Secondary school teachers prepare, organise and teach their specialised subject(s) to 11 to 18 year olds. They work to guidelines set up by the Curriculum for Excellence preparing pupils for national qualifications.
You could be:
encouraging children to express themselves and develop their talents
using a variety of teaching methods including whole class lessons, projects, demonstrations and discussions
using a range of materials including paper, paint, clay, cameras and computers
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 social events or outings
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 £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 secondary school teachers, the payment is £8,000 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. £2,157 for a distance island and £1,515 or £2,841 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.
You would work in a classroom, studio or workshop.
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 you would probably use some of this time to prepare the next term's work.
You would have to work some evenings to attend parents' evening, curriculum meetings and other school events.
You should be aware that teaching is a mentally and physically demanding job.
To become a secondary teacher, you must have a degree in your chosen subject and a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
Entry requirements for degree courses vary, but you normally need 4-5 Highers.
You must also have Higher English and National 5 Maths. National 5 Applications of Maths is accepted in place of Maths.
Requirements for each subject vary. See the individual job profiles for each subject in the Secondary School Teaching section.
40 of the credit points must have been studied at SCQF Level 8 (second year undergraduate level) 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 at all universities with the exception of University of Edinburgh.
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.