Do I Need to Retrain to Teach Primary

Do I Need to Retrain to Teach Primary School Children?

Teaching at a sixth form, secondary or nursery school in UK has its fun & challenging times and you can make a life time career as a specialist subject teacher.

Deciding and moving from another key stage to primary teaching UK is possible, although you should think long and hard first and assess not just yourself personally, but also you’re capabilities.

You don’t need to retrain to teach primary if you hold qualified teacher status (QTS) as you’re legally qualified to teach 5-18 year olds in UK schools in England & Scotland. KS1/2 conversion course is not formally required if transitioning to teach primary from another key stage if you hold QTS in England.

Qualification required teaching primary in UK is initial teacher training qualification at bachelor or postgraduate level with qualified teacher status or QTS only (England).

Can you teach primary with a secondary PGCE in UK?

GTC registered qualified UK school teachers with secondary PGCE & QTS can teach primary school age 5-12 children in England, Scotland & Wales without additional qualifications or training.

As a qualified subject teacher at a UK school in Wales, England or Scotland you’ve built up years of specialist teaching & learning knowledge, much of which is transferable for primary teaching.

Deciding to transition to primary school teaching at KS1/2 instead of KS3.4,5 should be well researched and thought out before making the leap to teach younger children.

Secondary teachers can teach primary in UK

As a trained, experienced & qualified secondary teacher with QTS you can teach primary school children age 5-12, KS1/2 in UK as there’s no transition course in England & Wales.

You can utilise you’re specialist subject knowledge and behaviour management skills taking on a general primary teacher role or subject lead or coordinator whole school responsibility. Primary teacher position with TLR points could include:

  • Physical education primary teacher for the whole school just teaching PE.
  • Primary music teacher for all pupils only teaching music lessons, and organising school events including music.
  • Mathematics coordinator/lead teacher raising attainment of pupil’s numeracy combined with a general class teacher role.
  • English lead or coordinator for the entire primary school as addition to being a KS1 or KS2 teacher.
  • Science subject lead teacher as extra duties with you’re teaching role in class.
  • Modern foreign languages (MFL) lead primary teacher as well as you’re class role.

Teaching at primary school

Secondary teachers teach primary

Like nursery teaching you have one group of students all day in primary school if you’re a general KS1/2 class teacher, or you could be a specialist teacher of maths, English, PE, music.

Pupils attending council maintained or UK private primary schools are 5-12 years old, so they are possibly younger or slightly older if you’ve been teaching reception, secondary or nursery children.

Using different teaching, personal & soft skills you teach a list of subjects daily and throughout the year, means a range of different subject knowledge is required including English, history, numeracy, science and RE.

As a result more curriculum & lesson planning for each subject lesson topic is required than sixth form teachers.

Primary school day

Teaching routine is delivering 2-4 subjects for a set amount of time each school day, and a specialist primary teacher takes PE and music lessons. Effectively, for general KS1/2 teachers all day you’re with the same group of pupils and assigned a classroom where you’ll be based for all teaching or occasionally going in a hall or outside for class learning.

Pupils will arrive at school each morning and you are also a tutor taking attendance when the students come into class. Early years KS1 and possibly KS2 you have a teaching assistant in the classroom with you. During lessons or tutor time a teacher instructs a class and the classroom TA helps with further explanation, support and peer or group work.

Teaching methods you use will change as you’ll require adapting to successful teaching & learning strategies and practices to deliver good lessons to primary age children.

Appropriate primary school age on job training

Converting from secondary to primary teaching Scotland

Although you don’t need any further qualification or formal training to transition to primary teaching from another key stage with QTS, you’ll defiantly require ongoing CPD.

Starting at a new school is change enough, and coupled with a new curriculum, age of pupils and working & teaching methods is change you’ll need to adjust and compensate for.

Primary teaching is not the same as secondary or nursery as whole new skills set is learned or adapted for 5-12 year old children’s learning.

The primary school will most likely want you to participate in all the training possible in relation to teaching methods, communicating, working with a teacher assistant, and especially lots of reading about the primary national curriculum. Additionally, learning to teach phonics, and using behaviour management techniques that are age appropriate is crucial knowing when teaching UK primary curriculum.

When moving into primary class teaching from secondary for example expect to be observed and your lesson planning checked more than specialist primary teachers.

Subject & key stage leaders, as well as the headteacher will want to reassure themselves you’re prepared, teach good lesson outcomes and can manage classes effectively.

Apply for KS1 & KS2 primary teacher jobs

Nothing stopping you applying for teacher jobs and becoming a primary school teacher in theory, although you’ll require convincing an interview panel and head teacher you’re the right candidate to teach a primary class moving from another key stage. Empathies teacher skills:

  • General subject knowledge you have including: Maths, science, history geography, RE.
  • Good or sufficient knowledge of primary teach methods.
  • Knowledge sufficient enough of primary national curriculum.
  • Full knowledge of phonics and can teach using phonics in the classroom.
  • Behaviour management classroom techniques for 5-11 year old children.

Specialist subject knowledge you can highlight that’s useful in primary teaching as the UK has a demand, especially an RE, maths or English teaching experience in another key stage could help secure a KS1/2 teacher job.

Converting from secondary to primary teaching Scotland

Moving from teaching in Wales or England at secondary level to Scotland primary school means registering with General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS).

Secondary to primary school Scotland teacher registration and how it works for you contact GTCS or ask questions to the school where you apply for a teaching job in Scotland.

“You will need to complete an agreed Professional Learning (PL) plan. This will develop your professional knowledge and skills of teaching in the primary sector. You will then need to be recommended for registration by a headteacher (or other GTC Scotland approved individual) based in a primary school”.

GTC Scotland

Successful transition to primary school teacher

Preparing yourself by reading about the role of a primary school teacher, curriculum and differences in teaching KS1 & KS2 will help you prepare for a successful transition.

Get some teaching experience at primary level, possibly as a supply teacher in England, Wales or Scotland or teach KS1/2 children classes in an all through school.

Teaching in another key stage from secondary or just nursery you have no or insufficient experience in primary education and classroom teaching.

Certainly knowing & teaching phonics is a must in a classroom with 5-9 year olds along with having to effectively work with a teaching assistant so they’re and integral part of a successful lesson by being used effectively.

See also: Teach secondary with a primary PGCE

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