Teaching Qualification (Independent Sector) PGDE

Course code X191

What is special about this course?

The PGDE Teaching Qualification (Independent Sector)* is specifically for teachers working in Independent Schools in Scotland, who currently do not possess a formal teaching qualification and are therefore not eligible for Full Registration with the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS). The programme has been co-designed with the Scottish Council for Independent Schools (SCIS) to offer a contextualised route for teaching staff in Independent Schools in Scotland, to enable them to achieve a GTCS-accredited Initial Teacher Education award, which meets the conditions outlined by GTCS in response to their application for Full Registration. 

This new programme is contemporary in structure and aims to develop and enhance classroom practice while equipping participants with an enquiring stance in education. It promotes collaborative engagement and enables participants to engage in relevant, professional learning over 2 years on a part-time, on-line basis which takes cognisance of the current and future demands on those in the teaching profession.

*subject to re-accreditation

Special features

  • The programme leads to full GTCS registration, for those participants who hold the required GTCS academic qualifications, allowing teachers the option to progress their career in the independent or maintained sector.
  • Participants who complete the programme will have achieved 120 masters credits with the option to undertake further study (60 credits) to achieve a full Masters degree in Education.
  • The programme is generic and offers flexibility thus ensuring it is equally relevant to the primary and secondary contexts.
  • The programme acknowledges the teaching experience and prior professional learning of participants.

Entry requirements


Important: please read our FAQ sheet for further information about this programme.


  • Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree and be currently employed as a teacher in an independent school in Scotland.
  • Prior to applying for the programme, participants should have the support of their head teacher/principal.
  • Participants will be required to hold Provisional (Conditional) Registration with the GTCS before they begin the final module of the programme.


You will complete two modules in the first year:

Teacher Professionalism (20 credits):

This module infrastructure mirrors a critically reflective approach to developing as a teaching professional and is designed to underpin engagement with the subsequent modules, as the first stage in a sequential professional learning pathway to achieving the Standard for Full Registration ('SFR') (GTCS, 2012). Through dialogic engagement with models and contextualised examples of professionalism, you will be empowered to connect you own emerging identity as a 21st Century teaching professional, with your aspirations for professional learning and enhanced practice, as agents of professional change.

Curriculum and Pedagogy (20 credits):

This module aims to provide a framework to enable you to reflect critically on your current practice and future professional development. You will be encouraged to investigate the nature of curriculum and consider theoretical models of 21st Century education, while concurrently developing digital literacy skills as a platform for critical engagement in classroom and professional learning. Ultimately, you will consider implications for your future practice in light of a deeper understanding of effective and collegiate current learning and teaching practices.


In the second year of the programme, you will complete a further two modules:

Policy into Practice (20 credits):

This module builds on the articulation of a professional identity, and the aspirations for enhanced 21st Century professional practice framed in Year one of the programme as a pathway to contextualising practice. You will familiarise yourself with a range of national policy documentation and related stimuli exemplars of current SCIS guidelines. You will be guided to critically reflect on how individual and school practice in the Independent Sector is informed by current Scottish policy priorities and legislative requirements. You will explore the relationship between policy and practice as it is manifested in real terms in your school, with your pupils, to frame a justification for your own professional actions.

Evidencing the Standard for Full Registration (GTCS, 2012) (60 credits):

This module will support you to reflect on the professional learning undertaken in the first three modules and align it with the Standard for Full Registration (GTCS, 2012). It adopts an enquiry framework, extending the small-scale project-based experience in the Curriculum and Pedagogy module, to synthesise evidence from practice, school contexts and professional communities as the means to establish and resource a trajectory for career-long professional learning.

How will I study my course?

  • You will study through supported online learning using the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)
  • Part-time (structured)
  • You will learn through a combination of video-conference lectures and tutorials, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors.

How long will my course last?

  • Part-time (structured): 2 years @ 7 hours per week

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Perth College UHI - you will study by supported online learning, with support from Perth College UHI.

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply :

This includes :

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
Year 1: Part-time, two 20 credit modules £430 £430
Year 2: Part-time, one 20 credit module and one 60 credit module £860 £860

Rest of UK students

For students who are assesses as rest of the UK (RUK) for fee status, the following fees apply:

Year 1: Part-time, two 20 credit modules £2,040 £2,040
Year 2: Part-time, one 20 credit module and one 60 credit module £4,080 £4,080

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

International students

This course is not available for international students, including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled status in the UK, requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study here. For students living in the UK and assessed as international for fee status, the following fees will apply :

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

Year 1: Part-time, two 20 credit modules £2,160 £2,160
Year 2: Part-time, one 20 credit module and one 60 credit module £4,320 £4,320


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant UHI partner college for more information.

Additional costs

  • The course begins with an induction session in Perth, you will need to meet the costs of attending this session

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course you will be eligible for Full Registration with the GTCS, subject to holding the required GTCS academic qualifications. This will enable you to progress your career in either the independent or maintained sectors.

Can I progress into further study?

You may wish to progress from this course to the MEd Critical Enquiry to complete a masters degree.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Teaching Qualification (Independent Sector) PGDE

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2022

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.