Secondary school teacher

Secondary school teachers educate young people aged 11 to 16, and up to age 19 in schools with sixth forms.

Annual Salary

£22,917 to £67,305

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours


Future employment

There will be 4% more Secondary school teacher jobs in 2023.
In your local area

What's it all about?

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

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • planning and preparing lessons
  • setting and marking essays and exams
  • developing new courses and teaching materials
  • updating records
  • attending meetings and training courses
  • talking to parents and carers about their children's progress
  • organising outings, school social activities and sporting events

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 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'll usually need:

  • GCSEs in English and maths at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C)
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course


You can 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.

You'll usually need:

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

More information


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.

Volunteering and experience

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.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

If you’ve left the armed forces and you don't have a degree, you may be able to train on the Troops to Teachers course.

You can apply for student finance to cover fees and living costs. You may also be able to get a salary, bursary or scholarship.

Get Into Teaching has more information.

£22,917 to £67,305

Starter salary: £22,917 to £33,824 (up to £39,006 inner London)

Experienced salary: £35,927 to £38,633 (up to £47,298 inner London)

Your salary will depend on your location, responsibilities, seniority and class size.

Get Into Teaching has more details about salaries.

These figures are a guide.


You'll usually work 37 hours a week for 39 weeks a year, split over 3 terms.

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

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.

You could also progress to curriculum leader, head of year, deputy head and headteacher.

You could work for an exam board or a local education authority. Other options are to work as an education officer with a gallery or museum, or move into private tuition.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • 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
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of English language
  • maths knowledge
  • leadership skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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