Secondary school teacher - English

Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would inspire and motivate young people to learn how to express themselves, and communicate well with other people through speech and writing.

You would teach young people from 11 to 18 years old, in state and independent schools. You might also work in a college or learning centre.

As an English teacher you’d help your pupils develop their language and literacy skills in listening and talking, reading and writing. You’d help them read and enjoy literature and create their own texts.

You’d teach students of different ages and abilities and prepare young people to take the National Qualifications and Highers in this subject.

There is national guidance for Curriculum for Excellence Literacy and English and National Qualifications, which you would use when planning your teaching.

You would:

  • Prepare lessons and teaching materials
  • Assess students’ progress and mark their work
  • Set homework
  • Manage classroom behaviour
  • Discuss students' progress with parents and carers
  • Organise study trips, social activities and sports events.

You’d encourage the students to take pride in their achievements inside and outside school. You’d support them to build good relationships with other students and teachers and play a positive part in the life of the school and the local community.

You’d help them get the knowledge, skills and attributes they’ll need for a successful and positive life when they leave school.Sometimes you will need to deal with challenging behaviour. It may be difficult to get some teenagers to study so you’d need to be imaginative and enthusiastic to keep them interested.

You’d need to attend meetings and training courses. You’d work closely with colleagues to plan the school’s timetables, and work with other professionals, such as education psychologists and social workers.

Working conditions

Hours

Teaching takes place for 39 weeks a year, usually from 9am to 3.30pm or 4pm. You are likely to spend several more hours outside of these times, planning lessons, marking pupils' work and taking part in activities such as outings, parent evenings and training.

Environment

Secondary school teachers often have a base classroom. However, from time to time they may have to carry books and equipment from room to room. This is subject to the space available in each school.

Travel

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

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Explaining things
  • Working as part of a team
  • Helping people to learn
  • Working on your own
  • Being creative
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You will need either a Professional Education (Secondary) degree in English Studies (SCQF level 9/10) or you can apply with any relevant degree to a PGDE - Professional Graduate Diploma in Education - in English (SCQF level 11). Alternatively, you can apply to an MSc in Transformative Learning and Teaching (SCQF level 11), a two year post-graduate programme which includes registration with the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS).

To enter a Professional Education (secondary) and English Studies degree (SCQF level 9/10) you usually require National 5 qualifications and at least four Highers at B or above, or a relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in areas such as social studies. Some courses will require that you gain a minimum number of Highers in one sitting, usually before the end of S5, if this is not achieved they will want to see the minimum plus additional Highers by the end of S6.

If you are applying to a PGDE (SCQF level 11) or MSc in Transformative Learning and Teaching, you will usually need National 5 qualifications, Highers and a relevant degree. You may also consider a dual qualification to become qualified to teach two different subject areas in schools, such as History and English, you would need credit points relating to the two subjects you wished to study.

To enter this job applicants must have completed degree level study or above gaining at least 80 SCQF credit points in English, at least 40 of these credit points must be in English or Scottish Literature.

Useful subjects

  • Higher English (required) 
  • National 5 Maths (required)
  • Social studies subjects such as Psychology
  • Religious, moral and philosophical subjects
  • Care subjects such as Childcare and Development

A wide variety of subjects could be of value, especially if you're interested in teaching more than one subject. 

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate the ability to work with children or young people, and written and verbal communication skills will be helpful.

You'll be expected to support literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing as well as your own subject.