Job type

Secondary school teacher

£25k - £41k

Typical salary

37 – 40

Hours per week

Secondary school teachers educate children aged 11 to 16, or up to age 19 in schools with sixth forms.

More info

  • Educate children aged 11 to 16, or up to age 19 in schools with sixth forms
  • You'll need the ability to inspire and motivate, IT, organisational and planning skills
  • You could specialise in teaching pupils with special educational needs

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 your specialist subject at key stage 3 (ages 11 to 14) and key stage 4 (ages 15 to 16). You may also teach young people in a sixth form (ages 16 to 19).


  • Plan and prepare lessons
  • Set and mark essays and exams
  • Check students' progress
  • Develop new courses and teach materials
  • Attend meetings and training courses
  • Talk to parents and carers about their children's progress
  • Organise outings, school social activities and sporting events


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

You'll need

This role would be ideal for someone with the ability to inspire and motivate, IT, organisational and planning skills, creativity to design activities and materials, the ability to manage classes and deal with challenging behaviour.

To become a secondary school teacher, you'll need: GCSEs in English and maths, or equivalent qualifications, passes in numeracy and literacy skills tests, some school experience to support your application, and enhanced background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

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 or 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 is a common choice and 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 can also get into this career through one of a small number of postgraduate teaching apprenticeships, if you have a degree and want to teach in a secondary school.

Alternatively, 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.

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'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.


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 could teach pupils with special educational needs, move into further education or work in pastoral care. There are options to work for an exam board, a local education authority, or gallery or museum, as an education officer. You could also work freelance as a private tutor.