The General Teaching Council for Scotland

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

Core Secondary subjects

The core secondary subjects you can teach in Secondary education are listed below. To see specific qualifications required for the subjects highlighted in red in the list, see this file:

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 via the Professional Registration or Qualified Outside Scotland routes.

Other Secondary Subjects

  • Dance
  • Economics
  • Geology
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • TESOL*

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