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How to become a Secondary School Teacher

What does a Secondary School Teacher do?

Secondary school teachers teach children from the ages of 11 to 18 (Year 7 to Year 13 in England and Wales, S1 to S6 in Scotland, and Year 8 to Year 14 in Northern Ireland). You’ll plan lessons and assess work based on standards set out in the curriculum (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland all have their own specific curriculum requirements). Communication skills and excellent literacy and numeracy skills are essential for this role.

What do Secondary School Teachers typically earn?

A Secondary School Teacher will earn £22,917 to £33,824 on average. There are factors that will influence the amount you earn, such as how much experience you have. Generally, the longer you have been teaching, the more you can expect to earn.

Where you work can also affect your salary, for example, teachers in London will often be on a higher salary than their counterparts in the regions because of higher living costs.

How do I get started as a Secondary School Teacher?

To teach in a UK state school as a Secondary School Teacher, you must have qualified teacher status (QTS). You can get QTS by taking:

BA (Hons) degree or BSc (Hons) degree with QTS

Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree course

If you have obtained a degree you can get a £26,000 training bursary and train through a postgraduate teacher training course. To get onto a postgraduate training course, you must have grades A* to C in English and Maths and have passed the professional skills tests.

The postgraduate training course can be a school-led course or university-led course. As the names suggest, a school-led course involves training in a school and learning from experienced teachers, whereas a university-led course involves training in an university or college. Most school-led and university-led courses will include a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).

The route you choose will be dependent on whether you want to work in a school or university. So it’s worth thinking carefully about where you see yourself working in the long term.

What key skills do I need to become a Secondary School Teacher?

One of the most important skills to have is patience, as at some point you will deal with challenging students. You will also need excellent communication skills if you want to be a Secondary School Teacher. This is because as well as dealing with students; you will be speaking with their parents at parents’ evenings.

Other skills which Teachers need include good organisational skills, strong planning skills and exemplary written abilities. Make sure you show these abilities on your teaching CV when applying for your next role.

More Information:

For more information, advice and guidance about careers in PE, Sport, Training and Fitness and Activity Holiday Jobs, visit our Careers Advice Centre; including job hunting tips,  CV Guide and much more.

Useful Links:

For more information on how to Get into teaching visit the Department for Education.

For more info about how to gain QTS please visit the Department of Education and the  National College for Teaching & Leadership

Visit UCAS to investigate and apply for relevant PE teaching courses, and PGCEs at University.

The Association of Physical Education is the national subject association for PE.

The National Union for Teachers are the major teaching union and can provide you with professional support and guidance throughout your career in teaching.

For information about temporary and supply work, please see the video in the link below:

Thinking about Returning to Teaching after a Career break?  

Schools are often keen to employ qualified teachers who have returned to teaching as they can often bring additional skills, experiences and perspectives to the school environment.  If you are considering returning to teaching there is a lot of help, advice and resources available from Dept of Education’s Get into Teaching – Returning to Teaching website.