Media release: GTCS accreditation – University of Dundee and University of the Highlands and Islands


New route into teaching gains GTCS accreditation

THE General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has accredited an innovative new route into teaching developed by University of Dundee and University of the Highlands and Islands.

The university partnership was chosen as the successful bidder in the Scottish Government’s procurement exercise to create a ‘genuinely new and distinct’ route into teaching that is attractive to ‘high-quality graduates’ and career changers.

The new pathway aims to alleviate the shortage of STEM teachers, complementing the 11 new routes into teaching already developed to tackle teacher recruitment challenges that have been accredited by GTC Scotland over the past 18 months.

The new Postgraduate Diploma in Education Secondary Partnership Induction Model (PIM) (STEM subjects) takes a unique partnership approach which sees the universities work with four local authorities (Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Highland and Scottish Borders) in rural settings. The route will support student teachers to learn in their own local area while being financially supported by one of the partner local authorities.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills in Scotland, said:
“I am delighted that GTCS has judged this new route into teaching, supported with a quarter of a million pounds from Scottish Government, as meeting the high standards that are required for accreditation.”

“This innovative programme will aim to broaden the range of people entering the profession in shortage subject areas and provide a challenging and rewarding opportunity to train in rural schools within areas of high deprivation.”

GTCS director of Education and Professional Learning, Ellen Doherty, said: “This is an intensive programme which covers the equivalent of a two-year PGDE and teacher induction in 18 months. It achieves this through a blended learning approach comprising on-campus face-to-face inputs, tutor and student-directed tasks, online learning and school-based experiential learning.

“Holiday periods are shorter than for conventional students, allowing learning to continue and course content to be covered. I have no doubt that successful completion of this Masters level programme will see us with a new cohort of exceptional teachers, ready to teach in rural areas in Secondary STEM subject areas.”

Professor Tim Kelly, dean of the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Dundee, said:
“The University of Dundee is pleased to be working with UHI and these four local authorities to address the shortage to teachers of STEM subjects, especially in remote and rural areas. Developing and delivering this innovative programme in partnership is one way the university works to transform lives. By widening access and educating STEM teachers for rural areas, we hope to continue to play our part in building a future of opportunities for all people in Scotland.”

Professor Morag Redford, head of Teacher Education at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said:
“This programme is an exciting opportunity for rural Scotland. It provides a new route into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) teaching for those living in four rural authorities and complements the current range of initial teacher education programmes offered by the University of the Highlands and Islands.”

Key features of the new programme are to:

• Attract quality graduates (minimum of 2:1 Honours degree)
• Target priority subjects: Chemistry, Computing Studies, Home Economics, Mathematics and Physics.
• Provide a bursary while studying to become a qualified teacher
• Target and address issues of rural recruitment
• Embed leadership skills in the programme design
• Strengthen the experience of the student teachers through a mentoring and partner-ship approach.

GTCS chief executive, Ken Muir, said: “GTCS has the important role of ensuring that new routes into teaching maintain and enhance the high standards of teaching and teacher education expected within our graduate teaching profession.

“It is important that these routes have been developed by the ITE universities with partner-ship working in mind and GTCS has prioritised their accreditation as part of our work to enhance teacher professionalism that will benefit children and young people across the country.”


Notes for editors:
• The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) is acknowledged as the world’s first fully independent, self-regulating, professional body for teaching. To find out more about GTCS and its Council visit
• For more information on GTCS’s role in accrediting university programmes, see:
• For further information on Scottish Government’s procurement exercise for an additional new route into teaching, see:
• For information on Scottish Government’s announcement on the 11 new routes into teaching, see:
• For further information about this news release please contact Evelyn Wilkins on 0131 314 6077 or

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GTCS contact details…

Contact: Evelyn Wilkins
Phone: 0131 3146077