Secondary school teacher - Modern studies

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Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

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This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would encourage young people to learn about how society works, think  about values, conflicts, democracy, citizenship and understand how laws are made.

You would teach young people from 11 to 18 years old, in state and independent schools. You might also work in a college or learning centre.

As Modern Studies teacher you’d inspire and motivate them to understand more about values, conflicts of ideas and how they can influence events by exercising democracy and citizenship.

You’d teach students of different ages and abilities and prepare young people to take the National Qualifications and Highers in this subject.

There is national guidance for Curriculum for Excellence Social Studies and National Qualifications, which you would use when planning your teaching.

You would:

  • Prepare lessons and teaching materials
  • Assess students’ progress and mark their work
  • Set homework
  • Manage classroom behaviour
  • Discuss students' progress with parents and carers
  • Organise study trips, social activities and sports events.

You’d encourage the students to take pride in their achievements inside and outside school. You’d support them to build good relationships with other students and teachers and play a positive part in the life of the school and the local community.

You’d help them get the knowledge, skills and attributes they’ll need for a successful and positive life when they leave school.

Sometimes you will need to deal with challenging behaviour. It may be difficult to get some teenagers to study so you’d need to be imaginative and enthusiastic to keep them interested.

You’d need to attend meetings and training courses. You’d work closely with colleagues to plan the school’s timetables, and work with other professionals, such as education psychologists and social workers.

Working conditions

Hours

Teaching takes place for 39 weeks a year, usually from 9am to 3.30pm or 4pm. You are likely to spend several more hours outside of these times, planning lessons, marking pupils' work and taking part in activities such as outings, parent evenings and training.

Environment

Secondary school teachers often have a base classroom. However, from time to time they may have to carry books and equipment from room to room. This is subject to the space available in each school.

Travel

You could do supply teaching where you work in different schools for short periods to cover the absences of permanent teachers.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Explaining things
  • Working as part of a team
  • Helping people to learn
  • Working on your own
  • Being creative
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You'll need a relevant social studies degree (SCQF Level 9/10). You'll also need to complete a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) Modern Studies (SCQF Level 11).

To enter a PGDE, you'll need a degree with at least 80 credit points in two of the following subjects:

  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History and economic history
  • International relations
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Sociology
  • Social policy

At least 40 credit points must be from politics, sociology or social policy.  

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

Useful subjects

Courses require:

  • Higher English
  • National 5 Maths 
  • Highers in social studies subjects such as History, Geography or Modern Studies.

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate the ability to work with children or young people, communication skills and experience in politics or community activity will be helpful.

You will be expected to support literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing as well as your own subject.