HOW DO I BECOME A SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHER?
There are three ways you can become a secondary teacher:
- If you have a degree in the subject you want to teach you can do a one-year PGDE teaching course. This is the quickest and most popular way of qualifying as a secondary teacher in Scotland.
- You can study some PGDE (Secondary) courses by part-time or distance learning.
- If you don't have a degree in the subject you want to teach, you can do a four year undergraduate BEd course or a combined degree course at a Scottish university. See the table on page 12 for more details.
The following section explains how you can become a teacher through the PGDE (Secondary) course.
What if I already have a degree in the subject I want to teach?
The quickest and easiest way to become a teacher is to do the one-year Professional Graduate Diploma of Education ( PGDE) course at a Scottish university.
The PGDE course lasts for one academic year. At the end, you'll be qualified to teach in a Scottish secondary school.
What secondary subjects can I teach?
PGDE courses are available in the following subjects (remember, these subjects aren't available at all universities):
ART AND DESIGN
BIOLOGY WITH SCIENCE
CHEMISTRY WITH SCIENCE
PHYSICS WITH SCIENCE
You can also get teaching qualifications in more than one subject. In fact, some specialist subjects are only available if you study them with something else.
Check that the subject combinations you're interested in are available at the university you've chosen. Contact details are on page 8.
Can I teach my subject in Gaelic?
Yes - it's possible to teach your subject in Gaelic in some schools. You can also learn to teach Gaelic at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Strathclyde.
Where can I study?
This table shows which universities in Scotland offer full-time PGDE (Secondary) courses:
Applicants are advised to check with the University that the course they want to apply for is available.
Can I study for a PGDE course by part-time or distance learning?
Yes - at the University of Aberdeen, the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde.
What are my options at the University of Aberdeen?
You can study a two-year part-time PGDE programme - it's got the same entry qualifications as the full-time course.
The programme is delivered in partnership with Angus, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Highland, Orkney and Shetland Councils - and you must live in one of these local authority areas to qualify for the course.
The subjects offered are English, Gaelic, Home Economics, Maths and Physics with Science. There are limited places, so it's a good idea to apply early.
To find out more contact Aberdeen University on 01224 274776 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are my options at The University of Dundee?
The University of Dundee offers a flexible PGDE course. This means you can get qualified by full-time distance learning in 36 weeks, or part-time over 72 weeks.
The subjects offered are: English, Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Modern Languages and Home Ecomomics.
To find out more contact Dundee University on 01382 464000 or by email at email@example.com
What are my options at the University of Strathclyde?
Strathclyde are offering part-time PGDE courses on all the subjects listed on page 6 and entry requirements are exactly the same as the full time courses. It's easy to find out more, just call Strathclyde University on 0141 950 3206 or drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Richardson, now a teacher at Thurso High School, graduated from the University of Dundee's PGDE course in 2005. Without the distance learning option, Susan would not have been able to realise her dream of becoming a teacher. Susan says:
"I graduated first time around with a degree in English from Glasgow University and have been interested in teaching for many years now, although committing to a full-time, in-faculty course would have been impossible as I live in a rural area and have two children still at school. However, the course at Dundee removed the problem of distance by letting me do most of my study at home."
UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW ST ANDREW'S BUILDING
FACULTY OF EDUCATION
11 ELDON STREET
PHONE: 0141 330 2463
FAX: 0141 330 3065
UNIVERSITY OF PAISLEY UNIVERSITY CAMPUS AYR
SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
PHONE: 01292 886 206
FAX: 01292 886 006
UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE GARDYNE ROAD CAMPUS
FACULTY OF EDUCATION AND SOCIAL WORK
PHONE: 01382 464 000
FAX: 01382 464 900
UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN MACROBERT BUILDING
SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
PHONE: 01224 274 776
FAX: 01224 274 900
UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE 76 SOUTHBRAE DRIVE
FACULTY OF EDUCATION
PHONE: 0141 950 3243
FAX: 0141 552 5860
UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH HOLYROOD ROAD
MORAY HOUSE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
PHONE: 0131 651 6138
FAX: 0131 651 6052
UNIVERSITY OF STIRLINGINSTITUTE OF EDUCATION
PHONE: 01786 467 600
FAX: 01786 467 633
What does the PGDE course involve?
The one-year PGDE course varies a little from university to university. However, you'll study for 36 weeks with an equal balance between learning at university and in schools. It's great preparation for your first teaching job.
School placements give you the chance to work with teachers and pupils in the classroom. Placements also develop your teaching skills and allow you to use the concepts and skills you've learned. Of course, you'll also get feedback on your progress.
More than that, you'll learn to consider the distinct education needs of individual pupils, and develop your own theories about teaching.
" I trained in Edinburgh, completing a one year course in Physics and Maths at Moray House. The course included lectures on a wide range of general teaching topics, including behaviour management, the structure of the school curriculum and teaching and learning styles. We also had tutorials, where we shared ideas for teaching particular topics, practised experiments, learned how to mark exams and much more. These tutorials were invaluable preparation for our three school placements (each lasted around six weeks). Though terrifying at the start and certainly challenging, these placements provided a taste of the excitement and fulfilment of teaching. They gave me an excellent opportunity to practise new skills, safe in the knowledge that the real class teacher would be able to pick up the pieces if it all went horribly wrong!"
SUSAN ARNOLD - 23
" Placements can be quite diverse. You can teach at two or three completely different schools where there are a variety of resources, discipline and teaching styles. It's great training to work in quite different environments".
What qualifications do I need?
The PGDE entry requirements are based on credit points which are standard across all Scottish Universities. It's just the entry requirements that'll change from course to course.
At the very least you'll need a degree from a UK university or an equivalent degree from outside the UK. The degree should normally contain 80 credit points relevant to the teaching qualification you are studying for. (40 credit points must be at second year undergraduate level or above). You'll also need Higher English or an equivalent qualification.
However, some subjects have very specific demands, so it's best to check with the university where you want to study.
What are credit points?
A credit point is a measure of the amount of learning you have done. Credit points are awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Framework ( SCQF) and each credit point represents around 10 hours of learning.
To find out more about the credit point breakdown of your degree, look at your degree transcript or contact your university.
Do any subjects have special entry requirements?
Yes - some subjects have entry requirements beyond the ones we've outlined:
MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES
For more information about what's required to study for a PGDE (Secondary) course in these subjects visit: www.infoscotland.com/teaching
How do I apply to do a PGDE course?
You apply through the Graduate Teacher Training Registry ( GTTR). Visit www.gttr.ac.uk or call 0870 112 2205.
However, you need to apply directly to the university if you would like to do any teaching course at the University of Paisley or the part-time and distance learning courses at the Universities of Aberdeen and Dundee. Contact details are on page 8.
Universities will be particularly interested to hear from you if your subjects include English, Physics, Modern Languages, Technological Education, Home Economics or Physical Education.
In these priority subjects, applications will be accepted right up to the start of the course. To find out more, simply get in touch with the universities where you'd like to study.
The GTTR process all applications that are received for secondary courses from September to June. There is no deadline for applications to secondary courses however, some universities may not be able to consider your application for the more popular courses unless you apply early in the application cycle. The closing date for PGDE primary courses is usually early December. You are advised to check this with GTTR.
Will I be interviewed before being accepted on a PGDE course?
Yes. The selectors generally look for three key qualities:
- your knowledge of the curriculum for your subject
- your knowledge of the teaching profession
- your suitability for a career as a teacher
It's also likely that you'll be asked to do a written and practical test on your subject. There will also be an interview with a teacher and an activity where you'll work as part of a group.
Do I need classroom experience to get on the course?
It's useful, but not essential. Universities tend to prefer PGDE students who have experience of working in schools or with young people. This helps your application stand out, showing a genuine commitment to the profession.
Where can I get advice?
Why not start by approaching your old school or perhaps your children's school? It's likely that you will have to go through a Police Disclosure check - speak to the Head Teacher about this.
Your experience could be from working with children in youth groups or playgroups. It could be from volunteering with Cubs, Scouts, Guides or Brownies, or from befriending or mentoring. You may even have volunteered to teach literacy classes to adults or run a painting course - it's all teaching experience.
You might also want to think about voluntary work with young people. You can find a volunteer centre near you at: www.volunteerscotland.org.uk
What's it like being a mature student?
Name: ASIF CHISHTI
Subject: GERMAN AND FRENCH
Location: MORAY HOUSE, EDINBURGH
Teaching Experience: PGDE STUDENT (2004/2005)
"When I graduated from university, I had a good idea that I wanted to go into teaching. First though, there were other things I wanted to do before embarking on a career - or getting a real job!
Looking back on it, I'm glad I got some experience of the real world before starting my training. When I began my teaching course, I quickly realised I wasn't the only person who'd done this. My classmates had a wealth of different backgrounds and experience. In fact, very few had come straight from their undergraduate studies and there were a number of mature students among us (and some veritable vintage students, too!).
I used the time after finishing my degree to live in France. A career in Education can't have been very far from my mind because I ended up teaching English at a high school in the suburbs of Paris. Travelling and living abroad are two of the many opportunities which can open up for you when you're a modern linguist, and that is certainly one thing I hope to share with pupils in my class.
I think that genuine enthusiasm for your subject area is vital in a teacher. But to be a good teacher, you also need three other things: confidence, a sense of humour and a red pen. The training year is challenging and enjoyable. At the beginning it can seem a bit off-putting having other teachers or tutors scrutinise your every move in the classroom. Experienced teachers make it look so easy, but they soon let you in on the trade secrets. The support of colleagues at training college and in placement schools makes life as a trainee much easier.
You'll soon be itching to finish the course tout de suite and be let loose on your own pupils, red pen at the ready!"
What if I don't have a degree but still want to teach?
Depending on the subject you want to teach, you can study towards:
- a four-year Bachelor of Education ( BEd) degree course in Physical Education, Music or Technological Education
- A combined degree (sometimes known as a concurrent degree), which usually lasts around four years. The degree includes your main subject, study of education and some school experience.
See page 12 for more information.
Where can I study undergraduate courses in secondary teaching?
The following table shows the universities in Scotland that offer secondary education courses (remember to check with the university to make sure the course you're interested in has places available):
Which universities offer combined (concurrent) degree courses?
|BMUS Music Education |
Technology with Education
|MA in Religious and Philisophical Education|
BA or BSc in the following subjects with Professional Education:
(2 nd teaching subject only)
Sport Studies/Physical Education
|BSc Maths with Teaching Qualification |
BSc Physics with Teaching Qualification
BSc Chemistry with Teaching Qualification
BSc Biological Sciences with Teaching Qualification
* To find out all the possible combinations of subjects at Stirling University, visit www.ioe.stir.ac.uk/ITE/TeachingSubjects.htm
What qualifications do I need for an undergraduate degree in teaching?
The entry requirements for BEd (Secondary) or combined degree courses vary by course and by university. To find out more simply get in touch with the university you want to apply to.
How do I apply for an undergraduate teaching course?
Apply to the Universities and Colleges Admission Service ( UCAS) at www.ucas.ac.uk or call 0870 112 2211. The closing date for UCAS applications is usually January in the year your course starts.