GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

Secondary teaching

In Scotland, the age range of children in Secondary Education is 12-18 years of age. Teachers wishing to teach in the secondary sector must be qualified in their chosen subject.

There are three ways you can qualify to become a secondary school teacher in Scotland:

  1. The one-year Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) which can be completed after gaining a degree in the subject you wish to teach
  2. Part-time or distance learning PGDE courses, usually done in partnership with certain local authorities
  3. The four-year undergraduate combined degree programme in subjects such as music, physical education and technology at a Scottish university.

In Scotland initial teacher education programmes for secondary education comprise of:

  • Professional Studies
  • Subject/curriculum studies relating to the specific subject you are academically qualified to teach across all stages of the secondary age range 12-18
  • Teaching practice in the subject you are qualified to teach across all stages of the Secondary age range.

Further information on the courses available and the entry requirements are available from university websites and from

Secondary Education Subjects

The secondary subjects which you can qualify to teach in Secondary education are listed below.

All secondary teachers must hold a degree validated by a university in the United Kingdom or a degree of an equivalent standard from an institution outside the United Kingdom.

For details of these specific requirements, please see our Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of ITE in Scotland which also lays out full details of the academic requirements for entry to programmes of initial teacher education in Scotland, including the minimum Mathematics and English requirements. It is recommended that you refer to this if you are considering applying for entry to one of these programmes.

This degree must include study relevant to their subject, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above). For some subjects there are specific study requirements - these subjects are highlighted below (click on the subject to see more details). Where these refer to "an appropriate degree" this refers to the degree requirement set out above).

Other Secondary Subjects in which teacher education is not currently offered in Scotland may still be taught in some schools by teachers with appropriate qualifications. GTC Scotland can award registration in these subjects, as well as those listed above, via the Professional Registration or Qualified Outside Scotland routes.

*TESOL is more commonly taught in Further Education but may be taught in Secondary schools in some local authorities. 


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