A Primary school teacher has a variety of duties beyond just teaching and lesson planning. It is a varied role that can be incredibly rewarding.
Primary school students are divided into two stages: Key Stage 1 (5-7 years of age) and Key Stage 2 (7-11 years of age). Teachers try to bring out the best in their students in terms of skills and intelligence.
- Planning lessons
- Teaching a variety of subjects according to the curriculum
- Marking and assessment
- Leading and assisting a class of Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2 pupils
- Using class resources effectively
- Monitoring the development of individual students
- Assessing skills and knowledge through tests and assignments
- Communicating with parents, the LEA and administrative staff
- Contributing to school events
It is essential to have Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) if you plan to work at an LEA school. There are three main ways of gaining QTS:
- Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
- Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP)
- School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)
Some undergraduate degrees offer QTS as part of the course. Most people, however, will probably choose one of the three options above. Having an undergraduate degree is an entry requirement to these courses. Teaching experience is also desirable, so a stint as a teaching assistant, lecturer or teacher of English as a foreign language will count in your favour. Primary school teachers are also required to complete a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau).
Primary school teachers are required to be:
- Good communicators
- Energetic and versatile
- Creative and interesting
You will be teaching a variety of subjects so you need to be adaptable, intelligent, and able to explain things clearly.
Salary and Other Information:
- Starting salary of around £20k, which increases incrementally to £30k
- Teachers have up to 12 weeks a year of holiday (although many teachers spend a lot of this time on work-related tasks)
- Weekend and evening work is often required
- Many teachers spend time working at home after school hours
Career development as a primary school teacher may include becoming an Assistant Headteacher, or eventually Headteacher. The NCSL runs a fast track program to help teachers who show potential to develop their leadership skills.
Teachers can progress into middle-management roles, such as heads of subject. These roles include overseeing the running of a certain subject in an entire school.
Primary school teachers can also progress by becoming Advanced Skills Teachers (AST). An AST role is very similar to a normal teaching role, but you will be expected to spend 20% of your work time teaching good practice in other schools.
Teaching may lead to jobs outside of the classroom. The skills developed as a teacher can be well utilized in management roles, social work, or other jobs involving leadership, instruction and communication.
- Assistant headteacher/headteacher
- Advanced Skills Teacher
- Public/Private sector roles
Most primary school teachers are employed by the Local Education Authority in state schools. Jobs are advertised through Local Authorities. You should check your local council website or other local resources such as newspapers for positions.
A second option is to take on work as a supply teacher. Obviously this has some disadvantages in terms of regularity of work, but it does offer more independence. Supply work can be found through agencies, or by contacting schools directly.
Privtae schools often advertise teaching vacancies in national newspapers and with online recruitment agencies.
Where to find jobs:
- Local Council websites
- Local newspapers
- Online agencies and organizations
- Supply teaching agencies
- Secondary School Teacher
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Links and Contacts:
- A-Z of Local Authorities
- National College for School Leadership
- National Union of Teachers
- UK Independent Schools Guide
- Scottish Council of Independent Schools
- Teach First