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- Look after the educational, social, physical and emotional development of children from ages 5 to 11
- You'll need the ability to inspire and motivate, creativity to design activities and materials, organisational and planning skills
- You could progress to become a curriculum leader, deputy head, head teacher, or a private tutor
Most primary school teachers work in state schools and academies, but you could also work in independent schools, pupil referral units and hospitals. You could also register with an agency to provide 'supply' cover for other teachers.
You'll teach subjects in the primary national curriculum at key stage 1 (ages 5 to 7) and key stage 2 (ages 7 to 11). Subjects include English, maths, science, music and art.
- Plan lessons and prepare teaching materials
- Mark and assess children's work
- Provide a safe and healthy environment
- Update records
- Talk to parents and carers about their children's progress
- Work with other professionals like education psychologists and social workers
- Attend meetings and training
- Organise outings, social activities and sports events
- You may also work with under 5s in a children's centre or a reception class in a primary school
You could work at a school or at a pupil referral unit.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
You'll spend additional time planning lessons, marking work and taking part in activities like parents' evenings and outings.
To be a primary school teacher, you'll need knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses, sensitivity and understanding, the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things, the ability to work well with others, flexibility and openness to change, knowledge of English language, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, and excellent verbal communication skills.
You can do an undergraduate degree that leads to a qualified teacher status (QTS), such as a Bachelor of Education (BEd), Bachelor of Arts (BA) with QTS, or Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS.
You can also complete a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE), if you have a first degree without QTS. This can be completed at a university or on a school-based training programme.
You could do a postgraduate teaching apprenticeship, if you have a degree and want to teach 5 to 11 year olds.
You can also start as a teaching assistant and do a part-time degree, following by a postgraduate teaching course to qualify.
Paid or voluntary experience of working with children and young people might be helpful, such as volunteering at a school, doing youth work, or helping on a holiday scheme.
You can do a subject knowledge enhancement course to improve your understanding of the subject you want to teach. You can also attend teacher training events (in person or online) before you apply to get advice about the profession, the different training routes and funding.
You'll also need to pass numeracy and literacy skills tests, as well as enhanced background checks.
You could move into specialising in teaching pupils with special educational needs, or into pastoral care.
With experience, you could become a specialist leader of education, supporting teachers in other schools. You could also progress to curriculum leader, deputy head and head teacher, or become a private tutor. You could also develop a specialism in a particular subject like computing or art and design.