Secondary school teachers teach children from the ages of 11 to 18.

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 I need to do to become a secondary school teacher?

To teach in a UK state school, you’ll need to a have a degree, and a recognised teaching qualification. There are a number of routes you can take to become a secondary school teacher.

You could follow an undergraduate Initial Teacher Education or Training (ITET) programme, such as a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree. This is generally a popular route for prospective primary school teachers, but some universities do offer secondary-level BEd programmes for some specialisms.

Alternatively, you could do a degree – this could be in a subject you wish to specialise in like maths, science, or English – then take a postgraduate teacher training programme, such as a PGCE or PGDE. You must have a degree in the subject you have chosen to teach (or a closely related one).

To get into university, you will need to have completed courses like GCSEs, Nationals, A levels, Highers, the International Baccalaureate, or Cambridge Pre-Us. You will also need to pass a police criminal records, or Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), check.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Discipline
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Leadership
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Organisation
  • Patience
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Related subjects

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business studies
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Design technology
  • Drama, music, and performing arts
  • English
  • Food technology
  • Foreign languages
  • Geography
  • History
  • Maths
  • Media studies
  • Physical education
  • Physics
  • Religious studies

Essential qualifications

  • Undergraduate education degree
  • OR undergraduate degree AND a PGCE/PGDE
  • DBS or police records check

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You could be working in an independent school or a state school. School and classroom sizes vary depending on where you are in the country.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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