Basics of your role:

Primary schools are usually divided into:

  • Foundation Stage – nursery and reception (ages 3-5)
  • Key Stage 1 – years 1 and 2 (ages 5-7)
  • Key Stage 2 – years 3-6 (ages 7-11)

Secondary schools are usually divided into:

  • Key Stage 3 – years 7 – 9 (ages 11 – 14)
  • Key Stage 4 – years 10 – 11 (ages 14 – 16)
  • Key stage 5 – years 12 – 13 (ages 16 – 19)

Tasks are broadly the same for all primary school teachers and include:

  • teaching all areas of the primary curriculum;
  • taking responsibility for the progress of a class of primary-age pupils;
  • organising the classroom and learning resources and creating displays to encourage a positive learning environment;
  • planning, preparing and presenting lessons that cater for the needs of the whole ability range within their class;
  • motivating pupils with enthusiastic, imaginative presentation;
  • maintaining discipline;
  • preparing and marking work to facilitate positive pupil development;
  • meeting requirements for the assessment and recording of pupils’ development;
  • providing feedback to parents and carers on a pupil’s progress at parents’ evenings and other meetings;
  • liaising with colleagues and working flexibly, particularly in smaller school.

Secondary Teachers:

Your tasks would generally consist of:

  • specialising in teaching one or two subjects;
  • teaching classes of different ages and abilities throughout the school;
  • preparing pupils for exams like GCSEs and A levels;
  • preparing lessons and teaching materials;
  • marking and assessing work;
  • managing class behaviour;
  • discussing pupils’ progress with parents and carers;
  • attending meetings and training;
  • organising outings, social activities and sports events.

What to expect

  • Long-term, permanent, day to day, and short-term roles are all available.
  • Primary teachers are usually based in their own classrooms although they may teach elsewhere in school to cover for staff shortages or because of their specialist subject area.
  • Resources vary between schools.
  • A very high proportion of primary school teachers are women and increasing numbers of women now hold senior posts. The Teaching Agency is encouraging more men, people from ethnic minorities and people with disabilities into teaching.

Let’s get technical!

Unless your first degree is a Bachelor of Education (BEd) or a BA/BSc with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), it is essential to gain QTS or, in Scotland, a teaching qualification (TQ), in order to teach in the maintained/local authority sector.
However, since March 2016, all maintained/local authority schools will convert to academies by 2020. This abolishes the rule above as you do not need QTS if you work in academies, free schools, or independent schools.

The decision on whether to accredit a new teacher will be then be made by head teachers themselves.

This puts the power in the hands of those who know best what makes a great teacher – outstanding schools and heads.

To find out whether your qualifications are equivalent to a UK degree, contact the UK NARIC (National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom). Teachers who qualified in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA are recognised as having QTS and are automatically able to teach in England without any further training.

Those who trained in a country outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) can work in England as a temporary teacher for up to four years without QTS. The status award must be achieved however, to take up a permanent teaching post in a maintained school.

Check out our Staff Room for further guidance!