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How to become a physical education teacher

There are many ways in which you can become a physical education teacher in the UK. Here, we will only focus on one common way in which to teach sports in a secondary school.

Work activities

A physical education teacher will teach physical education as a national curriculum subject to pupils aged between 11 and 16, or up to the age of 19, if teaching in schools with sixth forms attached. Physical education teachers plan PE lessons and activities according to the national objectives. Teachers encourage, monitor and record the progression of the pupils in their classes. Up-to-date Sports education teachers must be prepared to keep up with developments in their subject area. Physical education teachers liaise and network with colleagues, external sports professionals, parents and carers.

Qualifications

To work as a physical education teacher in a secondary school, an individual must first undertake an undergraduate degree in physical education. In order to enter onto a degree course, a prospective physical education teacher must possess at least a grade C in English and Maths at GCSE level. Prospective students on degree courses will also require A levels or the equivalent. Universities vary in their entry requirements. However, biology and physical education are likely to provide students with an adequate knowledge base to embark on a physical education degree course. A degree course will typically last for three years full-time. Following completion of their undergraduate degree, a prospective teacher must enrol on a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) course. This will provide them with the practical and theoretical skills required to teach secondary education in schools. This degree course lasts for one year full-time and students are required to spend time in a suitable work placement during their course. On completion of a PGCE, an individual can achieve Qualified Teaching Status (QTS).

Salary and working conditions

A newly qualified physical education teacher (NQT) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive a starting salary at £21,588 per year. Salaries can rise to £31,552 per year for more experienced physical education teachers. In Scotland, salaries start at £19,997 and can rise to £34,200 per year. Salaries will vary depending on location. Teachers work for 39 weeks in the year. Working hours vary between schools. Teachers are required to prepare for their PE lessons, write progress reports and assess homework at home. Physical education teachers may be expected to supervise extra-curricular sports activities.

Job prospects

In England and Wales, an experienced physical education teacher can become advanced skills teacher. In this role, teachers share their skills with other teachers. In Scotland, experience teachers achieve chartered teacher status. Teachers can progress to become year leaders or subject leaders within the schools in which they teach.

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