Biology with science teachers prepare and give lessons in topics such as the human body, plants, animals and other living things. They work to guidelines set up by the Curriculum for Excellence and prepare pupils, aged 11 to 18, for national exams.
You could be:
using a variety of teaching techniques such as demonstrations, experiments, field trips, discussions, projects and practical work
using a range of materials including text books, worksheets, diagrams, computers, audio-visual aids and whiteboards
organising and directing the whole class and helping individuals as required
setting assignments, projects, tests and exams, preparing and carrying out continuous assessment, marking pupils’ work and writing reports
keeping good order in the classroom and dealing with discipline issues
doing administrative work, including keeping a register of pupils
preparing for and attending parent-teacher meetings and staff meetings
sometimes supervising out of hours activities such as field trips or social events
meeting regularly with other departments to plan interdisciplinary projects.
Teachers in Scotland are paid on a national salary scale. The starting annual salary for a probationer teacher is £28,113 (April 2022).
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 secondary school teachers, the payment is £8,000 before tax and national insurance.
After your probationary year, your salary will increase to £33,729 and increase an increment each year up to £42,336.
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 £46,158 and £59,571 a year, while the scale for depute head teachers and head teachers ranges from £52,350 to £99,609 a year, depending on the size of school.
Salaries in independent schools may differ slightly.
You would work in a classroom or laboratory and possibly sometimes outside, on field trips.
Your working hours are based on a 35-hour week, working in a classroom 9.00am to 3.30pm or 4.00pm. You would use the rest of the time for preparation and marking.
You may have to do some preparation and assessment work at home, in the evenings or at weekends.
You would have 13 weeks holiday each year, but would probably use some of this time to prepare the next term's work.
You would have to prepare for and attend parent-teacher meetings, which are usually in the evening.
You should be aware that teaching is a mentally and physically demanding job.
To become a secondary school teacher of biology with science, you must have: a degree (SCQF Level 9-10) in biology or biological sciences plus a Professional Graduate Diploma (SCQF Level 11) in Education (PGDE) OR a degree in Professional Education (Secondary) and Biology (SCQF Level 10) (which includes a teaching qualification) from the University of Stirling.
Entry requirements for degree courses in biological sciences vary, but you normally need 4-5 Highers including Biology or Chemistry.
You must also have Higher English and National 5 Maths. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths.
If you take the Professional Education (Secondary) and Biology degree at the University of Stirling, you need 4 Highers AABB (first sitting) or AAAB (two sittings) including English, and 1 from Biology, Chemistry, Maths or Physics. You also need National 5 Maths or Applications of Maths at B.
Your degree must contain at least 80 credit points relevant to the teaching qualification. For teaching Biology relevant subjects include as Animal Biology, Biochemistry, Human Biology or Biomolecular Sciences.
40 of these credit points must be at SCQF Level 8 or above.
For entry to the PGDE, you need an approved degree together with Higher English and National 5 Maths - some institutions specify at B. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths.
Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Highlands and Islands (at a number of colleges) and West of Scotland (UWS) universities offer the PGDE in Biology with Science.
There is a lot of competition for places in these courses. It helps if you have experience of working with children or young people.
For PGDE courses, apply through UCAS.
There are a number of new teacher training programmes available, most linked to local authorities. See Teach in Scotland for full details and to see which subjects are covered.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
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.