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Secondary school teachers teach one or sometimes multiple subjects to pupils typically between the ages of 11 and 16, in preparation for GCSE examinations. In schools with integrated sixth forms, teachers may be additionally required to teach A-level subjects to pupils up to the age of 19.
They are in charge of planning, organising and leading classes in their particular field of expertise and must work within the framework set out by the National Curriculum. They may also have to research new developments and teaching methods relating to their subject or subjects and discover the widest possible range of resources to facilitate their pupils’ learning.
They set deadlines for, mark and give feedback on homework given to pupils. Marking work will normally be done at home or during non-teaching hours, at lunchtime or during free periods, for example.
Secondary teachers in senior positions may have to act as mentors for teaching assistants and newly qualified teachers (NQTs), or may be promoted to head of department or head of year. Furthermore, some teachers are form tutors whose job is to monitor an allotted group of pupils who will report to them either first thing in the morning or after lunch to be registered and given any relevant school news.
They maintain discipline and standards of behaviour both in the classroom and elsewhere on the school premises. In cases of serious misconduct they will sometimes have to contact senior members of staff, parents or guardians to discuss disciplinary action.
Some secondary teachers will be put in charge of organising and participating in school events and trips, including open days, social occasions, pupil holidays abroad and parent-teacher meetings.
The variety of jobs and level of responsibility given to a secondary teacher will vary depending on the size and location of the school and the qualifications and experience that the teacher has.