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About to start teaching in Scotland - advice needed!

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by Devon Dumpling, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. Devon Dumpling

    Devon Dumpling New commenter

    Hi all

    After teaching in England for 15 years, me and my husband have moved to Scotland (his native country) and I've been successful in gaining a teaching post in a Scottish school, starting August. I was only appointed about 2 weeks or so ago.

    However, things this side of the wall are all a bit different (it took 6 phone calls to establish my salary!) and I'm struggling to answer a few questions. I don't want to pester my future head (who is now on holiday in any case), but I'm not sure if I should be doing anything, chasing things etc.

    Any advice regarding the following would be gratefully received.

    1. I've not signed a contract or anything yet. The school is now on holiday. Is this standard? Does it come from the school or is it County in Scotland?

    2. No one has asked for my bank details, p45 etc. Hopefully I'll get paid.....

    3. Is there a standard day of the month teachers get paid? If I start on 19th August, when can I expect my first pay? How can I find out (google isn't helping me)?

    4. Pensions. To start a new one or convert my existing English one? Again, no one has mentioned pensions.

    I just feel like I've got a load of questions and no one to ask. I'm also worried that I should be doing something, but I'm not aware that I should be.

    Thanks so much for any advice!
  2. bonxie

    bonxie Senior commenter

    Assuming you're going to be working in a state school rather than a private one, your contract will be issued by the local council. Council HR staff work during the school holidays so your contract should arrive soon. A request for your bank details will probably be in the same envelope as your contract so you can return both together. I'm not sure if all Scottish councils are the same but here we're paid on the last working day of the month. You'll probably be automatically enrolled in a new Scottish pension scheme. You can convert your English pension later if you wish.
  3. Devon Dumpling

    Devon Dumpling New commenter

    Thank you so much for taking the time to type such valuable advice.
    Yes it's a state school in dumfries and galloway.
  4. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    Most councils pay teachers on the Thursday before the last Friday of each month. Yes its bonkers, but you get used to it.

    As soon as you start work, you have a contract in place, albeit with no paperwork. Some councils can take an eternity to get paperwork out, if you haven't heard anything by mid July I would phone teachers personnel at D&G to clarify payment, contracts, pension and PVG clearance, but it should be a routine process.

    I'm no expert at pensions but you'll automatically be enrolled into the Scottish teachers pension scheme, I couldn't tell you if you can transfer previous earnings in or whether you will end up with two separate pension schemes from your time either side of the border.
    bonxie likes this.
  5. bonxie

    bonxie Senior commenter

    I can only speak from a primary perspective but there are many advantages to teaching in Scotland. Having worked in both English and Scottish schools, there's no way I'd go back to teaching in England. Schools here don't try to force out more expensive, experienced staff by putting them through capability when they get to the upper end of the pay scale. The curriculum is a lot less prescriptive so you'll have a bit more freedom as to which topics you teach and when. There isn't a focus on assessing every little thing a child does or getting them to jump through hoops to reach unrealistic targets. There are no SATs for children, parents and staff to get stressed about so teaching can focus on learning for its own sake rather than for keeping the school from dropping down the league tables. Planning and record keeping do not have to be as detailed. There is an expectation that planning, tracking etc should be functional rather than unnecessarily bureaucratic.
    https://education.gov.scot/improvement/self-evaluation/Tackling bureaucracy toolkit
    https://education.gov.scot/scottish...racy and addressing undue workload in schools

    Joining a Scottish union would be a good idea (e.g. https://www.eis.org.uk) as they'll keep you up-to-date with information on pay scales, conditions of service, pensions and current issues like working time agreements.

    I assume you are already registered with the GTCS. If not, you need to get this arranged ASAP as it can take a while to come through. https://www.gtcs.org.uk

    You'll be given a Glow email account. This is the Scottish Schools National Intranet and is used for email, storing information etc.

    Over the summer it would be worth you having a look at the Curriculum for Excellence. The Experiences and Outcomes (Es & Os) and Benchmarks documents would be a good place to start.
    https://education.gov.scot/scottish...cl-btc1-5)/What is Curriculum for Excellence?

    One difference between English and Scottish schools is that in Scotland primary pupils start learning a modern language from Primary 1 (Reception) and a second modern language from P5 (Year 4). They continue learning 2 languages for the first three years of secondary.

    Once you have started teaching in Scotland, you'll need to keep track of any Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) you do. You'll get a log-in for your MyGTCS account and you're expected to record any training you've done on your Professional Update (which is on the GTCS website). This gets signed off by your line manager (usually head teacher) at the end of each academic year. Every 5 years, your Professional Update information is sent off to the GTCS so that you can remain registered for teaching in Scotland. You don't need to record information on it in any great detail. If you have pdfs or docs related to courses you've done, you can upload the to your PU to save you typing out lots of information.
  6. HonestGuv

    HonestGuv New commenter


    Dumfries and Galloway pay on last Thursday of the month. This means you will get a part monthly payment on 29th August. Contracts are usually issued by email and I would think the contract would be sorted in next few days as well as bank details.
    ms_angela_aston likes this.
  7. teachaaaaaa

    teachaaaaaa New commenter

    Payday really does depend on your council. We get paid the last working day of the month whichever day of the month or week that is. However I know many pay last Thursday of the month. I took a lot of hassling to get a contract as I needed it as proof to get a rental contract for a flat. It does come however. You will also find you are not subjected to the whims of your head as to whether you get a pay rise or not. (They May even let you go to top of scale as your experience is recognised; I started point 3 in recognition of my overseas work)
  8. Devon Dumpling

    Devon Dumpling New commenter

    Thanks all for this fantastic advice! I really appreciate it.
    Lots of things are so different to England, and it takes a bit of getting used to.
    Interesting times ahead!
  9. piglet171

    piglet171 New commenter

    I would say the similarities are greater than the differences. Same old stuff with different names!
    Transfer your pension service asap. There is a time limit. A year springs to mind, but check it out with the SPPA (Scottish Public Pensions Agency). I can't remember how I did it - I maybe contacted all the English LAs I'd worked in and asked them to give details to SPPA.
    Good luck!
  10. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Here is a link to the pension transfer information you require:


    Getting a transfer value from the English teachers' pension scheme should be fairly straight forward but, as has been said, you must do it within 1 year and as soon as possible.

    Once you have the comparison figures, it is up to you to decide whether you want to go ahead with the transfer or join the Scottish scheme, leaving your English pension where it is.

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