What Soft Skills Are Needed to Become
a Successful Teacher in The UK

See also: Teaching Skills

The UK has plenty of educationalists arriving from different parts of the world. Primary among these are teachers and skilled workers in the educational field. With so many excellent opportunities, there are several different visas to choose from and plenty of options for international educationists. The UK welcomes international teachers and tutors but has a few strict norms regarding qualifications, fields, and skills.

Teachers coming to the UK also need an employer with a valid sponsor licence application and insurance. They also need to have QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). If international teachers already possess a postgraduate educational degree, they can apply for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. Teaching professionals in the UK also require GCSEs at Grade Four ( C ) in Maths and English.

Apart from the basic qualifications that all teachers in the UK need, they also require additional specific soft skills. While soft skills cannot be measured in the same way as goals and quantifiable grades, certificates, and tests, intangible soft skills help teachers connect with students, parents, and colleagues.

Let us look at which soft skills are needed to become a successful teacher in the UK.


Communication is, arguably, the most critical soft skill a skilled teacher can possess. Teachers must know how to communicate effectively with all manners and standards of students (based on the students' language level and ability). Teachers need to share knowledge and information with other teachers for collaborative work, students, and parents. Teachers should know how to talk ‘with’ students of all ages, and not 'at' them.

1. Communication between Teachers and Students

Conveying information that is well received by students in all subjects is critical in ensuring their development and progress. A successful teacher is not one whose students regurgitate textbooks and guide knowledge, but those that understand what the teacher is saying. Making lessons engaging, answering questions patiently, re-explaining as many times as needed for students to understand, providing relatable examples, pivoting all lesson plans, comparing the course material to real-life and current affairs topics, and more are excellent skills for a successful teacher in the UK.

Teachers that take the time to develop skills that enable and help students, build trust, and protect children will see a remarkable change in their student-teacher bond. Teachers that take the time to learn the students' names also build trust during the school term and, sometimes, even beyond.

Good teachers are those who:

  • Learn students' names

  • Praise good work

  • Give constructive (not destructive) feedback to students who turn in shoddy work.

  • Help all students achieve their best potential through guidance

  • Understand the individual likes and dislikes of students

  • Are observant about unusual behaviours and the safety of children

2. Communication Between Teachers and Parents

Teachers have a slightly more challenging job role than most. They have to connect with students, and (when minors) the parents too. Many teachers are excellent with children but tend to get frustrated with parents' questions, suggestions, and more. Since most parents and teachers want the best for the child, a difference in opinion or judgment can often be treated quite harshly. There may even be arguments and heated discussions about the best way forward for the child.

Teachers need to be prepared to hear the grievances of children and their parents and find an amicable way forward. This may be especially necessary for parents of otherwise-abled children. By understanding the crux of the reasoning, the issues, challenges, and learning styles of children – their likes, dislikes, and behaviours, teachers can effectively communicate with both kids and their parents.

Some good communication skills teachers should build to interact with parents are:

  • Regular or constant face-to-face, email, and phone communication to convey the academic progress of the child

  • Handling offensive comments tactfully and with politeness

  • Documenting all communication with parents, children, and guardians – date, names of parents and guardians, a summary of the discussion, audio recordings (with prior written permission).

Leadership Skills

Teachers need to become leaders to earn the respect of their peers, children, and parents. While many wonder whether it is wise for teachers to be perceived as leaders, it is beneficial for students and teachers. Most modern classrooms need a semblance of balance between nurturing and leading, with the teacher being responsible for ensuring everyone behaves, respects one another, and demonstrates consequences for destructive behaviours.

Allowing students to continue bad behaviour can be detrimental to their overall growth in society. They may also grow up believing it is okay to misbehave with their peers, adults, and pets. Becoming a leader also signifies an authoritative presence in classrooms and makes students understand that they are answerable to someone.

Building Cultural Awareness

A teacher might be highly skilled at teaching educational lessons, but if they forget to educate students about cultural awareness in a multicultural world, they would be doing a disservice. Cultural diversity and acceptance are at the backbone of being a peaceful society. Children need to be made aware of different socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, cultural significance, and inclusion daily.

Building cultural awareness will create a respectful class environment and make long-lasting impressions in children's minds from an early age. As these children grow older and become contributing members of society, they will be considered well-adjusted adults with a global understanding. Since the UK is multicultural, teachers must become inherently culturally aware and pass these excellent teachings on to students.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) helps teachers become excellent problem solvers and mediators. Teachers must de-escalate situations where tensions may run hot or cold between faculty, parents, and students. Leading by example and dealing with adversity in constructive (not destructive) ways will help everyone learn coping mechanisms.

Teachers should teach SEL in history or English classes by encouraging children to assess the subject's character and the reasons behind a particular action and offering real-world solutions and better responses to adversity. Teachers in the UK should also encourage students to develop their own problem-solving skills to help them become better learners.