Primary School Teachers are responsible for the education and development of children between the ages of 5 and 11. This is a critical time period in a child’s life as they develop the functional skills and knowledge that forms the basis of their academic success.


Primary School Teachers are different to Secondary Teachers as they cover a broad range of topics across the curriculum. Secondary Teachers will typically specialise in one or two subjects. This means that Primary Teachers must be able to teach all subjects effectively even though they have areas of particular interest or expertise.


As well as delivering the entire curriculum, Primary School Teachers monitor student progress closely. This will include tracking academic success and keeping an eye on their emotional and social development. If a pupil is struggling with a subject or experiencing difficulties outside the classroom, Primary Teachers must identify the issue and take steps to help.


In this guide we outline the responsibilities, qualifications, salary expectations, and career opportunities for Primary Teachers.

Responsibilities of a Primary School Teacher


A Primary Teacher will spend most of their days teaching and working with students but there are also other responsibilities as well. Here are a few duties a Primary Teacher can be expected to carry out during the day:


  • Planning, preparing and delivering lessons across various subjects in the curriculum including literacy, numeracy, history, geography, science, art, design technology and IT.
  • Assessing student progress and adjusting teaching methods accordingly.
  • Greeting and communicating with parents/guardians regarding student performance and behaviour.
  • Marking students’ work and providing feedback.
  • Ensuring all students are wearing the correct uniform and maintaining a good level of hygiene.
  • Making sure that the classroom is neat and tidy.
  • Collaborating with colleagues and school staff on curriculum development and student support.
  • Managing the work of Teaching Assistants and support staff.
  • Ensuring students are aware of expectations and classroom rules.
  • Taking attendance and managing any attendance-related issues.
  • Providing additional support or enrichment activities for students as needed.
  • Participating in professional development and continuing education opportunities.
  • Maintaining records and documentation related to student performance and behaviour.
  • Attending meetings with other staff members to discuss school policies, student progress, and any issues that may arise.
  • Patrolling the playground during break times to make sure students behave appropriately and are safe.
  • Organising and leading after-school clubs and activities.
  • Planning and managing school trips and events.

Required skills for a Primary Teacher


While becoming a Primary Teacher is rewarding, it can be a challenging career at times. There are skills that would be beneficial when going into this role. Here are some common skills of a successful Primary Teacher:


  • Strong verbal and written communication skills: Essential for effectively conveying information to students, parents, and colleagues, as well as fostering a positive learning environment. 
  • Patience and empathy: Crucial for understanding and supporting students who may have varying learning styles, abilities, and backgrounds. 
  • Adaptability and flexibility: Important for adjusting teaching strategies and lesson plans to meet the needs of diverse learners and unexpected situations. 
  • Creativity: Vital for lesson planning, engaging students and making learning enjoyable and meaningful. 
  • Organisational skills: Needed for managing lesson plans, grading, paperwork, and other administrative tasks efficiently. 
  • Collaboration and teamwork: Important for working effectively with colleagues, parents, and other professionals to support student success. 
  • Problem-solving abilities: Necessary for addressing challenges that arise in the classroom, whether academic, behavioural, or logistical. 
  • Time management: Necessary for effectively balancing the various demands of teaching, including lesson planning, grading, meetings, and professional development. 
  • Critical thinking: Analysing and evaluating different situations and problems in the classroom to make informed decisions and develop effective strategies to enhance learning. 

Education and qualifications


To become a Primary Teacher, you will typically need at least 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, Maths and Science. You will also need a minimum of 2 A-Levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications.


Next, you will need to go through higher education. 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 


The most common route to become a Primary Teacher is through a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree. University degrees in education often cover topics such as child development, curriculum design, educational psychology, and teaching methods. They also include supervised teaching placements where students gain hands-on experience in the classroom under the guidance of experienced teachers.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree without qualified teacher status, you can complete a postgraduate teaching qualification such as a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). This can be done at university or through a training programme based in a school. 


Upon completion of your undergraduate course and/or PGCE, graduates are eligible to apply for qualified teacher status (QTS), which is required to teach in state-maintained schools in the UK. You can do this by completing a teacher training course or assessment, such as the Assessment Only (AO) route or the School Direct programme. Click here to view a variety of online teaching courses.

Other qualification routes


Alternatively, individuals can pursue a degree level teaching apprenticeship if they have a degree and want to teach 5- to 11-year-olds. Apprentices receive on-the-job training and support from experienced teachers while earning a salary. This offers the chance for people to earn while they learn, and gain a degree without student debt. You’ll usually need GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) and a degree for a teaching apprenticeship.   


Another pathway to becoming a primary school teacher in the UK is through gaining experience in educational settings and then pursuing further qualifications while working. This route may be suitable for individuals who already have experience working with children, such as Teaching Assistants, Nursery Workers, or Youth Workers. They can gain experience in schools while working towards qualifications such as a foundation degree or a degree with QTS. 


Regardless of the pathway chosen, individuals aspiring to become Primary School Teachers in the UK must undertake an enhanced background check, known as a Disclosure and Barring Service check, or DBS. This check will share any past criminal convictions or offences or police investigations with your new employer. 

Primary Teacher average salary


The salary of a Primary Teacher in the UK varies depending on factors like location, level of experience, and the school. However, here is a general overview of the salary range:





If you are working with an agency, you will get paid on a per day or per week basis. On average, a Primary Teacher will get paid up to £215 per day. Salaries may be subject to negotiation and may increase over time with experience and professional development. Interested in working on supply? Get in touch with our team or view our primary teaching jobs.

Primary Teacher career paths and progression opportunities



After completing all your training and experience for primary school teaching, there are plenty of alternative careers that you can decide to go into depending on your interests, skills, and aspirations. These are a few examples:


  • Specialisation: Primary Teachers can choose to specialise in a particular subject area or aspect of education, such as special educational needs (SEN), literacy, numeracy, or technology integration. This can lead to opportunities for leadership roles within the school, such as subject coordinator or SEN coordinator. 


  • Middle leadership: Experienced Primary Teachers may progress to middle leadership roles, such as head of year, phase leader (e.g., key stage coordinator), or curriculum coordinator. These roles involve taking on additional responsibilities for a specific year group or subject area and may include line management of other staff members. 


  • Senior leadership: For those interested in school leadership and management, there are opportunities to progress to senior leadership roles, such as deputy headteacher or headteacher. Senior leaders are responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of the school, including staff development, curriculum planning, and school improvement initiatives. 


  • Teacher training and mentoring: Experienced Primary Teachers may choose to become teacher trainers or mentors, supporting the professional development of new and aspiring Teachers. This can involve working in initial teacher training programs, providing mentorship and guidance to trainee teachers, or delivering continuing professional development (CPD) workshops for practicing teachers.


  • Educational consultancy: Some Primary Teachers transition into roles outside of the classroom, such as educational consultants or advisors. In these roles, they may work with schools, local authorities, or educational organisations to provide expertise and guidance on curriculum development, teaching strategies, assessment practices, or school improvement initiatives. 


  • Further education: Primary teachers with additional qualifications or experience may choose to transition into roles within further education, such as teaching in colleges or adult education centres. This can provide opportunities to work with older learners or in specialised subject areas. 


  • Research and academia: Primary Teachers with a passion for educational research and academia may pursue further study, such as a master’s or doctoral degree, and transition into roles within academia or research institutions. This can involve conducting research, publishing academic papers, and contributing to the development of educational theory and practice. 

If you are passionate about education and working with children, becoming a Primary School Teacher can be a perfect role for you!


Primary Teachers have a direct impact on the lives of young learners and help them develop essential skills to shape their futures. They instil a love of learning in students and help them develop a passion for education and personal development. Primary Teachers also have various career paths open to them depending on their interests and aspirations. By gaining the right qualifications and skills, you will pave the way for a rewarding career.


Are you looking for your next teaching role? Why not get in touch with your local branch or click below to view our latest Primary Teacher roles.


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