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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: £22,917 to £67,305 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 per week

1. Entry requirements

To become a secondary school teacher you'll need qualified teacher status (QTS). You can get QTS by taking a:

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

UCAS has information about degree courses and entry requirements

If you already have a degree, you can get a tax-free £26,000 training bursary, and train through a postgraduate teacher training course. This could be a school-led or university-led course. To get onto a postgraduate course, you'll also need:

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

If you’ve left the armed forces and you don't have a degree, you may be able to train on the Troops to Teachers course.

You can apply for student finance to cover fees and living costs. You may also be able to get a salary, bursary or scholarship.

Get Into Teaching has more information.

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: £22,917 to £33,824 (up to £39,006 inner London)

Experienced: £35,927 to £38,633 (up to £47,298 inner London)

Highly Experienced: £39,374 to £59,857 (up to £67,305 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: 02 April 2018