Teacher (Secondary)


Secondary school teachers teach children from 11 to 16, or up to 19 in schools with sixth forms.

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.

Entry Requirements

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



You can get into this career through a postgraduate teaching apprenticeship, if you have a degree and want to teach in a secondary school.

Entry Requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths
  • a degree for a teaching apprenticeship


Working towards the Role

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’ll need the following skills:

  • 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


You’ll usually need qualified teacher status (QTS) to teach in a state school in England.

You will need to pass enhanced background checks.

You could work at a school, at a college, at a pupil referral unit or at a special needs school.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • planning lessons and preparing teaching materials
  • setting up the classroom, organising displays and resources
  • teaching whole class lessons, working with small groups and doing practical activities
  • directing the work of learning support and teaching assistants
  • marking and assessing pupils’ work
  • providing a safe and healthy environment and following safeguarding procedures
  • updating records, taking registers and writing reports
  • talking 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 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.

The following salaries are a guide only:

  • Starter: £24,373
  • Experienced: £41,419


Working Conditions

  • You may work evenings attending events or appointments
  • Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.



Further Information 

Next Steps SW
Get into Teaching


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