5 Reasons Why You Should Teach In Scotland

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Nick Burton

Since qualifying as a Primary Teacher, Nick has held a number of teaching positions in the UK. He recently moved to Scotland and is currently working in Midlothian. He loves finding new ways to deliver lessons and use educational spaces in ways that best suit...
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Have you considered teaching north of the border?

Mulling over a move to London but can’t stomach the prices? Attracted by the social life that only a capital can provide? There are lots of reasons why Scotland might actually be the best place for you to take the next step in your teaching career.

I moved to Edinburgh in August 2017 after obtaining a full teaching qualification from the General Teaching Council for Scotland. The easy process cost £65 and enabled me to teach anywhere in one of the world’s best countries to visit. I now teach within 20 minutes of my house (even in rush hour) and I can be in the centre of Edinburgh in 15 minutes from my front door.

I love living in Edinburgh and haven’t a single regret about making the move. The job is more rewarding than it was for me south of the border. Teachers here have a good work-life balance and may be about to receive a much needed boost.

Here are my top five reasons to move to Scotland as a teacher.

1. An abundance of teaching jobs

The population in Scotland, particularly Greater Scotland, is growing at a phenomenal rate. Consequently, there are whole new towns popping up. The Lothians (West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian) are among the fastest growing regions of Scotland, and there are opportunities in new-build schools there all year round.

Midlothian, for example, is set to be the fastest growing region in Scotland. At its southern-most point is only a 45 minute drive of Edinburgh Castle. Boasting a number of brand new schools and more in the pipeline, there are dozens of opportunities for teachers every term on myjobscotland, the national teacher vacancy website.

2. Scottish teachers take workload very seriously

In an effort to cut costs and improve teachers’ work-life balance, Scotland’s schools have opted for a shorter working week, with some schools and authorities choosing to open for only four and a half days a week to students. Fridays are usually half days, with the exception of some longer staff meetings occasionally planned. Teachers now have enough time to consider city breaks, weekend hiking trips to the Highlands or just switching off and enjoying the city.

What’s more, the 35 hour per week working time agreement means that if a management team have not set aside hours for an extra staff meeting or admin task they have given you, it simply doesn’t happen.

3. Scottish teachers are campaigning for a 10% pay rise

Since 2010, teachers’ pay has declined by 20% in real terms across all of the UK. Scotland’s main teacher union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), is in the midst of a landmark campaign to bring Scotland’s teacher wages up to the OECD’s average teacher wage. This means that by the end of 2018, pay in Scotland may well outstrip all UK teachers’ pay outside London.

While money is never the reason one pursues a teaching career, Scotland could be about to become a very attractive option for teachers.

4. You will never be bored

Scottish cities’ cultural calendars are jam packed. The world renowned Hogmanay celebrations and Christmas markets sandwich, among others, the TRNSMT music festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh International Military Tattoo.

Scotland has among the world’s best hiking, with the highlands only a couple of hours from the Central Belt. Central Scotland is almost guaranteed snow in winter, and in the North there are a number of ski resorts easily accessible by car. There are a number of top flight football teams and Scotland’s rugby team plays all its home games at Murrayfield, which is 10 minutes tram from Edinburgh City Centre.

5. It’s cheap!

House prices in Scotland are on the up, but they are more than affordable for those starting on the housing ladder. A two bed house in Midlothian, for instance, is between £120,000 and £150,000. Even rates in Edinburgh are a fraction of London’s extortionate rates, squashing rent to an acceptable percentage of take home pay. Moreover, beers, the internationally accepted gauge of prices, are not too expensive (around £4.50 a pint in Edinburgh and Glasgow).

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I keep finding new reasons why teaching here is awesome, and, though I refer to locations close to Edinburgh almost exclusively in this post, there is no doubt that other Scottish cities (Glasgow, Aberdeen or Dundee, for example) are equally as attractive if you are considering a career move.

7 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why You Should Teach In Scotland

  1. Not all local authorities in Scotland have 4 and half days per week. I work in a north lanarkshire primary school and we work Monday to Friday 9-3pm with a soft start of 8.45am for p1-3. Wouldn’t want someone using your 4 and half day example as a main reason for moving and being disappointed to find out it’s not true scotland wide!

    1. I am so sorry! Though I got the 4 and a half day comment wrong, it is true to note that teachers should only have 22.5 hours contact time per week. Schools/authorities can choose to organise this in any way they like.
      Thanks for picking me up on it!

  2. Remember the transition is not so easy if you’re not in possession of a PGCE or PGDE. A GTP is worthless in the eyes of the GTCS, whatever your experience or subject specialism. You will need to complete this course and forfeit your points on the pay scale salary being paid as a probationer until you are signed off and have full registration. Other things to be slightly beware of: there is no UPS and tax is higher than south of the border. Oh yes, the curriculum is totally different. It’s far better with a wider range of academic and vocational subjects. Thankfully Gove and Gibb couldn’t get their hands on it. Without a doubt the best move we made in 2016!

    1. Can I strike up an email convo with you Rachel? My husband is Scottish and wants to move to his home country. I’m a teacher who is willing—and it seems like you have so many great answers that I probably have questions for!

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