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 Teach in Scotland.

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.

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. Where these refer to “an appropriate degree” this refers to the degree requirement set out in our Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of ITE in Scotland.

Art and Design

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in Art and Design, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

Applicants must have coverage of both Fine (or contemporary) Art and Design within the 80 credit points (20 credit points may come from Digital Art/Design or Photography).

Biology with Science

An appropriate degree must include study relevant to Biology, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above).

Business Education

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in the subject, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

The above study must be in subjects from the following list:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Business Management

Applicants should also be able to demonstrate evidence of study related to relevant Information Technology skills.

Chemistry with Science

An appropriate degree must include study relevant to Chemistry, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above).

Community Languages

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have study of their native language up to SCQF level 7 or equivalent standard (e.g. A level).

Applicants also need to prove to the university that they are fluent in writing and speaking their native language and English.

Computing Science

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in the subject, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

40 credit points at level 8 or above must come from at least two of:

  • Software Development
  • Database Systems
  • Web Design

The other 40 credits are required in any computing area relevant to the computing science curriculum in Scottish schools.

Dance

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points in Dance or a related Dance subject, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

Applicants should also provide evidence of their personal involvement in relevant activities through:

  • having relevant, current experience of teaching, coaching, instruction, participation or leadership in Dance;
  • experience of training and performance of Dance at a high level;
  • achieving national governing awards and/or national qualifications in Dance;
  • knowledge of the history of dance, including the study of dance in its social and historical contexts within traditional, ethnic and non-western dance cultures;
  • knowledge of general stage presentation (including lighting, stagecraft, stage make-up and knowledge of the range of dance styles, including ballet, tap, modern/jazz, contemporary, hip hop, etc.);
  • knowledge of the wider health and well-being aspects of dance including injury prevention and nutrition.
Drama

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in Drama, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

This study must include at least 40 credit points in the practical aspects of Drama such as stage design or acting.

English

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in English, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

At least 40 credit points must be in literature (this could include English translation) and/or Scottish literature and a maximum of 20 credit points can be in Media Studies.

Gaelic

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in Scottish Gaelic or in Celtic, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

Applicants also need to demonstrate to the university that they are fluent in spoken Scottish Gaelic.

Geography

An appropriate degree must include study relevant to Geography, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above).

History

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in History, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

A maximum of 40 credit points can come from Ancient History.

Home Economics

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in relevant subject areas, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

40 credit points at SCQF level 8 (or above) must come from at least two of:

  • consumer studies
  • food studies
  • food
  • textile technology
  • nutrition

The other 40 credit points can come from any of the above or any other of the relevant areas outlined in the table below:

TopicContent
Family studiesParenting; childhood studies; family lifestyles; socio-economic influences; environmental issues.
Food sciencesFood chemistry; composition of foods; functions of food; processing and manufacture of foodstuffs; functional properties of foods; biotechnology; microbiology.
HealthHealth promotion; health education, determinants of health; lifestyles and health; environmental issues; health and food policies.
HospitalityPractical food preparation skills; food presentation techniques; food and beverage management.
Textile StudiesTextile construction; properties; finishes; contemporary developments; production systems; textile futures; design technologies.
Mathematics

An appropriate degree must include study relevant to Mathematics, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above).

Modern Foreign Languages

We can currently award registration in the following modern foreign languages. Please note: some of these may not be offered by the universities which deliver initial teacher education in Scotland.

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Spanish

Entry requirements for the first language offered

Applicants must have an appropriate degree. They must also:

  • have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points in the first language they want to teach;
  • have lived for six months in a country where the language is spoken;
  • be able to prove to the university that they are competent in speaking the relevant language.

The applicant’s academic study must include an element which will allow the applicant to contribute to the wider aspects of programmes of study in schools, such as literature, cultural studies, area studies or languages in work.

While living abroad the applicant must have fully taken part in the language and culture of the relevant country. Applicants must normally have lived in the relevant country in blocks of at least three months.

Applicants who have spent one of their study years abroad will be considered as having met the residency requirement in the language in question.

Entry requirements for second languages

Applicants must fully meet the requirements for their first foreign language.

They must also:

  • have a degree with at least 80 credit points in the second language they want to teach
  • have lived for at least three months in a country where the language is spoken
  • • be able to prove to the university that they are competent in speaking the relevant language.

The applicant’s academic study must include an element which will allow them to contribute to the wider aspects of programmes of study in schools, such as literature, cultural studies, area studies or languages in work.

While living abroad the applicant must have fully taken part in the language and culture of the relevant country. The period of three months must either be consecutive or in blocks of at least four weeks. The GTCS will answer any questions about registration and residency requirements for second languages.

Native speakers of a modern foreign language

Native speakers of a modern foreign language who have completed a degree in their own language which meets the requirements for the ‘first language offered’ as set out above, may qualify to teach their native language. For example – a native French speaker who has completed a degree during which French language and literature was studied for a minimum of 80 SCQF (40 ECTS) credit points could qualify to teach French.

Native speakers of a modern foreign language who have a degree in a language other than their native tongue, which meets the requirements for the ‘first language offered’ as set out above, may qualify to teach that language plus their native tongue. For example, a native French speaker with a degree in German may qualify to teach both German and French.

Modern Studies

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in relevant subject areas, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

The 80 credit points must come from two separate subjects below. At least 40 credits must be from either Politics or Sociology.

  • Criminology
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History or Economic History
  • International Relations
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Sociology
  • Social Policy
Music

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in Music, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

Applicants are expected to:

  1. demonstrate intellectual music skills (some of which would be advanced) across the following:
    • musical repertoires and musical contexts;
    • an understanding of interdisciplinary approaches, e.g. music and its relationship to other disciplines);
    • analysing, synthesising and interrogating musical materials.
  2. demonstrate that they are competent in practical music skills (some of which should be advanced) across the following:
    • instrumental performance;
    • vocal performance;
    • keyboard performance.
  3. have experience of music technology in some format (e.g. use of microphones, experience of recording and producing).

It would be expected that all applicants should meet the requirements of i. Applicants for initial teacher education who do not meet the requirements for ii. or iii. will have to demonstrate competence through an interview process.

Physical Education

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in relevant subject areas, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

The 80 credit points must come from subjects in the following lists:

  • subjects related to physical education and involving a great deal of practical performance, such as sport, dance or outdoor pursuits
  • subjects involving analysis of the aspects of physical education – such subjects include movement analysis, choreography, sports coaching, biomechanics, sports science, exercise physiology, sports psychology, health and fitness, studies in sports or dance or outdoor education, sports development or special needs in movement education.

Applicants should also provide evidence of their personal involvement in relevant activities through:

  • regularly taking part in appropriate physical activities
  • having experience of teaching, coaching, instruction or leadership
  • achieving national governing body awards or the equivalent
  • experience of training and performing at a high level.
Physics with Science

An appropriate degree is required and must include study relevant to Physics, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above).

Religious Education

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in relevant subject areas, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

The 80 credit points must come from two of more of the areas listed below:

  • Religious Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Theology
  • Divinity
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Anthropology of Religion
  • Psychology of Religion
Technological Education

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in relevant subject areas, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

A minimum of 20 credit points should come from list A and a minimum of 40 credit points should come from list B.

List A – technological subjects such as mechanical, electrical or electronic engineering/ sciences, mechatronics, architecture, construction technology, building services.

List B – design and graphics-related subjects such as computer-aided design, graphic design, computer-aided design manufacture, industrial design, product design.

Secondary Subjects in which teacher education is not offered in Scotland

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.

Classics (Latin, Greek and Classical Studies)

Applicants can qualify to teach a classical language or classical studies (or both).

Latin

Applicants must have at least 80 SCQF credit points in Latin.

Greek

Applicants must have at least 80 SCQF credit points in Ancient Greek.

Classical Studies

Applicants must have 80 SCQF credit points from list A:

List A: Ancient history, classical archaeology, classical civilisation.

To qualify to teach both a classical language and classical studies, applicants must have 80 SCQF credit points in the language and 40 SCQF credit points from list A.

Economics

An appropriate degree is required and must include study relevant to Economics, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above).

Geology

An appropriate degree is required and must include study relevant to Geology, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above).

Media Studies

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in relevant subject areas, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

40 credit points should come from List A and 40 credit points in total should come from a combination of List B and List C (for example: 20 points from List B and 20 points from List C or 10 points from List B and 30 from List C.

List A: media studies, cultural studies, mass communication studies, film studies, television studies, radio studies, journalism studies, popular music studies, advertising studies.

List B: film production, television production, video production, animation, radio production, print production, sound recording, graphic design, photography, advertising, multimedia production.

List C: English, a modern foreign language, history, geography, modern studies, art and design, music, drama, computing/information technology, religious and moral education, economics, economic history, politics, sociology, international relations, social policy, philosophy, linguistics, a technological or design and graphics-related subject.

Philosophy

An appropriate degree is required and must include study relevant to Philosophy, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above).

Psychology

An appropriate degree is required and must include study relevant to Psychology, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above).

Sociology

An appropriate degree is required and must include study relevant to Sociology, up to a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points (including 40 at SCQF Level 7 and 40 at SCQF Level 8 or above).

TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

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

An appropriate degree is required. Applicants must have a minimum of 80 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 7 and above in English, including 40 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 8 or above.

At least 40 SCQF credit points must cover study of the English language.

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