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French Science Teacher moving to Scotland : lots of questions!

Discussion in 'Scotland - curriculum' started by Emma_Biology, Jun 26, 2015.

  1. Emma_Biology

    Emma_Biology New commenter


    I am a qualified Science Teacher in France, currently working in a secondary school near Nice.

    I am going to move to Scotland with my husband and son in a few years so I have A LOT of questions about teaching in Scotland and the Curriculum for Excellence!

    1) Is the schoolyear divided into trimesters or semesters or..?

    2) Do pupils have the same timetable during all the schoolyear?

    3) How many periods of 50min do the pupils have per week? How many periods of Science / Biology per week?

    4) What time do they usually start and finish school?

    5) Do schools have extra-curricular activities everyday after school and do parents have to pay for these?

    6) How many pupils (average number) are there in Scottish classrooms ?

    7) In S1, S2 and S3 : all the pupils follow the same subjects (8?)

    8) Do they start choosing subjects from S4 to S6 ?

    9) How many subjects do they have to choose and are they studying the same subjects all year round ?

    10) Considering pupils of the same age (for example in S5) : if pupil A chose Biology since S4 he's going for a Higher level in S5 and if pupil B chose Biology from S5 he's going for National 5 Level (am I correct?) : so are pupil A and pupil B going to be in different classes ? Or can they be in the same class and the teacher will have to teach different levels during the same lesson ?

    11) Teachers have to teach 22,5hours in the classroom but have to work 35 hours a week : does that mean teachers have to stay at school after class for 12,5 hours ? What can these 12,5hours include (preparing lessons and marking tests, extra-curricular activites during lunchtime and afterschool...)

    What time do teachers usually start and leave school everyday ?

    12) Does a Biology teacher teach all five subjects in « General Science » in S1, S2 and S3 or does he only teach « Biological systems » and does a physics teacher teach Forces electricity and waves etc …

    13) I found on amazon a few books for Biology National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher but I couldn't find any Science books (for S1 to S3), could you give me names / references of books please ?

    Really looking forward to reading your answers! :) Thank you in advance!

    Sorry for my very long message!


  2. inthered

    inthered Occasional commenter

    Emma, good luck, and check with the General Teaching Council for Scotland that they will allow you to teach before getting too involved in the details. They have a website and phone number online.

    1. Terms. Up to Xmas, up to Easter and up to Summer.

    2. More or less , though there will be some rotation in Humanities and perhaps some other subjects. Some schools start a new timetable from the start of June.

    3. Depends on the region. We have 33 periods of 50 minutes each.

    4. About 9 to about half 3, although we went over to an asynchronous week last year; longer days Mon and Wed, shorter Tue and Thu and finish at 3 on a Friday. It's annoying.

    5 depends on the school, and I don't think kids usually pay.

    6. Max 33 in S1 and S2; Max 30 S3 upwards, although in science classes there may be a restriction of 20 kids.

    7. In theory yes, though schools differ in what they offer as 'personalisation & choice'.

    8. Yes, mostly.

    9. 6 or 7 in S4; 5 or so in S5; variable in S6.

    10. Composite classes in upper school are common so it's quite possible.

    11. Depends on the teacher. Plenty to do! Depending on the school you maybe left to get on with prep in peace, or be given a ton of stuff to do. In theory it's your time to do with as you choose and you're allowed to go out, home etcif you're not teaching, but you may have to cover a class if someone is off and it doesn't take you above your 22.5 hrs.

    12 & 13 - sorry, not science teacher so don't know!

    Best of luck.
  3. Emma_Biology

    Emma_Biology New commenter

    Hello again and thank you very much for your response!

    I have contacted the GTC for Scotland and I can apply for registration as a Teacher qualified in the EU. If my qualifications are confirmed I will be offered a provisional registration with an adaptation period.

    How is the Teaching jobs market in Scotland?

    I read that it's quite difficult to find a permanent job?

    Is it going to be more difficult for me because I am qualified outside Scotland?


  4. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    1 and 2 are linked. It depends where about in Scotland you are going to be based. There is loads of competition for jobs in the Central Belt, however, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are crying out for scientists.

    3 not sure.

    MsAnother likes this.
  5. Emma_Biology

    Emma_Biology New commenter

    Thank you catmother,

    Good news about Aberdeenshire because that's one of the places we are thinking of (or maybe Perthshire..)!
  6. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Hi Emma,

    Sounds like what GTCS are saying is that you will have a probationary period. What this means is that you have to complete a certain number of hours before being given "full" registration; however, you will only be able to complete short-term contracts or supply work until you have full registration.

    In S1 - S3, the course followed is usually a General Science course - you will be expected to teach all elements of this (it's the same in social subjects - History teachers might find themselves teaching Geography to S2 pupils.)

    For S1 - S3 books, you might want to look for CfE Science, or 5-14 Science (the old curriculum) - that will give you some ideas, as will the Experiences and Outcomes in CfE.
  7. If you do move to Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen or Moray, you'll easily get supply work. After a small amount of supply work, employers won't be worried that you qualified elsewhere, because you will have shown that you understand the Scottish system. They will be delighted to get your application; plenty of temporary and permanent positions available. The only thing you might want to think of, from my experience of working with teachers who have qualified in France, is that the behaviour of the children in class is very different, and what is allowed in terms of behaviour management can be very different. That's something you'll quickly pick up when you start though.
  8. Emma_Biology

    Emma_Biology New commenter

    Thank you very much amysdad and Moniquer.

    Amysdad : yes that's exactly what I understood about the GTC. I don't know if I could complete short-term contracts or supply work in any kind of schools in Scotland (public / independent / international / ...)?

    Moniquer : I'm happy to read that there are lots of opportunities in Aberdeenshire!

    About the behaviour of the children in class : what are the differencies between France and Scotland?

  9. Emma_Biology

    Emma_Biology New commenter

    Hello again!

    Moniquer : what did you mean by the behaviour of the children in class is very different (France / Scotland)?


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