How to become a secondary school teacher

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Teaching is a challenging but rewarding career choice. We know that great teaching changes lives and if you want to have an impact on our future generation, here is a quick introduction about how to become a secondary teacher.

 Author: Beth Hartwell, Director of Initial Teacher Training, Secondary



The dos and don’ts when considering a career in teaching:

DO engage with your local schools. Are they involved in a teacher training programme?

DO register with the GetIntoTeaching website, you will be assigned a personal advisor who is an experienced teaching professional.

DO try and visit a secondary school or sign up to the school experience programme.

DO choose a subject which you have a clear passion to teach. Look at your degree qualifications and A-levels; if you need to enhance your subject knowledge, there are subject knowledge enhancement programmes available.

DO explore if you will be eligible for a bursary to support you financially during your training year.

DON’T think that you are too young or too old to become a teacher. We need people who love working with young people and are passionate about helping them to achieve their potential.

DON’T be put off by people talking about high workload, there are strategies that you can use to minimise workload.


What qualifications do I need to become a secondary teacher?

To train to become a secondary teacher in England you must have*:

  • A minimum 2:2 honours degree from an approved university or other institution granting equivalent qualifications accepted by the Department for Education.
  • If your degree is not relevant to the subject you wish to teach, a subject knowledge enhancement programme may be available.
  • All applicants require GCSE grade C/4 in English Language and Mathematics.
  • Pass the professional skills test before starting on the ITT programme.

*this is relevant for the majority of providers in England.


What are ITT providers looking for?

  • Resilience One of the most important attributes for a teacher today is resilience. Teaching is a challenging yet rewarding career.  Those who are successful tend to be emotionally intelligent and able to withstand or recover quickly when challenged.
  • Communication skills It is no surprise that we are looking for people with excellent communication skills, particularly able to effectively communicate with and engage young people.
  • Reflective practitioners – It is important to be or become a reflective practitioner. The most effective teachers are those who can correctly evaluate their work and its impact on young people.
  • Teaching as a vocation – Teaching is not a ‘9-5’ occupation.  If you aren’t sure or are not completely committed, you shouldn’t apply.  We are looking for people who love working with young people and are passionate about helping them to achieve their potential.
  • Team player – Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that teaching is a solitary role – one person in a classroom, working alone.  This is not the case and it’s important to be able to work effectively with colleagues and to be keen to share good practice.
  • Potential to Teach – We are looking for student teachers with an enthusiasm to teach their subject to pupils in the secondary age range and who have some recent knowledge and understanding of secondary school.

How do I apply to become a teacher?

Applications for all ITT programme in England (except TeachFirst programmes) are submitted via the UCAS website.

Contact us

If you would like more information on training to teach with EborHope Teaching Schools Alliance you can read more on our website or email to book a School Experience day with us.