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Primary school teacher

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Primary school teachers look after the educational, social, physical and emotional development of children from ages 5 to 11.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £23,720 to £61,005 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 per week

1. Entry requirements

To become a primary school teacher, you'll need:

Although not essential, you'll find it useful to have some school experience to support your application.

Postgraduate teacher training

If you already have a degree, you can complete a postgraduate teacher training course led by a school or university. It will include at least 24 weeks school experience, while you work towards qualified teacher status. Courses usually last 1 year (although part-time courses are possible).

Find out more about postgraduate training from Get into teaching.

Undergraduate teacher training

If you don’t already have a degree, you can gain qualified teacher status (QTS) alongside a first degree and qualify as a teacher with a:

  • BA (Hons) degree
  • BSc (Hons) degree with QTS
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree course

Find out more about undergraduate teacher training from Get into Teaching.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to inspire and motivate
  • creativity to design activities and materials
  • IT, organisational and planning skills
  • the ability to manage classes and deal with challenging behaviour

3. What you'll do

Most teaching jobs are 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.

With experience you could develop a specialism in a particular subject like computing or art and design.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • planning lessons and preparing teaching materials
  • marking and assessing children's work
  • providing a safe and healthy environment
  • keeping records
  • discussing children's progress with parents and carers
  • working with other professionals like education psychologists and social workers
  • attending meetings and training
  • organising 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.

4. Salary

Starter: £23,720 to £35,008 increasing to £40,372 in inner London

Experienced: £36,646 to £39,406, increasing to £48,244 in inner London

Highly Experienced: £40,162 to £61,005, increasing to £68,652 in inner London

Your salary will depend on many factors including location, responsibilities, seniority and class size. Get Into Teaching offers more details about salaries.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 37 hours a week for 39 weeks a year, split over 3 school terms. You'll spend additional time planning lessons, marking work and taking part in activities like parents' evenings and outings.

6. Career path and progression

You could specialise in teaching pupils with special educational needs or move into pastoral care. With experience, you could become a specialist leader of education (SLE) supporting teachers in other schools.

You could also progress to curriculum leader, deputy head and head teacher, or become a private tutor.

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Last updated: 14 November 2018