Teacher (primary): job description

Teacher (primary): job description

Primary school teachers provide children between the ages of 5 and 11 with a general education in line with national curriculum guidelines.
A science or technology background can be advantageous, as can extra skills such as music.

What does a primary school teacher do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Primary school teaching is rarely a 9.00 am to 3.30 pm job. Nevertheless, teaching is a very rewarding career with great employment prospects. Teachers are responsible for the delivery of all subjects, with particular emphasis on the core subjects of literacy, numeracy and science.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • lesson planning and preparation
  • checking pupils' work
  • attending parents' evenings
  • preparing for ofsted inspections
  • running extracurricular activities
  • undertaking professional development

Typical employers of primary school teachers

Primary teachers are employed within state-maintained, voluntary-controlled (such as religious-aided) and private schools. Teaching vacancies are advertised in local authority jobs lists, the Times Educational Supplement, the Guardian and local newspapers as well as their online equivalents.

Qualifications and training required

Although any degree discipline is acceptable, national curriculum relevance is expected. A science or technology background can be advantageous, as can extra skills such as music. All candidates must have GCSEs (grades A-C) in English, maths and science.

Anyone wishing to teach in state-maintained schools must have qualified teacher status (QTS) either by taking an education degree, a degree followed by a PGCE (Postgraduate or Professional Graduate Certificate in Education), School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) or employment-based School Direct training programmes. Early applications for teacher training places to UCAS Teacher Training are advisable during the first term of your final undergraduate year.

You can also become a primary school teacher via the Teach First programme; you will need a 2.1 or better in a relevant subject, 300 UCAS points and a minimum of a grade C in maths, English and science at GCSE.

To find out more about how you can get into careers in education via a school leaver route, go to the teaching section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for primary school teachers

  • Enthusiasm
  • Imagination
  • Commitment
  • Energy
  • Discipline

You will also be required to pass a disclosure and barring service check.