Teaching in a Primary school

Teaching in a Primary School setting

There are many types of Primary Schools to choose from in the UK and it’s important to select one that suits your working preferences. So, how do you choose what type of school you want to work in, and which positions can you apply for?

You can choose to teach in a small village school in the country, a large private school with its own grounds or an inner-city school for disadvantaged children. Each one is as unique as the children you will be teaching.

Primary School settings

In England all children between the ages of 5 and 16 are entitled to a free place at a state school. Primary Schools provide education for children aged 4 to 11 and comprise of Key Stage One (ages 5-7) and Key Stage Two (ages 7-11).

The early years foundation stage (EYFS) covers child development from birth to 5 years old. As Primary Schools teach children from 4 years old, they must follow the EYFS areas of learning, which include language, communication, physical, emotional, personal, and social development, literacy, maths, art, and an understanding of the world.

In the UK there are many different types of Primary Schools:

  • Faith Schools are usually voluntarily aided (VA) or voluntarily controlled (VC). They follow the national curriculum but can choose which religion they teach in Religious Education (RE). Typically, places in faith schools are given to children whose families have some affiliation with the school’s faith. Religions represented by these schools include Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. However, as a Teacher you do not have to be of a specific faith to apply to work in a faith school, for example Muslims can apply to teach in Christian schools.
  • Community Schools are owned by their local authority. They employ the staff, make all admission decisions, and often have strong links with their local community.
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Schools (SEND) are for children with specific learning difficulties or disabilities, such as dyslexia, autistic spectrum disorders, or visual impairments. These schools typically create extra sensory environments to accommodate the learning needs of their pupils.
  • State Boarding Schools provide free education but there is a fee for children’s board. These schools can be academies, free schools or local authority run.
  • Foundation and Trust Schools’ buildings and land are owned by a charitable foundation, or a governing body, who also employ the staff and set the admissions criteria.
  • Free Schools are all-ability, state funded schools that are free from local authority control. They can be formed by groups such as charities, existing schools, or parents, in response to a need for a new school in their community. Once established they are run as academies, funded by the central government but not required to teach the national curriculum.
  • Academies are independent, state funded schools who follow their own curriculum, often focusing on one specific area of learning, such as performing arts or sport.
  • Public Schools, also known as Private or Independent Schools, are funded through tuition fees. They do not need to follow the national curriculum and are usually inspected by a member of the Independent Schools council, as opposed to Ofsted. There are also private SEND Schools.
  • Pre-prep Schools are privately funded schools specifically for children aged 3-7.
  • Steiner Schools are independent non-denominational private schools whose educational style is based on an understanding of child development. Their aim is to enable children to become free thinkers who find their own purpose and direction in life.

What it’s like to teach in Primary School settings

To work with Primary School pupils, you need to be passionate about teaching younger children, not mind early mornings, tolerate lots of noise and, be prepared to be on your feet most of the day.

If you are thinking about a Primary School Teacher role, you must have patience skills, be organised and resourceful, and able to create a positive classroom environment where you can facilitate learning in a creative way. You will typically need to meet with parents regularly to update them on their child’s progress and learning needs.

Your lesson plans and teaching materials must be developed in line with the national curriculum objectives and cover a broad range of subjects. Your pupils will differ greatly in their leaning abilities, and some may have special educational needs and disabilities, therefore, it is important to make your lessons accessible to all.

Your responsibilities will include setting up the classroom and organising resources, assessing pupils’ work, following safeguarding procedures, running school events, taking assemblies, and working with other professionals, such as education psychologists and social workers, to ensure the children’s welfare. 

From time-to-time you will also be expected to attend training, organise outings, after school clubs, school social activities and sports events, attend and run staff workshops, and attend meetings outside of your usual working hours.

Although being a Primary School Teacher can be a challenging role, it is also very rewarding. Playing a pivotal role in the achievements and successes of the children you teach, will give you a deep sense of pride in what you do.

The essential qualifications needed by a Primary School Teacher include 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, Maths and Science. An undergraduate degree or a degree in any subject and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

 

You will also need to have your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), an enhanced background check, in-school teaching experience gained from your placement and previous Teaching Assistant (TA) jobs, and a fluent level of English.

 

Within a Primary School setting, you will work Monday to Friday, from approximately 8.00am until 4pm. The school term is split into three terms, autumn (September to December), spring (January to March) and summer (April to July). 

 

You can expect to earn from £25k when starting out, to £40K when you have gained more teaching experience.

 

Other typical job roles found in Primary School settings

There are a range of short-term, long-term, and permanent teaching opportunities available within Primary Schools, Academies, Independent and Free Schools for  Teaching Assistants, School Administrators, Learning Support and Special Educational Needs Classroom Assistants.

To find out more about the types of roles available, visit our Primary School jobs page. 

Where next?  

Career progression in Primary School teaching is varied. You could teach pupils with special educational needs, move into pastoral care, become a specialist leader of education or a curriculum leader, Deputy Head or even a Head Teacher.

There are also opportunities to teach overseas in international schools or as a private tutor anywhere in the world.

Jobseekers

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