The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

Swinney announces new routes into teaching

Deputy First Minister John Swinney revealed plans to develop a number of new routes into teaching during a visit to the University of Dundee today. Innovative new ways of developing teachers of the future are to be created, backed by over £1 million from the Scottish Government Attainment Scotland Fund.

The proposals include:

  • Moves to get new teachers into the classroom more quickly for priority Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects
  • Targeted help for former teachers looking to return
  • The development of teachers able to work in both primary and secondary
  •  Integrated routes combining post-graduate education with the probation year
  • Offering more joint degrees in teaching and specialist subjects such as chemistry

The plans, which will bring more than 200 new teachers into the profession, have been put forward by the Scottish Council of Deans of Education and are aimed at helping tackle teacher recruitment challenges being experienced in some subjects in certain parts of the country.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has revealed the plans on a visit to the University of Dundee. He said: “Teachers are the bedrock of Scotland’s education system and I want to ensure we do everything we can to attract talented graduates to a career in teaching. The quality of teaching is key to helping pupils achieve and to our aspiration of closing the attainment gap.

“These innovative proposals are designed to do just that while, crucially, maintaining the traditionally high standard of teaching in Scotland. We will not change the standard we expect new recruits to attain before they become fully-fledged teachers, but we are determined to broaden the routes into the classroom and speed up the process.

“This is exactly the sort of collaborative approach we need if we are to realise our ambition of achieve excellence and equity in Scottish education, and I am pleased to support it with £1 million from our Attainment Scotland Fund.”

Ken Muir, Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council Scotland, said:

“Flexibility is crucial when trying to attract new people into the teaching profession and to address the issue of teacher shortages. GTC Scotland is at the forefront in promoting a wide range of new and innovative routes into teaching for those wishing to join the profession in Scotland.

“As the accrediting body for teacher education programmes in Scotland, GTC Scotland has the important role in ensuring that these new routes maintain and enhance the high standards of teaching and teacher education expected within our graduate teaching profession.

“It is important that these routes have been developed by the ITE Universities with partnership working in mind and GTCS stands ready to fast-track their accreditation as part of our work to enhance teacher professionalism that will benefit children and young people across the country.”

“GTCS has met with Teach First on a number of occasions and, as the Cabinet Secretary John Swinney has stated publicly, the principle of meeting the GTCS Standards for Registration before becoming a teacher will continue in Scotland. However, should an individual complete the Teach First programme that operates in England and Wales, gaining the appropriate qualifications, including a formal teaching qualification, for registration in Scotland they can apply to GTCS to become a teacher here. It is important to note that we are also working with Universities to offer a range of more flexible entry options to teaching and this work will continue. Being properly qualified to teach in Scotland will remain the benchmark for aspiring teachers.”

Dr Morag Redford, Chair of the Scottish Council of Deans of Education, said:

“The Scottish Council of Deans of Education is delighted that the Scottish Government is funding the development of 11 new routes into teacher education. The eight Scottish Universities who provide initial teacher education programmes have worked with the Scottish Government to design programmes to offer new ways to enter the profession. The 11 programmes use the expertise in each University to provide a national approach to teacher education.”

Background

The proposals include:

Accelerated routes combining PGDE and Induction Year
  • University of Dundee – integrated training that combines post-graduate education with the probation year focusing on STEM graduates
  • University of Strathclyde – STEM graduates would complete a PGDE and achieve the Standard for Full Registration alongside a Masters degree
Home Economics
  • University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) – new undergraduate available through Perth College UHI, supporting non-traditional entrants
Joint degrees with a secondary specialism
  • University of Stirling – adding Technology to the subjects Stirling already works with Heriot Watt to deliver shared concurrent degrees for Physics and Chemistry
  • University of the West of Scotland – extending their concurrent degree programme to include Physics and Chemistry.
Primary specialism
  • University of Stirling - qualify more primary teachers with additional subject specialisms including Literacy, Numeracy, Additional Support Needs and STEM subjects
  • University of Glasgow – qualify teachers to work between P6 and S3 in Mathematics Current Local Authority employees into education
  • University of Aberdeen – expand to all authorities Aberdeen’s distant learning programme for local authority staff becoming qualified primary teachers
  • University of Dundee – expand Dundee’s Learn to Teach programme to include secondary teacher education, and to all local authorities
Returners to teaching
  • University of Edinburgh – develop and expand their course that helps prepare qualified teachers who have been out of teaching for a while, or who have never taught in Scotland, for the classroom
Newly qualified teachers from Ireland
  • University of Glasgow – recognising high level of teacher unemployment in Ireland, recruit recently qualified teachers, such as those with STEM qualifications, to undertake further study while they work in a partner local authority

If you interested in finding out more about these proposals, please contact the individual universities.