what is a reception teacher?

As a reception teacher, you promote a child's development through learning and play activities. Reception is the first year in primary school and the final year of the EYFS curriculum. Hence, reception teachers have a challenging role in introducing children to the school learning environment. It is an important class since children develop crucial cognitive, physical and emotional skills at this stage. As a reception teacher, you play a vital role in encouraging a positive attitude towards the school learning environment. You also set behavioural expectations for the children and build a strong understanding of numbers and reading.

You need to ensure your pupils have learned the basics of reading, writing and using numbers at the end of the reception class. Building solid literacy and numeracy skills is the foundation of all other learning activities. Apart from building educational concepts, you also ensure children develop personal, emotional and social skills. You teach them how to interact with others, empathise and work in a team.

As a reception teacher, you work in primary schools with nurseries or independent schools to implement the EYFS. In some regions of the UK, pupils skip the reception year, but it is compulsory in England and Wales.

Would working in education as a reception teacher suit your enthusiasm for helping children improve their learning? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a reception teacher role.

reception teacher jobs

average salary of a reception teacher

According to ONS, the median salary of a reception teacher is £35,995 per year. Beginners start with a compensation package of £31,370 annually. When you increase your experience, your salary can surpass £46,000 per year.

As a permanent reception teacher, you enjoy various employment benefits like medical insurance and house or transport allowance. You also benefit from contributions to a pension scheme, paid annual leave days and sick days. While there is no overtime pay for work after hours, you can receive stipends for organising activities for children.

what factors affect the salary of a reception teacher?

As a reception teacher, your compensation package depends on the employer. You will probably enjoy a higher salary working for independent schools since their budgets are not restricted. If you work in state schools funded by the government or local authority, you earn a pre-determined salary depending on your years of experience. However, permanent reception teachers working for the government enjoy various benefits like job stability and guaranteed pay.

The location can also influence your earnings. For instance, major cities like London pay reception teachers higher salaries to match the cost of living. The demand for teachers is also high, enhancing your salary prospects.


smiling woman
smiling woman

types of reception teachers

Some types of reception teachers include:

  • early years teachers: as an early years teacher, you train children between three and five years in basic literacy and numeracy skills. You prepare them for primary school by helping them learn how to write and read. You also help them get used to school routines and enjoy learning activities.
  • nursery teachers: these reception teachers work with younger children between three and four years. If your pupils achieve the learning outcomes of the early years foundation stage, they can skip reception class if they meet the age requirements for joining a primary school.


working as a reception teacher

A reception teacher uses creativity and passion for helping children improve their learning outcomes and develop crucial literacy and numeracy skills. Read on to find out reception teachers' work schedules and career outlooks.


education and skills

Some of the qualifications a reception teacher needs include:

  • undergraduate degree: you need early years teacher status (EYTS) to become a reception teacher. You can qualify through Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) schemes at undergraduate level. When you complete a degree in early childhood related subjects, you will gain the EYTS status.
  • graduate-entry: if you have an undergraduate degree that doesn't lead to EYTS, you can complete a 12-month graduate programme to become a reception teacher. Part-time graduate entry routes are also available if you want to meet teachers' qualification requirements.
  • work experience: having qualifications isn't enough. You need hands-on experience. You can participate in volunteer programmes in nurseries or find internship opportunities.

skills and competencies

A reception teacher needs the following qualities and characteristics:

  • ability to enthuse and motivate: as a reception teacher, you need to encourage and motivate children to participate in learning activities. Your enthusiasm influences the children's reactions to your teaching methods and keeps them interested in the learning activities.
  • storytelling skills: as a reception teacher, you ensure children look forward to school and learning activities. Children love good stories, and if you are a good storyteller and have a great sense of humour, they will be looking forward to your classes. Storytelling skills also help you impart various values to children through moral lessons.
  • ability to work independently: as a reception teacher, you manage your classroom activities. Hence, you need to be a good classroom manager and work under minimal supervision.
  • planning and organisational skills: reception teachers need to plan learning activities before class and prepare teaching aids. You also need organisational skills to manage various tasks associated with the role. For instance, you have to teach pupils, organise games and group activities and complete administrative work like updating progress and writing reports.

woman talking to children
woman talking to children


FAQs about working as a reception teacher

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