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Primary to Secondary (Biology)

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by JamesB91, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. JamesB91

    JamesB91 New commenter

    Good evening everyone,

    I'm looking for some advice around moving from the Primary sector into Secondary, has anyone had any experience of moving from Primary to Secondary? How was the process? What did you have to do?

    From the GTCS website, I know my undergrad degree is suitable to qualify in Biology and that I'll need to contact a secondary school for some experience and do some professional learning to become acquainted with the secondary setting. Mostly looking for advice around the specific process I would need to follow, as the general advice is pretty vague.

    Also as a bit of a side question, I know that there is somewhat of a shortage of STEM teachers in secondary. Biology is probably the subject which suffers the least from lack of STEM teachers. So I'm wondering whether there are good job prospects for Biology teachers? In Scotland in general just now there is a good job picture within primary, so that's also a consideration. However I do think being a dual qualified teacher would benefit my job prospect in either sector.

    Any advice much appreciated!

    James
     
  2. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    most biology teachers teach either physics or chemistry to at least year 12 level, so make sure you are able to offer this as well
     
  3. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    I think you may be mixing up England and Scotland, dunnocks.

    Biology teachers would, I think, be able to find work without great difficulty so long as you're willing to be flexible about location. If you're willing to work in remote areas then you'll have no trouble. If you're sticking to the central belt then the competition is likely to be fierce. If you're willing to work in Aberdeen they'll probably bite your hand off. Where I think you might be really popular is in a through school. I work at one and I suspect if the next time we had a primary vacancy a candidate came along who could also handle senior Biology classes our head would be very interested indeed (we don't have a Biology teacher at all at present).
     
  4. Mazod

    Mazod Occasional commenter

    Most schools I know do expect science teachers to teach a bit of all three sciences during BGE.

    I'm a bit confused by what you want- do you want to leave primary for secondary or do you just want to be dual qualified and so be able to choose?

    I agree with BillyBobJoe that a through school and/or somewhere with a teacher shortage may be very interested. However, it's not that common to move between primary and secondary in Scotland and in the central belt I just can't see you getting a secondary job without a fair bit of supply. It might be worth chatting to your local secondary for advice on this.
     
  5. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    You essentially have to do your probation year again in Biology. You'll need a school willing to employ you under those terms, which could be tricky.
     
  6. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    Not necessarily. You can teach a subject (or stage) while being employed to teach another and then have your head sign off to say that they're happy with your teaching of that subject. There's no minimum time as there is with gaining full registration initially. That's how I became dual qualified (though it's two secondary subjects in my case) and I was only doing about 5 hours a week in my second subject for about a year. Obviously to do that with primary to secondary it would need to be through school or at least a joint campus.
     
  7. JamesB91

    JamesB91 New commenter

    I'm more than confident I could teach Chemistry during the BGE stage, and with some revision Physics too. I know I'd have to put some time in to look at the content of the new Biology courses and familiarise myself with the BGE science that is taught at third/fourth level. Also with Primary registration, I believe I can teach up to at least S2. Most 'transition' teachers are/were primary specialists, though I believe they usually taught English and Maths.

    It's really a bit of both, certainly in the short term I want to move to the secondary setting. I miss my subject and getting to do in depth science and have become disillusioned with some of the things going on in the primary sector currently. (I'm aware there are significant issues in secondary at the moment and that it's not all rosy!) Plus in a general sense, I do think that teaching would benefit from more of us being able to cross the 'divide'.

    I'd be more than happy to complete probation again, even having to go on point 0 of the pay scale if it meant I'd have both qualifications. It's the getting to that point which is what I'm not sure about.

    From what I can tell, it is possible but not as straight forward as I first thought. My next move, is to actually see about getting some time in a secondary science department to see if it will actually be the right move for me. Though getting the time to actually do that is the real issue.
     
  8. Mazod

    Mazod Occasional commenter

    It's definitely doable- my mum changed from primary to secondary during her career but it wasn't something she intended at the time and she did it via special education which was her real passion.

    There was an article in TES recently talking about the possibility of primary teachers teaching till the end of BGE but we are definitely not there yet if it is going to happen in a school which is not all-through. The two sectors have big differences and there is also the fact that many authorities begin teaching N4 and N5 in S3 rather than S4.

    It will be difficult for you as you will need to get the experience to persuade a secondary head teacher to appoint you over someone who has trained as a biology teacher and therefore has experience of the exam structure etc. You would really need to get experience to do this.

    Also, while I think you can make the switch if you wish I personally don't think that you will be able to easily move back and forth between the two. I think you need to show commitment for one or the other.
     

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