What is Primary Teaching?
Teaching in primary means teaching children who are aged 5 to 11 years old. This is usually at primary schools but could also include infant schools.
Why Train to Be a Primary Teacher?
Completing primary teacher training and teaching children at this stage of their lives can be hugely rewarding. They are generally enthusiastic and keen to learn, and you can use your imagination to really engage them in a range of subjects. Seeing that spark when they truly ‘get it’ is something you won’t get in most jobs - you really can make a difference.
You’ll get to teach a diverse range of subjects, ensuring children get a solid foundation on which the rest of their education is built. Get it right at this stage and you can see children grow and develop as capable learners, providing a seamless transition into secondary school.
No two days will ever be the same. You will have the support of colleagues, but you also get a lot of independence. Normally based at one school, you will be able to forge meaningful relationships with colleagues, students and their families.
What is Life Like as a Primary Teacher?
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). As a primary teacher, you’re responsible for the delivery of all subjects, with a particular emphasis on the core subjects of Literacy, Numeracy and Science.
Your day to day tasks will include planning lessons and preparing teaching materials, marking and assessing work, providing a safe and healthy environment, keeping up to date progress records, and discussing children’s progress with parents and carers.
Developing relationships with parents is also important, and you will keep them updated on their child’s progress. Additionally, you will work closely with your colleagues within the school, sharing best practice and supporting one another.
You will generally work in the same location with fairly regular hours, usually with the same class of children throughout the academic year. This provides you with the opportunity to really focus on their learning and development. Pastoral support is also a key part of the role. This could range from settling children into the routing of school life when they start in primary school, to ensuring they make a smooth transition into secondary school from Year 6.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Primary Teacher?
You must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as you’ll be working with both young people and their parents. You’ll also need good organisational and time management skills, as well as energy, enthusiasm, stamina, patience, resilience and dedication. As part of a wider team, initiative, empathy and leadership skills are also highly valued.
What Do We Cover in Primary Teacher Training?
Our course equips you with the skills needed for the demanding task of teaching 5 to 11-year-old children in primary schools. It is a combination of hands-on experience, professional learning and academic study over a one-year period. You will record evidence of your progress towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in a professional development portfolio.
This includes training in university, via STSA's professional learning courses, and as part of your school placements, as detailed below:
Our academic partner is Sheffield Hallam University, whose course is rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. At university, you will gain a thorough understanding of current Science, English and Mathematics teaching, allowing you to meet the demands of primary education. As part of the course, you gain 60 credits towards a Masters qualification. Academic work is assessed by written coursework assignments and you will be assigned an academic tutor, who will support you throughout the year.
In STSA Professional Learning Courses
We run a number of STSA professional learning sessions throughout the year. These days are a great opportunity for our trainees to come together, catch up and share their experiences. Our trainees tell us that this is a highly valued part of our course.
Sessions particularly relevant to primary teaching include:
- Child development
- Early Maths and Literacy skills
- The primary curriculum
- Outdoor learnings
Examples of other topics covered include:
- The Professional Teacher
- Lesson/scheme design
- Assessment: marking and feedback
- Data collection and analysis
- Barriers to learning
- Organisation of self
- Role of SENCO
- Behaviour management
- Building resilience
- SEND and inclusion
- EAL and new arrivals
- Communication with parents
- Planning for transition
The STSA team are on hand throughout the course to help you with any issues or questions you may have.
During your School Placements
Our early years teacher training course includes high-quality placements in two of our partner schools, providing experience in contrasting settings – which is part of the Department for Education (DfE) regulations for Initial Teacher Training (ITT). Your main placement is approximately 24 weeks over the academic year, whilst your complementary placement is approximately 6 weeks.
You will have your own mentor in each school, who will meet with you regularly and provide support and advice. They will also assess your teaching in school.
You can find out more about what to expect on our course here.
Even once you are fully qualified and have completed your primary teacher training, you will always be developing as a teacher. As a result, there are a variety of career paths ahead of you. You could specialise in a particular area, such as Maths, Literacy, Sport or Special Educational Needs. You could also develop your leadership skills and take on middle management roles, such as becoming the head of a subject. Taking that further, there is always a need for headteachers and deputies, and there are leadership training programmes to support your progression. With multi-academy trusts growing in number, there are also new opportunities working across a range of schools, taking on responsibility for primary education or a particular aspect within it.