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Career Spotlights ~ Teacher
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Basic Info
  • Hours: 39 per week
  • Starting salary: £21,588 + per year

As a secondary school teacher you would be helping prepare young people for a fulfilling life after school. You would also have plenty of opportunities to develop your career. To be a secondary school teacher you will need to have excellent communication skills. You will be able to develop good working relationships with a wide range of people. You'll also need patience and a good sense of humour. Before you can start teacher training you need GCSE's in English and Maths or equivalent qualifications. You will also need clearence by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The Work

Your work would be in state or independent schools, teaching children aged 11 - 16, or up to 19 in schools with sixth forms.

Your work could include:

  • Specialise in teaching one or two subjects
  • Teach classes of different ages and abilities throughout the school
  • Prepare pupils for exams like GSCE's and A Levels
  • Prepare lessons and teaching material
  • Mark and assess work
  • Manage class behaviour
  • Work with other professionals such as education psychologists
  • Discuss pupils' progress with parents and carers
  • Attend meetings and training
  • Organise outings, social activities and sports events

Teaching is for 39 weeks a year, usually from 9am to 3:30pm or 4pm. Outside of these hours you will be planning lessons, marking pupils' work and taking part in activities such as outings, parent eveenings and training.

You could also do supply teaching where you work in different schools for short periods to cover the absences of permanent teachers


The main salary scale is from £21,588 to £31,552 a year (£27,000 to £36,387 in innder London and £25,117 to £35,116 in outer London).

Teachers who reach the top of the main salary scale may be able to move on to a higher scale, ranging from £34,181 to £36,756 (£40,288 to £43,692 in inner London).

There are also seperate scales for teachers who have advanced skills or progress into leadership roles, and additional payments for those who take on extra responsibilities.

Entry Requirements

The most commmon way to becom a secondary school teacher is to do Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The following ITT routes lead to QTS:

  • Undergraduate degree
  • Postgraduate award
  • Work-based programme

For all of these routes, you will need:

  • GCSE's (A*-C) in English and Maths (and science, depending on your teaching subject) or equivalent qualifications
  • Passes in Numeracy and Literacy skills test (Before starting ITT)
  • Enhanced background checks by the Disclouse and Barring Service (DBS) - Formerly the Criminial Records Bureau
Training and Development

When you have completed your ITT course, you will need to successfully complete three terms in a teaching job before you are fully qualified. During this time you would be supported by a mentor.

Throughout your teaching career you will also need to continue training to keep up to date with new methods and ideas in education. You could do this by attending training day in school and local authority training workshops

Skills and Knowledge

As a secondary school teacher you will need:

  • Enthusiasm for the subjects you teach
  • The ability to develop good working relationships with a wide range of people
  • The ability to work in a team as well as use your own initiative
  • Excellent creative ideas to inspire children
  • Good organistional and time-management skills
  • The ability to manage classes and deal with challenging behaviour
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Patience and a good sense of humour

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