How do I become a Secondary School Teacher?

How do I become a Secondary School Teacher?

Secondary school teachers are responsible for educating pupils from ages 11-18. They provide instruction in a particular subject in which they are skilled and knowledgeable. The job involves planning and delivering lessons, exam preparation, setting and marking homework, providing feedback, behavioural management and much more.

Becoming a qualified secondary school teacher

If you want to become a teacher in England and Wales you need to gain Qualified Teacher Status. By undertaking an Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programme, you can achieve QTS. The course usually takes one year to complete and may be provided in school or at university. On completion of the course, assuming that you meet the required standards, you will become a newly qualified teacher (NQT) and be able to move forward to undertake your induction year.

While there are different routes to applying for a teacher training programme, the most common is to do so via the Department for England's 'Apply for teacher training' service. The courses become available each year in the autumn prior to the course start date.

Entry requirements to be accepted onto a teacher training course

To get onto a teacher training course you’ll need the following qualifications:

  • A university degree (or equivalent) where a 2:2 or above has been awarded. The degree subject must be in, or relevant to, your chosen teaching subject. If this isn’t the case, you may be able to undertake a subject enhancement course to sharpen your skills and prove your knowledge and expertise in the area to future potential employees.
  • A minimum of GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent in English and maths. Some training providers will allow equivalency tests if you haven’t achieved these qualifications. Contact the specific training provider to check on a case by case basis.
  • To have a DBS check and declare any past criminal convictions.

Subject Knowledge Enhancement Courses

If you haven’t got a degree qualification in the subject you want to teach, or you are concerned that your knowledge isn’t as thorough or advanced as you’d like it to be, you might want to explore the possibility of taking a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course.

A school or university may ask you to take this course before accepting you into their teacher training programme. This might be the case if you have a different (but related) degree to the subject you hope to teach, if you only have an A-level in your chosen subject, you don’t have a related degree but do have some relevant experience or simply achieved your degree a long time ago and need to refresh your subject knowledge.

Completing a course may be a condition of your offer of a place on the course.

SKE courses in England are usually taught via online platforms and sometimes it’s possible to do them alongside your teacher training course.

Other skills you’ll need as a secondary school teacher

While achieving the above qualifications is how you will be able to apply for secondary school teacher jobs, you’ll also need to be able to demonstrate a variety of other desirable traits that will prove your commitment and passion to teaching and show that you have the personality and skills required to make a good teacher. Being able to demonstrate that you are an effective communicator, highly organised, confident, passionate about educating others and adept in conflict resolution will also enhance your application when you come to apply for teaching roles and give you the best chance of landing your dream job.

Apply for teaching jobs with Horizon teachers

Once you’ve qualified as a teacher, we are here to help you find the perfect teaching role! Get in touch with our experienced team, browse our jobs, and learn about the training we offer too!