What is Secondary School teaching?

Secondary school teachers educate pupils aged 11 to 18. They teach national curriculum subjects at key stages 3 and 4. Teachers at this level plan and deliver lessons in line with national objectives, and support, observe and record the progress of their pupils. At secondary level teachers normally specialise in teaching a subject or perhaps a couple of subjects. The Get into Teaching website explains more about the subjects you might want to teach at secondary level. For an overview of what to expect and the responsibilities as a Secondary Teacher, take a look at Prospects’ Secondary School Teacher profile .

What do you need to be a Secondary School teacher?

The requirements for becoming a Secondary School Teacher align with those outlined earlier in this guide for becoming a Primary School Teacher. In addition you will need a degree in the subject you have chosen to teach (or a closely related one), however, there are options if training providers recognise your potential as a teacher, but your degree is not in the subject you wish to teach. A Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course may be available, there is more information about this option on the Get Into Teaching website.

The requirements for Teach First are available on their 'Eligibility Requirements' web page.

Getting experience

The information in the Primary Teaching section of this guide around getting experience is equally applicable if you are wanting to teach at secondary level. 

MyCareer’s Volunteering listings may include opportunities to work with young people in various settings.

A programme of paid work experience is accessible to highly valuable STEM undergraduates through teaching internships. Normally these take place between June and July and last four weeks, and are aimed primarily at undergraduates interested in teaching secondary maths or physics and in their penultimate year of a STEM-related degree. Applications should be made directly to participating schools, further details and information is available through the Get into Teaching website.

Training routes

Again, training routes to become a Secondary School Teacher are similar to those suggested for Primary School teachers in this guide. The information on TargetJobs’ How do you train to become a teacher is an informative overview of the different routes. You may also find the links in the Primary Teaching Training routes section of this guide helpful.

The Teach First web page provides information on the content of their secondary teaching training programme.

The University of Portsmouth’s School of Education and Sociology currently offers PGCE courses in Computer Science, English, Geography, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, and Science.


The information in this section is based on information from the 2020/21 academic year and should be used as guidance only for funding that may be available in 2021/22. Check the sources linked in the content below regularly for updated details as figures are subject to change.

Get Into Teaching’s Bursaries and Scholarships web page provides detail on the various bursaries available depending on the subject you wish to teach at secondary school level.

Details of salary and benefits on the Teach First programme are available on their webpage.

Application process

Please see the Primary Teaching section of this guide for guidance and links to information about applying for secondary teacher training.

Once again, the DfE’s Teaching Adviser and Early Engagement Adviser programmes offer tailored support whilst you consider and apply for teacher training at secondary level.

Applications for Teach First Secondary should be made online direct to Teach First, more information about the selection and application process is available here: Teach First - Application Process.

Getting a job once qualified

You can return to the Primary Teaching section of this guide for guidance and links to useful information about how to approach finding your first post as a secondary school teacher. General information on how to get a teaching job and how to apply for them is also available on Prospects and Targetjobs.