Primary School Teacher

Job Description:

Primary school teachers are responsible for the educational, social and emotional development of children from age 5 to 11.

Job Category:

What you will do:

You could:

  • plan lessons and prepare teaching materials
  • set up the classroom, organise displays and resources
  • teach whole class lessons, work with small groups and do practical activities
  • direct the work of learning support and teaching assistants
  • mark and assess children’s work
  • provide a safe and healthy environment and follow safeguarding procedures
  • update records
  • talk to parents and carers about their children’s progress
  • work with other professionals like education psychologists and social workers
  • attend meetings and training
  • organise outings, after school clubs, school social activities and sports events
  • work and attend meetings outside of usual working hours


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to create the best conditions for learning or teaching new things
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • creative skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a primary school teacher in the UK typically involves pursuing a specific educational and training path. While there are no specific GCSE subjects required to become a primary school teacher, you should aim to take GCSEs that will provide a strong foundation for your future education and teaching career. Here are some general GCSE subjects and skills that can be beneficial:

  1. English Language: Good communication skills, including strong reading and writing abilities, are crucial for teaching primary school students.
  2. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are essential for teaching numeracy and helping students with math concepts.
  3. Science: A general understanding of science can be valuable for teaching elementary science concepts in primary school.
  4. History and Geography: Knowledge in these subjects can be useful for teaching social studies and helping students understand the world around them.
  5. Physical Education (PE): Basic knowledge of physical education can be beneficial for organizing and supervising physical activities and lessons.
  6. Art and Design, Music, or Drama: Familiarity with creative subjects can be advantageous for delivering well-rounded and engaging lessons.
  7. Child Development or Psychology: While not commonly offered at the GCSE level, an understanding of child development or psychology can provide insights into the cognitive and emotional development of children.

In addition to your GCSEs, you will need to continue your education by completing A-levels or an equivalent qualification. Common A-level subjects for those aspiring to be primary school teachers include Psychology, Education, and subjects related to the age group you wish to teach (e.g., Early Childhood Education). Universities and teacher training programs often have specific entry requirements, so it’s important to check the admission criteria of the program you intend to apply to.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You can do an undergraduate degree that leads to qualified teacher status (QTS), for example:

  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) with QTS
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS

You can also complete a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE), if you have a first degree without QTS. This can be done at university or on a school-based training programme.

There are more training options if you want to change career or specialise in teaching certain subjects.

You can get into this career through a postgraduate teaching apprenticeship, if you have a degree and want to teach 5 to 11 year olds.

You could start as a teaching assistant and do a part-time degree. You could then move onto a postgraduate teaching course to qualify as a teacher.

You’ll find it helpful to get some experience of working with children though this is not essential. You can do this through paid work or by volunteering at a school, helping at an after-school club or working on a holiday scheme.

You’ll need to pass enhanced background checks too.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work at a school or at a pupil referral unit.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

Career Path & Progression:

You could teach pupils with special educational needs or move into pastoral care.

With experience, you could become a specialist leader of education, supporting teachers in other schools.

You could be a curriculum leader, deputy head and headteacher, or move into private tuition.

There are also opportunities to teach overseas in international schools.