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How to become a School Secretary

school secretary careers

What does a School Secretary do?

School secretaries provide general administrative support to school staff. They have a wide range of duties, which may include:

  • answering the telephone
  • word processing documents like letters, reports and memos for the headteacher
  • dealing with mail that comes into the school
  • printing and photocopying
  • meeting visitors at reception
  • keeping records of pupils and staff
  • statistics
  • ordering equipment and stationery
  • arranging for the payment of ordered goods
  • keeping inventories of equipment
  • dealing with dinner money, petty cash and payments
  • being responsible for the sick room or medical room.
The role is sometimes combined with that of school bursar (see Bursar profile).

What's the working environment like working as a School Secretary?

Secretaries in primary and middle schools usually work for 40 weeks a year. This includes all term times. Many secretaries work part-time for 6 to 15 hours a week but some work full-time for 37 hours a week.

Secretaries in state secondary schools or in independent schools are more likely to work all year round. They are expected to take their holidays only during school holidays. They are likely to work 37 hours a week but part-time work may be available. They may sometimes have to attend evening meetings.

What does it take to become a School Secretary?

To be a school secretary you should:

  • be well-organised and methodical
  • be able to work under pressure and prioritise tasks
  • have good spoken and written communication skills
  • be patient, calm and tactful
  • be numerate and able to keep financial and statistical records
  • keep personal information confidential
  • be flexible and a good team worker.

School Secretary Career Opportunities

Nearly every primary school has a full-time or part-time secretary. Some larger schools also have some clerical assistants. A few secretaries share their time between two small schools.

Most middle, secondary and independent schools have a bursar and one or more clerical assistants. Some also have a school secretary, while others combine the jobs of bursar and school secretary (see Bursar profile).

There are limited promotion prospects within a school. Secretaries could seek to move to a larger school or a more responsible secretarial post outside education.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about School Secretary that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Further information about training and vacancies may be available from local careers offices and/or Jobcentres. Vacancies may be advertised in local newspapers. Local authorities may also publish job bulletins.

National Association of Administrative Staff in Schools and Colleges (NAASSC)
Professional Association of Teachers (PAT)
Membership Secretary
2 St. James' Courst
Tel: 01332 372337