Secondary school teacher
High school teacher, sixth form teacher
Secondary school teachers teach children from 11 to 16, or up to 19 in schools with sixth forms.
Salary range: £24,373 to £40,490
How to become a secondary school teacher
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You can do an undergraduate degree that leads to qualified teacher status (QTS), for example:
- Bachelor of Education (BEd)
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) with QTS
- Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS
You can also complete a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE), if you have a first degree without QTS. This can be done at university or on a school-based training programme.
There are more training options if you want to change career or specialise in teaching certain subjects.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
- funding for teacher training
- postgraduate teacher training courses
You can get into this career through a postgraduate teaching apprenticeship, if you have a degree and want to teach in a secondary school.
You’ll usually need:
- GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths
- a degree for a teaching apprenticeship
You could start as a teaching assistant or learning mentor and do a part-time degree. You could then move onto a postgraduate teaching course to qualify as a teacher.
Volunteering and experience
You’ll find it helpful to get some experience of working with young people though this is not essential. You can do this through paid work or by volunteering at a school, doing youth work or helping on a holiday scheme.
- you’ll usually need qualified teacher status (QTS) to teach in a state school in England
You can do a subject knowledge enhancement course to improve your understanding of the subject you want to teach.
You can also attend teacher training events before you apply to get advice about the profession, the different training routes and funding. You can attend events in person and online.
You can discover more about how to become a teacher from Get Into Teaching.
You can also search for jobs through the Teaching Vacancies service.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
- leadership skills
- to be flexible and open to change
- excellent verbal communication skills
- maths knowledge
- administration skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
- plan lessons and prepare teaching materials
- set up the classroom, organise displays and resources
- teach whole class lessons, work with small groups and do practical activities
- direct the work of learning support and teaching assistants
- mark and assess pupils’ work
- provide a safe and healthy environment and follow safeguarding procedures
- update records, take registers and write reports
- talk to parents and carers about their children’s progress
You might also:
- work with other professionals like education psychologists, careers advisers, counsellors and social workers
- attend meetings and training
- organise subject outings, after school clubs, exam revision classes or school social activities
You could work at a school, at a college, at a pupil referral unit or at a special needs school.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
Career path and progression
You can take on extra responsibilities, such as supporting pupils with additional needs, departmental or careers leadership, or pastoral support. You may receive extra pay allowances to do this.
With experience, you could become a specialist leader of education, supporting teachers in other schools. You could also be a curriculum leader, head of year, deputy head or headteacher.
You can work for an exam board, a local education authority, in further education, or with a gallery or museum as an education officer. You can also work freelance as a private tutor.
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