Secondary to primary school teaching

Here at Key Stage Teacher Supply, we regularly hear from teachers looking to transition from secondary teaching to primary school teaching. While there is no official ‘route’ from one to the other, here are a few important factors to consider:

The primary curriculum
Primary teachers and leaders need a much broader understanding of the curriculum, with no heads of department to rely on. Making the transition from secondary primary means moving away from subject specialism, and this is something to think.

There is much more interaction with parents when you are a primary teacher or leader, simply because more children will be picked up and dropped off for school. This is of course a good thing, and many primary heads are outside every day to greet children and parents as they leave and arrive.

Pupil behaviour
Every bit as much of an issue at primary level as it is at secondary – so don’t expect this to be much easier than what you are used to. Younger children often have the added frustration of not being able to fully articulate why they are angry or upset.

In general, primary schools are much smaller than secondaries, and so you will need to be of an all-rounder if you are aiming for a leadership role as you will have a smaller team around you than in an equivalent secondary role.

Perhaps most importantly – are there any networks that you can tap into/ Are there peers who can mentor you and help point you to research and good practice?

When we receive queries about making the transition from secondary teaching to primary school teaching, we generally recommend a period of voluntary work in a local primary, just to give you a feel for the environment, and allow you to make to best decision about your next move. That might not always be necessary though – especially if you have transition experience with Year 6/7 students. As ever, if you would like more information or advice, just give us a call on 01254 507210.

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