How to become a School Secretary. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a School Secretary do?
As a school secretary or administrator, it would be your job to provide administrative support in schools.
Your typical duties would include:
- typing letters, reports and other documents
- dealing with incoming and outgoing post
- printing and photocopying
- greeting visitors at reception, answering the phone and passing on messages
- keeping clerical and computerised records of pupils and staff
- producing statistical returns and reports
- dealing with school meals administration
- ordering equipment and stationery
- paying invoices and banking cash
- being responsible for first aid and the sick room.
You would come into contact with a wide range of people including teachers, pupils, parents and carers, education welfare officers, social workers and school governors.
In some smaller schools, you may take on extra management duties, such as responsibility for finance (see the School Business Manager profile for more information).
In many jobs you would work during term time only (usually 40 weeks a year), or you could work all year round. Full-time hours are usually 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, although part-time work is common.
You would be based in an office with a reception area or window where staff, pupils and visitors can easily contact you.
How much does a School Secretary earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Full-time secretaries in state schools can earn between £16,000 and £21,000 a year.
- Earnings in large schools with high levels of responsibility could reach £28,000 a year.
Salaries in private schools can vary.
Since many jobs are part-time or term-time only, your earnings would be a portion of full-time rates (known as ‘pro rata’ payment).
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Employers will expect a good standard of general education, and you will need previous experience of office work. You should be able to use word processing, database, spreadsheet and accounts computer packages, although employers may provide training in some of these.
You will usually need to pass a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.
- Criminal Records Bureau
You do not always need specific qualifications, but you may have an advantage with GCSEs in English and maths, or a work-based qualification (such as an NVQ) in administration, computer skills or word processing.
If you do not have much previous office experience, you could start as a clerical assistant in a school and work your way up to a post with more responsibility.
Training and Development
You will be trained on the job when you start your job as a school secretary. Your school or local education authority will usually provide training in one of the specialised computer systems used in schools, such as Schools Information Management System (SIMS).
Your employer may also offer you the chance to gain a work-based qualification, such as:
- Certificate and 3 Diploma in Support Work for Schools, levels 2 and 3
- Institute of Administrative Management (IAM) Certificate in Educational Administration, a one-year distance learning qualification developed by the School of Educational Administration
- Certificates and Diplomas in Business and Administration at levels 2-4 (the replace the NVQs in Business and Administration from September 2020).
See the Training and Development Agency for Schools website for more information on development for school support staff.
- Training and Development Agency for Schools – Support Staff
Skills and Knowledge
- good spoken and written communication skills
- an organised and methodical approach to work
- good administrative and computer skills
- the ability to work under pressure and prioritise tasks
- confidence in handling cash and working with figures
- the ability to work well with pupils, teachers and parents
- respect for confidential information
- a patient and flexible attitude
- the ability to work as part of a team and also on your own initiative.
You could be employed by a local education authority to work in a state school, or you could work for an independent school.
Jobs may be advertised in the local press, at Jobcentre Plus, on local authority websites, and on the LGJobs and Eteach websites. You can also visit CV Library, Indeed, Total Jobs and Redd to search latest job vacancies and apply.