Teachers help children and young people to develop their abilities
and achieve their full potential. They can choose to teach a particular
age group, and this determines the type of school they work in and the
subjects they teach. The age groups are:
• Nursery and primary school nursery classes
(three to five year olds) - teachers usually take their class for all
• Primary (5 to 11 year olds in England and Wales, or 5 to 12
teachers teach most subjects to the same class.
• Secondary (11 to 16 year olds in England and Wales, or 12 to
16 in Scotland – this is 11 to 19 if the school has a sixth form,
12 to 18 in Scotland) – teachers usually teach only one or two
subjects to different classes.
As well as teaching in class, teachers also spend a lot of time planning
and preparing lessons, setting and marking homework and exams, writing
reports and organising trips and events.
Teachers work 39 weeks a year in school. The school day varies, but
is usually between the hours of 8.45am to 3.40pm. Teachers often work
outside school hours.
In state schools in England and Wales, salaries range from £18,558
for teachers starting out, to £96,450 for headteachers of a large
secondary school in inner London. In Scotland, salaries range from £18,522
for teachers starting out, to £71,310 for experienced headteachers.
A school teacher should:
• be passionate about their subject and keep up to date with
• be committed to teaching, as it can be very challenging
• be able to involve and motivate pupils
• be well prepared and have strong organisational skills
• enjoy working with children and young people.
The demand for teachers has been rising, but a fall in the number of
school-age children may affect demand in the coming years.
The route to qualifying as a teacher in England and Wales is through
an Initial Teacher Training (ITT) course to obtain Qualified Teacher
Status (QTS). In Scotland the route is through an Initial Teacher Education
(ITE) course to obtain a Teaching Qualification (TQ). The main ways
of training are:
• a first degree course leading to QTS/TQ - three to four-and-a-half
years full time
• a first degree followed by a Postgraduate Certificate of Education
(PGCE) - a one-year full-time course (funding may be available for this
There are good opportunities for promotion, either through taking on
management responsibility or through progression to advanced skills
teacher status (principal teacher or chartered teacher status in Scotland).