Secondary School Teacher

Job Description:

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

Job Category:

What you will do:

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • prepare teaching materials, set up the classroom and organise displays
  • plan and teach lessons and work with small groups of students
  • mark work and talk to parents and carers about their children’s progress
  • manage the work of teaching assistants
  • follow safeguarding procedures and work with careers advisers, counsellors, education psychologists and social workers
  • organise trips, after school clubs or exam revision classes
  • work and attend meetings and training outside of usual working hours

Working environment

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

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Secondary School Teacher, here are the subjects that are generally considered important:

  1. English Language: This is usually a mandatory requirement as strong communication skills are crucial for teaching.
  2. Mathematics: Many teacher training programs require a qualification in Mathematics due to its importance in the curriculum.
  3. Science: Depending on the subject you want to teach, having a qualification in a science subject (Biology, Chemistry, or Physics) can be beneficial.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): In the modern educational landscape, having a basic understanding of ICT is advantageous.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


Undergraduate degree:

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

Postgraduate certificate:

If you already have a bachelor’s degree without qualified teacher status, you can complete a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). This can be done at university or through a training programme based in a school.

You do not always need to have a degree in the subject you’d like to teach. Your teacher training organisation will decide whether you have the required skills and knowledge to teach the subject.

You can sometimes do a subject knowledge enhancement course to improve your understanding of the subject you want to teach.

More teacher training options:

There are more training options if you want to change career or specialise in teaching certain subjects.


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 might find it helpful to get some experience of working with young people.

You could volunteer at a school, do youth work or work on a holiday scheme.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-45 hours of work during term time. You could be required to work evenings attending events or appointments.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could:

  • become a special educational needs teacher, further education teacher or move into pastoral care
  • become a specialist leader of education and support teachers in other schools
  • move up to be a curriculum leader, head of year, deputy head or headteacher
  • work for an exam board, local education authority or work in a gallery or museum as an education officer
  • work freelance as a private tutor