Teacher (secondary): job description

Teacher (secondary): job description

Secondary school teachers educate children between the ages of 11 and 18 in a national curriculum subject area.
Anyone wishing to teach in the state-maintained sector must gain qualified teacher status (QTS).

What does a secondary school teacher do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Typical responsibilities include:

  • lesson planning and preparation
  • contact time with pupils
  • checking and assessing work
  • attending staff meetings
  • liaising with parents
  • monitoring playground and extracurricular activities
  • ongoing professional development

Secondary teaching, although very rewarding, can be a stressful and exhausting occupation.

Typical employers of secondary school teachers

Secondary teachers are employed within state-maintained and private schools or sixth form colleges.

Teaching vacancies are advertised in local authority jobs lists, the Times Educational Supplement, The Guardian, local newspapers and their online equivalents. Teaching posts may also be advertised on local council online job boards.

Qualifications and training required

Anyone wishing to teach in the state-maintained sector must gain qualified teacher status (QTS) either by taking an education degree, an undergraduate degree followed by a PGCE (Postgraduate or Professional Graduate Certificate in Education), School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT), or employment-based School Direct training programmes. In Wales only, you can apply to train on the job through the Graduate Teacher Programme.

All candidates must have GCSEs (grades A-C) in English and maths. Early applications for PGCE places to the GTTR (Graduate Teacher Training Registry) are advisable during the first term of your final year at university. Degree discipline studied must meet set criteria for National Curriculum relevance for the subject you wish to teach. A science, technology or maths degree can be advantageous, as there are shortages of people with these backgrounds entering the profession.

You can also apply to become a teacher through the Teach First programme if you have a 2.1 or better in a relevant subject, 300 UCAS points and a minimum of a grade C in maths and English at GCSE.

For those who have not yet started university, read about how to get into teaching and education in the teaching section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for secondary school teachers

  • Enthusiasm
  • Imagination
  • Commitment
  • Energy
  • Discipline

You will also be required to pass a disclosure and barring services check.