How to become a primary school teacher

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We all had our favourite primary school teacher but how do you actually go about becoming one yourself? Training to be a teacher is immensely satisfying and working with primary school children, aged four to 11, you get to see the benefits every single day.

Before you take charge of a class though, you’ll need to get certain qualifications and experience under your belt.

Essential qualifications 

There are different routes into becoming a teacher – you can do Initial Teacher Education or Training (ITET) and gain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or you can do a degree in a subject you enjoy such as English or maths and then study for a PGCE.

If you take the degree route you can then follow school-led or university-led teacher training – both routes will equip you with the right practical skills. You can even get financial help with teacher training. Some trainee teachers can get a bursary of up to £25k though you’ll need to check to see if you’re eligible.

Whichever route you take, you must have good GCSEs (A*-C) in English, maths and science or the equivalent qualifications.

Experience not always required 

It’s not essential to have work experience but most providers will expect you to have at least two weeks’ classroom time. Getting experience is a good way not only to make sure teaching really is for you but also to show how enthusiastic you are about the role.

Working with children in school, playgroup or a youth group will also help you build valuable skills and knowledge.

In addition, during teacher training you’ll undertake a number of placements to help build your practical skills – it’s all part of making you a well-rounded teacher.

What skills do you need? 

Naturally, you’ll need good numeracy, literacy and communication skills but the ability to motivate and inspire is just as important. Remember, teachers can be the most inspirational people in a child’s life

Being a teacher is also much more than just doing a job, you’ll need to empathise, be kind and caring. You’ll also need good IT and organisational skills – controlling 30 lively children is no mean feat! 

Opportunities

Once you’ve qualified you might be able to get a full-time position at one of your placement schools. As your experience grows you could specialise in special educational needs or pastoral care, eventually working up to deputy head teacher and head teacher positions.

Everyone has a teacher they remember fondly who inspired and motivated them – you could be that teacher for a new generation of children. 

Browse our primary school teacher jobs