Voice Official Response to informal consultation on issues relating to Initial Teacher Education in Scotland

Voice Official Response to GTCS informal consultation


Initial Informal Information Gathering on the Memorandum on Entry requirements to Courses of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland and the Guidelines for Courses of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland

Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Courses of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland

As long as the standard of applicants is maintained at a high level, we do not see an issue here. 

Maths at level 6 would be ideal for Primary teacher entrance. If the requirement for Maths for Primary were to be raised to level 6, this should also be required for Secondary. English at level 6 should be maintained as an entrance level qualification. 


  • Languages 

Having a Higher level or equivalent languages qualification is a good idea. However, situations can arise where the language in which the teacher is qualified is not the language taught in the particular school they work in. Courses need to target key language teaching strategies that can be applied to teaching different languages. 

The language skill should be developed at university, not started as a new subject. Student teachers should be able to gain a teaching qualification in MLPS if they do a course at University and have at least a Higher level or equivalent languages qualification. The “one day a week out of school for a year” is not good enough if the teacher does not have a strong grasp of the language themselves. 

  • Science 

The question arises as to whether a Science requirement would be compatible with learning a language as well. It would be a good idea if both academic paths could be pursued at secondary school, given the importance of science at primary school. Science at level 6 would be ideal for Primary teacher entrance, but level 5 should be enough. 


Guidelines for Courses of Initial Teacher Education in Scotland

  1. Primary Provision
  • Undergraduate 

Study should link with skills and knowledge and understanding that can be developed and applied to becoming a better teacher.  Special interests are natural to us all and these skills could be developed too, with students encouraged to apply them to their educational experience. 

 There is concern that many primary teaching students decide late in their course that teaching is not for them.  More experience of schools at an early stage is required to make sure that they have made the right choice.     

  • The Model of the Primary Teacher 

Once teachers have had an opportunity to complete their probationary year and teacher for a period, to gain experience in the real world of teaching, they can consider a specialism.  However, the teaching of reading should be a priority for all Primary teachers with time provided to learn about the different methods, as the best results come from using several different methods and each has its place. 

  • Areas of Difficulty 

Class support has reduced dramatically and it would be useful for students to receive expert training in support for learning areas and practical strategies for classroom practice.  Students should have the opportunity on placements to work under supervision with children with additional support needs in order to gain experience. Educating students on the role and responsibilities of SFL and PSAs in school as well as the class teacher’s role is important.    

  • School Experience 

Staff must be willing to have a student in their class and be prepared to support them positively.  Mentoring training would help with this, with trained and willing teachers receiving students and liaising closely with university staff. 

If schools have greater authority in the assessment of student teachers, this could lead to discrepancies in the standards expected. University tutors already know what standard to look for and schools can see how keen students are in their role. 

  • Interdisciplinary Learning 

The Guidelines should specifically require programmes to address this matter. This could be followed through observing and team teaching IDLs with a mentor in school, sharing findings and exploring models and research findings at University and then planning and implementing a short IDL in the mentor’s class. The mentor would be involved in team teaching, observing, agreeing recommendations for improvements and evaluating progress made in teaching and impact on learners. 

With regards to the training and support required to realise the above, it is hoped that the necessary resources will be made available to ensure teachers can achieve what is required of them. For example, in mentoring students.

Further information:

General Teaching Council for Scotland: Informal consultation on issues relating to Initial Teacher Education in Scotland


GTC Scotland is responsible for determining what constitutes a recognised teaching qualification for those seeking registration as a school teacher. We are now seeking comments from stakeholders and interested parties relating to the Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Courses of Initial Teacher Education (ITE), and the Guidelines for Courses of ITE in Scotland.

The purpose of this informal consultation is to gain some early comment from stakeholders. We will then feed these comments into a redrafting of both the Guidelines and the Entry Memo before consulting formally on specific proposals in the Spring. We aim to have the revised versions in place for our council meeting in June.

The revised Guidelines will be used for all programme accreditations after that date, and the revised Entry Memo will be used to consider applications for those wishing to enter ITE in and after August 2014.


This consultation provides an opportunity for the education community to raise any matters regarding the Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Courses of ITE, and the Guidelines for Courses of ITE in Scotland.

View the information and issues for comment below:

Informal consultation - Issues relating to the ITE in Scotland (Word doc)

Useful Links


Jennifer Hannah
Senior Professional Officer (Scotland)

Email: jenniferhannah@voicetheunion.org.uk