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Secondary school teacher High school teacher, secondary school tutor

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Secondary school teachers educate young people aged 11 to 16, and up to age 19 in schools with sixth forms.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £23,720 to £61,005 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 per week

1. Entry requirements

To become a secondary school teacher you'll need:

Although not essential, you'll find it useful to have some school experience to support your application.

Find out more about how to get started from Get into Teaching

Postgraduate teacher training

If you've already got a degree, you can complete a postgraduate training  course led by a school or a university. This includes at least 24 weeks school experience, while you work towards qualified teacher status (QTS). Courses usually last 1 year, although part-time courses are possible.

You could get a tax-free £26,000 bursary, Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan to support you while you train. It's also possible to earn a salary while you train.

Find out funding for teacher training from Get into Teaching.

Undergraduate teacher training

If you haven't got a degree, you can get QTS alongside a first degree. You'd need to take a:

  • BA (Hons) degree
  • BSc (Hons) degree with QTS
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree course

Find out about undergraduate teacher training from Get into Teaching.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to inspire and motivate
  • the ability to manage classes and deal with challenging behaviour
  • creativity to design activities and materials
  • IT, organisational and planning skills

3. What you'll do

Most teaching jobs are in state schools and academies, but you could also work in independent schools, pupil referral units and hospitals. You could also register with an agency to provide ‘supply’ cover for other teachers.

You'll teach at key stage 3 (ages 11 to 14) and key stage 4 (ages 15 to 16). You may also teach in a sixth form (ages 16 to 19).

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • planning and preparing lessons
  • teaching your specialist subject
  • creating a safe learning environment
  • setting and marking essays and exams
  • checking students’ progress
  • developing new courses and teaching materials
  • classroom administration and record keeping
  • attending meetings and training courses

4. Salary

Starter: £23,720 to £35,008 (up to £40,372 inner London)

Experienced: £36,646 to £39,406 (up to £48,244 inner London)

Highly Experienced: £40,162 to £61,005 (up to £68,652 inner London)

Your salary will depend on your location, responsibilities, seniority and class size.

Get Into Teaching has more details about salaries.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 37 hours a week for 39 weeks a year, split over 3 terms.

You'll also spend extra hours planning lessons, marking work and taking part in activities like outings, parents’ evenings and training.

6. Career path and progression

You could specialise in teaching pupils with special educational needs. You might also move into pastoral care.

With experience you could become a specialist leader of education (SLE), supporting teachers in other schools.

You could also progress to curriculum leader, head of year, deputy head and headteacher.

You could work for an exam board or a local education authority. Other options are to work as an education officer with a gallery or museum, or move into private tuition.

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Last updated: 14 November 2018