Teacher - Primary or Early Years

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Primary and early years teachers teach, prepare and organise all the activities in the classroom for children aged 3 to 12. They follow the guidelines set up by the Curriculum of Excellence, which sets out to improve and enhance learning in Scottish schools.

The Work

The subjects you would teach might vary according to national or local guidelines. Specialist teachers may help with subjects like modern languages or physical education, but you would always have to teach a wide range of subjects such as:

You could be:


Teachers in Scotland are paid on a national salary scale. The starting annual salary for a probationer teacher is £27,498 (April 2020).

If you do your probationary period on the Teacher Induction Scheme, and are prepared to work anywhere in Scotland during that probationary year, you can also apply for the Preference Waiver Payment. For primary school teachers, the payment is £6,000 before tax and national insurance.

After your probationary year, your salary will increase to £32,994 and increase an increment each year up to £41,412.

If you teach in a remote school or on certain islands you may get an additional allowance. £2,265 for a distance island and £1,614 or £3,024, for a remote school.

Where a teacher is employed in a remote school on a distant island both the remote schools allowance and the distant islands allowance are paid, in addition to the teacher’s normal salary.

A principal teacher earns between £45,150 and £58,269 a year, while the scale for depute head teachers and head teachers ranges from £51,207 to £98,808 a year, depending on the size of school.

Salaries in independent schools may differ slightly.


Getting In

There is a lot of competition for places in all of these courses. It helps if you have experience of working with children in a primary school or a similar setting. You also need a good understanding of the Primary Education system.

Newly qualified teachers who want to teach in local council schools must complete a probationary period to demonstrate that they meet the Standard for Full Registration of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland). Those who wish to teach in independent schools may also require to be registered.

You are guaranteed a teaching post with a Scottish local authority for a full school year to complete this probationary period.

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland



Percentage of workforce registered as unemployed (Scotland)

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Job Outlook Scotland

3.2 %

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What Does it Take?

You need to have:

You need to be able to:


Getting On

More Information

Most teachers work in local council schools but there are also jobs in independent schools, British schools abroad, such as schools for the children of British armed services and in private tuition. Job vacancies are normally advertised on local authority websites or look on myjobscotland website.



The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Education Scotland
Tel: 0131 244 4330
Twitter: @EducationScot

General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland)
Tel: 0131 314 6000
Twitter: @gtcs

For information on registration as a teacher.

Teach in Scotland
Tel: 0845 345 4745

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Career Sectors

College or University Lecturing

Education Support

Primary School Teaching

Secondary School Teaching

Teaching - Other