Home economics teachers prepare and give lessons in topics such as family health and lifestyle, budgeting, childcare and parenting, nutrition and diet, food preparation and hygiene, fashion and textiles and consumer studies. They work to guidelines set up by the Curriculum for Excellence and prepare pupils, aged 11 to 18, for national exams. They may also be called Teacher of Food and Fashion Technology.
You could be:
using a variety of teaching techniques such as whole class lessons, demonstrations, practical work and discussions
using a range of materials including text books, worksheets, computers, audio-visual aids, cooking equipment and sewing machines
organising and directing the whole class and helping individual pupils 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 visits 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 £32,217 (January 2024).
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 £38,655 and increase an increment each year up to £48,516.
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 £52,896 and £68,265 a year, while the scale for depute head teachers and head teachers ranges from £59,994 to £110,808 a year, depending on the size of school.
Salaries in independent schools may differ slightly.
You would work in a classroom equipped with cooking or sewing facilities.
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 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 qualify as a secondary school teacher of home economics, you need a degree (SCQF Level 9-10) in consumer studies or food and consumer studies or consumer and textile studies, or similar, plus a Professional Graduate Diploma (SCQF Level 11) in Education (PGDE) OR the BA Hons Food, Nutrition and Textiles Education at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI Perth) or the new BSc Hons Education and Curricular Studies with Teaching Qualification at the University of Strathclyde (SCQF Level 10).
For entry to a suitable degree course you normally need 4-5 Highers. Depending on the course, particular subjects or grades may be required. You must have Higher English and National 5 Maths. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths.
For entry to the BA Hons Food, Nutrition and Textiles Education at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI Perth) you would need 3 Highers at BBC including English and a science subject plus National 5 Maths or Applications of Maths. Alternatively you can get in with a Foundation Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Technology plus Higher English and a science subject plus National 5 Maths or Applications of Maths.
Entry to the BSc Hons Education and Curricular Studies with Teaching Qualification at the University of Strathclyde is at Year 3. You would require a relevant HND such as Professional Cookery or Fashion and Textile Technology. You must have obtained Higher English plus National 5 Maths or Applications of Maths by the end of Year 3.
Your degree should normally contain 80 Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) credit points. 40 credit points must come from at least two of: consumer studies, food studies, food or textile technology and nutrition. The other 40 must come from those mentioned, or family studies, food sciences, health, hospitality or textile studies. 40 of the credit points must have been studied at SCQF Level 8 (second year undergraduate level) or above.
For entry to PGDE, you need an approved degree, together with Higher English plus Maths at National 5 - some institutions specify at B. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths.
Aberdeen, Strathclyde, Highlands and Islands (at a number of colleges) and Queen Margaret universities offer the PGDE in Home Economics.
There is a lot of competition for places in all PGDE 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.
an interest in child development and an understanding of how children learn
patience and adaptability
enthusiasm and energy
a firm and assertive approach when necessary
good organisational skills
a sense of humour and a positive outlook.
You need to be able to:
hold the attention of pupils of all abilities and encourage them
work on your own and as part of a team
stay calm under pressure
get on well with other staff members, parents and carers.
You will do in-service training (often provided by local councils) throughout your teaching career.
You might also take part time courses in specialist aspects of education, run by universities.
You may be promoted to be principal teacher or head of department.
You may then become a depute head teacher and then a head teacher.
You might move into related work such as learning support teaching, further education lecturing, advisory work, education authority administration or schools inspection.
Most teachers work in authority 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 the myjobscotland website.