Teacher - Secondary School

Education and training

Career outlook for teacher - secondary school

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You’d inspire and motivate young people to study and learn. You’d help them get the knowledge, skills and attributes they’ll need for a successful and positive life when they leave school.

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.

You would specialise in one or two subjects and teach these to students of different ages and abilities. You’d prepare young people to take the National Qualifications and Highers in your subjects.

There is national guidance for Curriculum for Excellence 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
  • 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.

Sometimes you would 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


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.


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.


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

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Supporting
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Empathising
  • Respecting
  • Social conscience
  • Ethical
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Motivating others

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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.


You will need either a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree (SCQF level 9/10) in the subject or subjects you wish to teach or you can apply with any relevant degree to a PGDE - Professional Graduate Diploma in Education - (SCQF level 11).

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

If you are applying to a PGDE (SCQF level 11) you will need good academic grades and a degree.

To enter this job you must have completed degree level study or above gaining at least 80 SCQF credit points in the subject you wish to teach. There is a lot of competition for places in courses.

Further details on specific requirements for core secondary subjects are available from General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland).

Useful subjects

Most courses require Higher English (SCQF level 6) and National 5 maths (SCQF level 5).

Subjects related to the topic you wish to teach and social studies subjects such as psychology will also be of value.

You will also need

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

Once you are qualified and want to teach in local council schools you must complete a probationary period to demonstrate that you meet the Standard for Full Registration of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC Scotland).

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show:

  • the ability to work with children or young people
  • communication skills
  • experience related to the subject or subjects you wish to teach

You will be expected to support literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing alongside the subject or subjects you apply to teach.