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A World of opportunity - A Guide to Education and Training in Scotland

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A Guide to Education and Training in Scotland

Teacher Education

Investing in excellence

The quality of Scotland's teachers is vital to the continuing excellence of the education system. By law all teachers employed in local authority schools must be registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) after completing initial education to gain the essential Teaching Qualification. Because new teachers are not fully registered until they have completed two years of probation, the GTC has considerable interest in the early years of teaching.

Teacher education is constantly developing. As schools take greater responsibility for managing their own resources, teachers are required to gain new skills. A Scottish Qualification for Headship has been developed to prepare aspiring headteachers in primary, secondary and special schools for their roles. This includes management skills, assessment of personal development and administration, and is module-based. It will become mandatory for teachers seeking a first appointment as a Head Teacher from August 2005.

Three routes to a Teaching Qualification:

  • a 4 year course leading to the BEd Primary - or, for secondary, a 4 year course leading to a BEd Technology, Physical Education or Music
  • a combined degree course, for secondary subjects only, which includes subject study, study of education and school experience
  • 1 year Postgraduate Teacher Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Primary or Secondary, following an appropriate degree

There are six institutions in Scotland offering courses of initial teacher education.

Evaluation and Certification

It is not enough for students to pass examinations. The award of a Teaching Qualification, which has the status of a degree, is based on a combination of assessment, external examination and project work. Schools are encouraged to play a greater part in the individual assessment of student teachers and work closely with staff at teacher education institutions.

Registration as a teacher is accorded, in the first instance, on a provisional basis, and full registration is granted to teachers who have satisfactorily demonstrated to the General Teaching Council Scotland that they have achieved the Standard for Full Registration (SFR).