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Primary Teacher Job Description

A primary teaching career can be extremely rewarding, guiding pupils through the very important early stages of their educational journey. A key focus of primary teaching jobs is to enable pupils to develop their cognitive, verbal and numerical skills by encouraging them to actively participate in classroom activities through creative teaching strategies.

What does a Primary Teacher do? 

Primary teaching jobs can be in different educational settings including public, private, religious and specialised schools. Primary Teachers prepare pupils with the academic, personal skills and knowledge they need to flourish in Secondary Schools and beyond.

Primary Teachers work with three age groups:

  • 3 to 5 years - Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  •  5 to 7 years - Key Stage 1 (KS1)
  •  7 to 11 years - Key Stage 2 (KS2)

Primary Teachers use their knowledge and enthusiasm to engage with children, inspiring them to enjoy learning, be confident in their abilities and take pride in their achievements from a young age.

Through a mix of resources Primary Teachers help motivate pupils of all abilities to study and investigate lesson topics. From Maths and English through to Music and Physical Education (P.E.), they use interactive and engaging teaching methods to bring national curriculum subjects to life.

Beyond the classroom, it is the job of a Primary Teacher to work alongside colleagues to plan and prepare schoolwork in accordance with curriculum guidelines. They also work with parents and caregivers to ensure pupils have a supportive learning environment both at home and school. This became especially important in 2020 and 2021, when Primary Teachers had to adapt to a new way of communicating with colleagues, pupils and parents through online learning. Computers are an inherent part of education and the switch to virtual classrooms proved just how important technology is.

Is a Primary Teacher job a good fit for you?

Whether you are just starting your teaching career or have perhaps been working as a Teaching Assistant (TA), a Primary Teacher position is an excellent opportunity to gain more experience and enhance your teaching skills.

Your day-to-day duties as a Primary Teacher will include:

  • Planning appropriate lessons to meet national curriculum guidelines, keeping up to date with changes.
  • Creating engaging lessons to involve pupils of all abilities, coordinating with colleagues and TAs where needed.
  • Setting up the classroom, organising displays and equipment.
  • Using a mix of resources to enhance pupil’s exploration of the topic.
  • Using different teaching methods, including whole class, group work, independent research, demonstrations, experiments and play, to motivate and encourage interaction in the class.
  • Encouraging children to work together to achieve goals.
  • Providing help and support to individual pupils as required, taking responsibility for their academic progress.
  • Carrying out assessments and setting homework.
  • Completing administrative work. E.g., taking registers, updating records, marking work and writing reports.
  • Creating a learning environment that pupils respect.
  • Setting expectations for discipline and behaviour including dealing with inappropriate behaviour according to school policy.
  • Providing a safe, healthy environment, and following safeguarding procedures.
  • Organising outings, after school clubs, social activities and sports events.
  • Participating in training and development activities.
  • Attending meetings and parent’s evenings.
  • Liaising with senior leadership, parents and external bodies in relation to progress, behaviour, child protection and health.

Are you a good fit for a Primary Teacher job?

Having in-school teaching experience is a must to become a Primary Teacher. If you have worked as a TA then you will already have some experience but you will gain plenty more during your teacher training placement. However, to succeed in the job you need more than just teaching experience; your own personality, passion and knowledge are vitally important in a role like this.

You will have:

  • Ability to communicate with and inspire children.
  • Dedicated interest in children’s education and creating the best learning environment.
  • Commitment to safeguarding and promoting child welfare.
  • Ability to work well with others.
  • Flexible attitude.
  • Patience.
  • Positive outlook.
  • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
  • Good organisational and verbal communication skills.
  • Knowledge of various teaching methods.
  • Ability to design lessons.
  • Ability to use a computer and the main office software packages such as Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint.

Qualifications, Licences and Certifications

The essential qualifications required to become a Primary Teacher in England include:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, Maths and Science.
  • Undergraduate education degree or a degree in any subject and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
  • Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
  • An enhanced background check.
  • In-school teaching experience, gained from your placement and previous TA jobs.
  • Fluent level of English, spoken and written.

If you have a degree but not the other qualifications needed to apply for primary teaching jobs, then you can enrol on a PGCE course and get your QTS.

It is helpful to get some classroom experience with different age groups before beginning your teacher training. This can affect the course you choose, as the training is different for those specialising in EYFS.

Employers will also look for candidates with the following attributes:

  • Outgoing personality and positive outlook Energy and enthusiasm for their job and in their teaching methods.
  • Understanding and supportive nature, showing empathy and compassion for each child in their care.
  • Motivated and engaged.
  • Assertive and confident in their ability and demeanour.
  • Trustworthy and ethical approach to educating children in their care.

Where can a Primary Teacher job take you?

As a Primary Teacher it is important to take advantage of Teacher training opportunities to stay up to date with current methods. Further training may offer a chance to specialise in a specific subject such as Science or P.E. In today’s world it is also important to have good technical skills.

The exact role of a Primary Teacher can vary between schools which may have different educational focuses. After a few years in your first position, you may choose to broaden your experience by exploring primary teaching jobs in a different school. You may want to step up to take on a specialist teaching role and as you gain in experience, you can consider moving up into senior positions such as Head of Year or a Deputy Head role.

Where next?

To help with the next steps in your teacher training, click here for our advice.

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