PE Teacher

Job Description:

Physical education (PE) teachers work in secondary schools and colleges, teaching sport and fitness to young people.

Job Category:

What you will do:

You’ll work in state or independent schools and colleges, including free schools, academies, sixth forms and the further education sector.

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • preparing lessons and teaching materials
  • teaching classes of different ages and abilities, and adapting lessons so everyone can take part
  • managing class behaviour
  • arranging matches with other schools and colleges
  • setting and marking homework and assignments and preparing for exams
  • attending meetings and training
  • talking to parents and carers about students’ progress
  • attending general school events like open days and social activities


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses (creativity)
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition)
  • be able to motivate and inspire pupils of all abilities to take part and learn new skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • leadership skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

School Subject

Although specific subjects may vary by region, having GCSEs in the following areas can be helpful:

  1. Physical Education: Having a GCSE in PE demonstrates your interest and foundation in the subject.
  2. Sciences: Subjects like Biology or Human Biology can be beneficial for understanding the body’s anatomy and physiology, which is relevant in PE.
  3. English Language: Strong communication skills are essential for teaching.

After completing your GCSEs, you will typically need to pursue further education, such as A Levels or equivalent qualifications. Relevant subjects include Physical Education, Sports Science, Biology, Psychology, or any other subject that aligns with your interests and supports your teaching aspirations.

Tertiary Education

The most common way to become a PE teacher is to do Initial Teacher Education or Training (ITET) and gain qualified teacher status (QTS).

Your ITET route could be one of the following:

  • university-led training through an undergraduate degree or postgraduate award
  • school-led work-based training

For either route, you’ll need:

  • to have studied subjects, such as English and maths (and science, if you teach in middle schools)
  • passes (before starting ITET) in numeracy and literacy skills tests
  • an enhanced background check which your employer will arrange for you

You’ll also need experience of working with young people through paid work or volunteering at a school, through youth work or on a holiday scheme.

If you’re a PE or sports graduate who’s gained some experience in secondary schools during your degree, you may be able to get into teaching by working as a sports coach in a school, then moving on to a teacher training programme. You’ll need coaching awards in your specialist sports.


Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually teach during school term between 9am and 4pm, but start and finish times can vary. Outside of teaching hours, you’ll also be expected to spend time marking, preparing lessons, attending meetings, training, and attending school matches.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could become a leading practitioner, supporting other teachers while working with your own classes.

You could also progress to curriculum leader or head of department, then deputy or assistant headteacher or assistant principal.