scottish Universities provides the opportunity for enhance professional development and learning as a teacher.

Studying towards a master’s in education program at one of the partner universities, you are focusing on making more informed decisions as a teacher in your subject area and year level.

See: Framework for master’s in education.

School leadership opportunities in Scotland

For experienced primary and secondary school teachers in Scotland, there is a structured program of professional learning you can follow.

Of course, you’ll require to be recommended and accepted for leadership training by the school you are teaching.

Under developing leadership skills, the programs for future school assistant/head teachers is conducted by the Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL).

The training is separate from any subject continued professional development, although much if it is integrated into your professional practice as a teacher.

You will have the opportunity to attend classes and training in other locations as a teacher for leadership training.

Teacher foreign exchange programs Scotland

Opportunities exist for overseas teachers and Scottish teachers to experience and learn from teaching in another country.

Programs and information change frequently although at any one time there are teacher exchange programs you can teach on.

Check out:  Maybe out of date for some information.  List of teacher exchange programs.

The League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers.

UK/US Fulbright teacher exchange program.

Teacher International Professional Development programs (TIPD) are funded by the DFES.

A lot more to teaching in Scotland than one page of information.  What can you find out and experience?

Job board for Scotland’s teachers for education & teaching in Scotland jobs (Government website). Main jobs site for school jobs.

Scottish Council for Independent Schools.

Education Tay
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