The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

GTCS accreditation

New integrated course from the University of Strathclyde will tackle STEM teacher shortage


 Scotland’s largest provider of teacher education has received accreditation from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) for a new route in to teaching to develop the next generation of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) teachers.

The University of Strathclyde has developed a pilot Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) with integrated Masters in response to the Scottish Government’s plans to address recruitment challenges.

Now accredited by GTCS, the pilot course will enable 20 STEM graduates who plan to teach in the areas of chemistry, mathematics and physics to attain a PGDE alongside a Masters in Education (MEd) at Strathclyde this summer, fully funded by Scottish Government.

The intensive course will begin in July 2017 and offers an opportunity for the pilot group to enter the workforce earlier than those on the usual PGDE course.

Professor David Kirk, Head of the University’s School of Education, said: “The structure of the PDGE and integrated Masters will allow us to attract new students into the profession, meeting the growing demand for highly-qualified teachers in STEM subjects across the UK.

“Any recent STEM graduates are welcome to apply for the course, which will allow them to achieve a Masters while pursuing a career in teaching. We hope that by encouraging more teachers into STEM today, we’ll give them the chance to use their skills to inspire young people in STEM subjects for generations to come.”

Following completion of the PGDE, students will enter an induction period and will continue to be supported by the University to complete their Masters qualification.

Schools will also benefit from the pilot programme, by having the same person teaching a STEM subject for a two-year period, allowing them to have teachers in post for shortage subject areas sooner. 

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:
“We know how pivotal skilled teachers are in ensuring our young people are given the best opportunity of success and we are working with councils and universities across Scotland to meet the demand for teaching staff, particularly in science and technology subjects.

“This pilot will give 20 students an exciting new route into the classroom where they can share their enthusiasm for STEM subjects and inspire others to follow their lead. I would encourage any recent graduates to apply for this course and wish them all the best of luck.”

GTC Scotland Director of Education and Professional Learning, Ellen Doherty, said:

“The University of Strathclyde has very successfully combined the previously accredited PGDE course with the existing M Ed in Professional Practice. This will allow students to achieve the Standard for Provisional Registration and start teaching almost 6 months earlier than via the existing PGDE route.”

The Scottish Council of Deans of Education had asked institutions for ideas to help tackle shortages in particular STEM teaching areas. In total, more than 11 alternate routes into teaching are being adopted by six institutions across the country. The initiative is backed by more than £1million from the Scottish Government Attainment Scotland Fund.

As the accrediting body for Initial Education Programmes, GTC Scotland is holding a number of further accreditation events to consider the range of new programmes being developed. Chief Executive and Registrar Ken Muir said:

“GTC Scotland is very mindful of its role in ensuring that these new routes maintain and enhance the high standards of teaching and teacher education expected within our graduate teaching profession.

“These new routes will go some way towards addressing the very real need to bring more high-quality teachers into the teaching profession in Scotland. GTC Scotland is prioritising the accreditation of new programmes as part of our work to enhance teacher professionalism that will benefit children and young people across the country.”

For more information on GTCS’s role in accrediting university programmes, see:

For information on the Scottish Government’s announcement on new routes into teaching, see: