School secretaries play a crucial role in the day-to-day life of a school by providing a wide range of administrative support to keep everything running as smoothly as possible.

What’s involved

Secretaries usually spend the majority of their time:

  • answering the phone
  • word processing letters, reports and invoices
  • dealing with incoming and outgoing mail
  • arranging meetings,seminars or conferences
  • maintaining filing systems and office supplies
  • keeping records of pupils and staff
  • sending key educational data about the school to the Department for Education

Skills and experience you will need

  • good written and verbal communication skills
  • confidence with figures
  • good ICT skillsable to relate well with pupils, teachers and parents
  • good time management

Entry requirements

It is up to schools and Local Authorities (LAs) to decide what qualifications and experience applicants need to have, so it is important to check locally. Some may employ people on the basis of their experience and potential alone. Others may require a qualification.

The following qualification is available for those not yet employed in the role:

  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools

However, this award is solely theory-based, without requiring a placement in a school, so it is important to check with the school or LA whether they would accept the qualification.

Training and Development

There are many courses in the Business Management area. These courses are delivered at local colleges, some through apprenticeships. The Council for Administration (CfA) are responsible for developing qualifications for staff working in administrative roles. For more information visit the CfA website.

Some schools also offer apprenticeships, which are work-based training programmes which lead to qualifications.

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If you need more help speak to the person responsible for your career development or your Union Learning Representative.

Useful links

For more information on the work of school secretarial staff see the National Careers Service website.

In Scotland for more information contact Skills Development Scotland:

In Northern Ireland contact Careers Service Northern Ireland:

In Wales / Cymru contact Careers Wales: