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How to Start a Career in Primary Education

Sharmain Zain
Reading time: 3 min

Being a primary school teacher is both a challenging and rewarding career. You’ll have to go through rigorous training and there’s a lot more to the job that you’d initially imagine. Primary teachers work with children between 5-11 years of age (Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2). Of course you’ll spend most of your time teaching your class and you’ll need to help them with all aspects of their development from intellectually to emotionally and socially.

However, you’ll also have many other responsibilities. You’ll have to plan lessons, prepare your teaching materials, keep records, communicate with parents and more. But watching the children develop and grow over the school year will give you huge job satisfaction, and you’ll benefit from the long school holidays, generous pension scheme and job security.

Here’s all you need to know about becoming a primary school teacher, from salary to responsibilities and how to qualify as a teacher.

Job Basics

  • Entry Salary: Around £23,700 pa
  • Experienced Salary: Between £35,000-£39,000 with potential to increase with promotions
  • Average Hours: 37hrs/week, with 39 weeks over the school year (plus extra time for marking etc)

What does a Primary School Teacher do?

  • Teach children all the subjects on the National Curriculum, including literacy and numeracy skills
  • Plan their lessons in advance
  • Prepare teaching material
  • Keep records of achievement, behaviour etc
  • Mark classwork, assignments and homework to give feedback
  • Assess how each child is developing and learning
  • Communicate with parents and hold parents’ evenings
  • Liaise with other professionals like social workers and psychologists
  • Attend staff meetings
  • Organise trips, clubs and other activities

What qualities should you have?

To be a primary school teacher, you’ll have an excellent manner with young children and be able to communicate effectively with them and build up a bond. You’ll need to be able to motivate and inspire them as well as manage the classroom and deal with any tricky or challenging behaviours. You’ll need to have a great reservoir of patience and you should also be to adapt quickly to changing scenarios. Creativity will be useful for creating learning resources and keeping the children engaged.

You’ll also have to communicate effectively with parents and other teaching staff including Teaching Assistants and be able to take advice and instruction from your Head of Department. Excellent organisational skills and a good understanding of IT will be necessary to keep on top of all your lesson planning, materials and records. You’ll need to be enthusiastic and dedicated to your work.

How do you become qualified as a Primary School Teacher?

To become a primary school teacher, you’ll need a degree and a recognised teaching qualification. The two main routes are to either study for a degree which will also give you Qualified Teacher Status, such as a Bachelor of Education. The second option is to take a Postgraduate Teacher Training Course if you already have a degree. Once you’ve achieved Qualified Teacher Status, you’ll embark on your year as a Newly Qualified Teacher.

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