Primary school teachers teach children from the ages of four to 11

What does a primary school teacher do?

Primary school teachers teach young children from the ages of four to 11 (Reception to Year 6 in England and Wales, Primary 1 to Primary 7 in Scotland and Northern Ireland). You’ll ensure children have good numeracy and literacy levels before going to secondary school. You’ll plan lessons and assess work based on standards set out in the curriculum (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland all have their own specific curriculum requirements). Communication skills and excellent literacy and numeracy skills are essential for this role. 

What do I need to do to become a primary school teacher?

To teach in a UK state school, you’ll need to a have a degree, and a recognised teaching qualification. There are a number of routes you can take to become a primary school teacher.

You could follow an undergraduate Initial Teacher Education or Training (ITET) programme, such as a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree.

Alternatively, you could do a degree – this could be in a subject you wish to specialise in like maths, science, or English – then take a postgraduate teacher training programme, such as a PGCE or PGDE.

To get into university you will need to have completed courses like GCSEs, Nationals, A levels, Highers, the International Baccalaureate, or Cambridge Pre-Us. You will also need to pass a police criminal records, or Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), check.

Related skills

  • Administration
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Leadership
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Organisation
  • Patience
  • Word processing

Related subjects

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business studies
  • Chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Design technology
  • Drama, music, and performing arts
  • English
  • Food technology
  • Foreign languages
  • Geography
  • History
  • Maths
  • Media studies
  • Physical education
  • Physics
  • Religious studies

Essential qualifications

  • Undergraduate education degree
  • OR undergraduate degree AND a PGCE/PGDE
  • DBS or police records check

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

As a primary school teacher, you could be working in an independent or state school. School and classroom sizes vary depending on where you are in the country. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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