The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

GTCS accreditation

New science with education degrees to support growth of STEM teacher workforce


The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has accredited two new courses being offered by University of the West of Scotland (UWS) to alleviate STEM teacher shortages.

The BSc Honours degrees in either Chemistry or Physics with Education are new programmes that combine subject-specific knowledge with study in education.

University of the West of Scotland developed these programmes in response to the Scottish Government’s calls for universities providing initial teacher education to devise new and innovative routes into teaching to address recruitment challenges.

The courses will enable 20 students, fully funded by Scottish Government, to complete a four-year degree programme and begin their career as a teacher one year sooner than via existing routes (which require completion of a four-year degree followed by a one-year PGDE).

Professor Donald Gillies, Dean of the School of Education at University of the West of Scotland, said:

“The courses’ combination of substantive subject knowledge with study of Education offers an exciting new route into teaching that will be very attractive for prospective students. In Years 1 and 2 students will develop detailed and expansive subject knowledge and in Years 3 and 4 take a variety of Education modules alongside PGDE students. This makes for an exciting and rewarding degree course which will see more teachers entering the profession who are qualified in STEM subject areas.”

Successful graduates will achieve a science degree while the programme’s work-based learning will ensure they are fully equipped to meet the demands of being a secondary teacher of Chemistry or Physics. On graduating, students will receive the formal teaching qualification necessary for provisional registration with GTCS and be eligible for the one-year Teacher Induction Scheme.

GTCS Director of Education and Professional Learning, Ellen Doherty, said:

“These two new courses from University of the West of Scotland offer an exciting opportunity for students to pursue both an interest in their subject area with a career in teaching. The programme structure ensures that graduating students will gain thorough subject knowledge and be competent and innovative teaching practitioners, able to deliver high-quality teaching and learning.”

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.”

Prospective students interested in these two new courses should contact the University’s applicant enquiry team by emailing or calling 0800 027 100 for further information.

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: