It’s undoubtedly a rewarding career choice, but becoming a primary school teacher can be a confusing process. The qualifications, the regulations, the many responsibilities of the job itself… it can be hard to know where to begin and as a new Mum returning to work, starting on a new career path is hard enough as it is.
Some areas of the role won’t start to become clear until the bell sounds on your first morning, such as how quickly you can eat lunch while monitoring the hallways, or which coffee goes down the best in the staff room. But in the meantime, here are 11 points to get you on the way to your new career:
1 How do you become a primary school teacher?
To become a teacher you will need to obtain a Qualified Teacher Status, this can be achieved by completing Initial Teacher Education Training (ITET). These qualifications can be obtained at most Universities in the country, if you already have a degree under your belt, and take around a year to achieve – usually starting in September and finishing in May.
Before you embark on the training process, you must ensure you have the recommended GCSEs, at grades A to C in English, Maths and one science. You’ll also need passes in the professional skills tests, as well as a current Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
To start with, you could try and obtain work experience in a local school once or twice a week to get a feel for the industry, ring round and see if any establishments in the area need any extra hands in the classroom to help with reading or outdoor sessions.
2 What qualifications do you need?
All of the following qualifications are required: ITET, a DBS certificate, GCSEs at grades A to C in at least English, Maths and one science, passes in the professional skills tests, some prior experience of working in schools or with young children, a degree, and the appropriate medical fitness.
With the ITET under your belt, you’ll need to teach successfully for three full terms before gaining your Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) status, during this time you will work in a school but have a mentor to guide you through the best teaching practices.
3 Is a University degree required?
An undergraduate degree from a UK higher education establishment – or a recognised equivalent – is a necessary requirement before you can be accepted onto a teacher training course.
4 What other training can I undertake?
The Department for Education operates the National College for Teaching and Leadership, which helps teachers to expand their skillsets.
Other teacher development programmes include:
- School-Centred Initial Teacher Training, a one-year course to train those with a degree, in the subject they’d like to teach.
- Teach First, a programme for those with at least a 2:1 degree. This programme places you in an underprivileged area where you train on the job. It’s aimed at recent graduates, however 22% of successful applicants have had a previous career.
- UCAS Teacher Training, a one-year course that usually leads to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
- Troops to Teachers, this programme is aimed at former service personnel looking to take up a career in teaching.
5 What would my responsibilities be?
You would be responsible for educational and social development of children in your care, as well as their emotional and pastoral needs. You will also:
- Develop lesson plans and present them, making sure they adhere to Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum
- Mark pupils’ work
- Manage class behaviour
- Organise school outings
- Attend parents’ evenings
- Stay abreast of changes to the National Curriculum
6 What are my average weekly working hours?
Around 37 hours per week, from around 8.30am to 4pm. You’ll be required to plan lessons and mark work outside of school hours. You’ll work 39 weeks out of 52 in the year, split over three terms. Especially the first 2-5 years you will be working after school hours and holidays to plan and prepare lessons. There are also many evening engagements and weekend engagements that you will be expected to attend such as parent evenings and school fairs. See more information on: Becoming a teacher, is it a viable option for returning to work
7 What is the average starting salary?
With your QTS successfully attained, you can expect a starting salary of approximately £22,000 to £27,500 per year, depending on where you work.
8 What age groups would I teach?
As a primary school teacher you’ll work with three age groups: three to five years (Foundation Stage), five to seven years (Key Stage 1), and seven to 11 years (Key Stage 2).
9 How do I choose which school to teach in?
Local Education Authorities and independent schools advertise through websites such as eteach.co.uk. Why not try compiling a list of local schools and then see what methods each uses to recruit?
10 How do I prepare for the interviews?
The Guardian has a very useful top 10 of teacher’s interview questions.
11 Are there any online resources to help me?
Start with the following:
Author: Patrick Vernon. Patrick is a freelance writer, specialising in business and finance related content. Patrick has gained experience writing for a variety of magazines and websites, researching the latest money saving tips and offering his advice to the public. This post is written by Patrick and sponsored by education equipment supplier Hope Education.