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Nursery Primary School Teaching Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working in Nursery Primary School Teaching. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work in Nursery Primary School Teaching
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Nursery Primary School Teaching Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Teachers work with children to help them develop their skills, knowledge and attitudes. The kind of work undertaken depends on the age of the children taught.

Nursery schools and nursery classes in primary schools have children aged three to five. The aim is to help the children in six main areas of learning: personal, social and emotional development; communication, language and literacy; mathematics development; knowledge and understanding of the world; physical development; and creative development. The use of play activities is the main way of educating the children.

Primary schools teach children up to age 11. Teachers cover most or all aspects of the National Curriculum with one class. Primary school teachers advise other teachers on their specialist subject and could teach that subject to other classes. Regular teaching of literacy and maths is important.

Some areas of England and Wales have middle schools that take children from ages eight or nine to twelve or thirteen. Teachers in middle schools teach the primary or secondary curriculum appropriate to the age of children in the class.

Much of the time is spent teaching classes, but work other than classroom teaching includes:

  • preparing lessons
  • setting and marking pupils work preparing pupils for exams
  • giving advice and guidance to pupils
  • liaising with other professionals, such as educational welfare officers, careers advisers and social workers
  • speaking to parents and carers about pupils
  • supervising teaching assistants
  • organising extra activities, such as sports and social events
  • attending meetings.

Hours and Environment

Teachers in state schools in England and Wales work 39 weeks a year in school. Hours vary between schools but are usually 9am to 3.30pm or 4pm. It is necessary to work outside school hours to prepare lessons, mark work and exams, and go to meetings.

Teachers spend most of their time indoors in classrooms, but also work in halls, gyms, laboratories or music rooms. Some of their time is spent outdoors, when supervising sports and games.

Skills and Interests

To be a schoolteacher you should:

  • be interested in the education and welfare of pupils
  • have enthusiasm for the subjects you teach
  • be able to build up good relationships with a range of people - pupils, parents and carers, other teachers, classroom assistants, governors and psychologists
  • get on well with pupils of different backgrounds and different levels of ability
  • enjoy working in a team but be able to use your own initiative
  • be well organised
  • be able to manage classes well and deal with challenging behaviour
  • have excellent communication skills in English (and Welsh where appropriate)
  • be patient and have a good sense of humour.

To teach in a state school or a private special school you need Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). You do not need QTS to work in an independent school but most prefer teachers to be qualified.

To achieve QTS you need to undertake Initial Teacher Training (ITT) - see Training section. For entry into all types of ITT you need GCSEs (A-C) English and maths. If you were born on or after 1 September 1979, you also need a GCSE (A-C) in a science subject. Alternative qualifications may be accepted.

For entry into ITT you will also have to:

  • be able to communicate clearly and accurately in spoken and written English
  • be physically and mentally fit to teach
  • be free of any criminal background that would stop you from working with children.
  • It is important to have had some work experience in a school - this could be paid or voluntary.

For details of qualification equivalents see:

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority
An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL). Please check with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.

There is no upper age limit for entry to teaching and mature applicants are encouraged.


There are different ITT routes:

Undergraduate route - If you do not have a degree or equivalent you can follow this option, which combines a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree course with QTS. Courses last three or four years full-time. You normally need at least two A levels, and at least one of them should be in a National Curriculum subject. You also need at least five GCSEs (A-C). Other qualifications may be accepted in place of A levels, including vocational A levels and BTEC national or higher national awards. These qualifications must, however, relate to the National Curriculum for primary schools.

If you already have a degree or equivalent there is a choice of ITT routes:

Postgraduate routes - lead to a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). Courses usually last one year full-time or two years part-time. Your degree should normally be in a subject relevant to the primary National Curriculum, and should also be relevant to the age range you wish to teach.

Some ITT providers offer flexible PGCE programmes, which can be tailor-made according to individual circumstances. They take into account previous teaching experience, and can be offered part-time, by distance learning or through a short full-time intensive course. The Teacher Training Agency (TTA) can tell you which ITT providers offer flexible PGCE options.

In England, it is also possible achieve QTS by training full-time in a school, through School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT). Training is classroom-based, takes one year and normally leads to a PGCE.

Fast Track Teaching (in England only) is an enhanced one-year PGCE programme aimed at developing people with the potential for leadership positions in education. Minimum entry requirements are higher than for other ITT programmes - contact Fast Track Teaching or the TTA for details.

There are currently financial incentives to train. Most trainees on postgraduate ITT courses in England and Wales can receive a £6,000 tax-free training bursary. People on the Fast Track Teaching programme will receive a further bursary of £5,000. Once qualified, some primary teachers specialising in certain subjects may also be entitled to repayment of their outstanding student loans and a £4,000 ''golden hello'' during their first teaching post.

Employment-based routes - In England and Wales it is possible to gain QTS whilst employed by a school as an unqualified teacher, through the Graduate and Registered Teacher Programmes (G/RTP).

There are two types of route:

The Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) - you must already have a degree, and training normally takes one year.

The Registered Teacher Programme (RTP) - you must have completed two years of higher education (for example, a HND or two years of a degree). Training normally takes two years, and during this time you complete a degree as well as working towards QTS.

If you already have considerable teaching experience, it may be possible to take less time to achieve QTS through these programmes - the minimum for the GTP is three months, for the RTP one year. Numbers on the G/RTP are limited and competition is fierce.

To qualify to teach in England you must also pass QTS skills tests in numeracy, literacy and information and communications technology (ICT).

Note: Former minimum age restriction of 24 is no longer applied, however, it is highly recommended that you have teaching experience before applying. You also need to fulfil the basic ITT requirements, and you must find a school to employ you before you apply. Contact TTA for details.

There is no legal requirement to gain further training in order to teach an alternative age group or key stage, eg move from secondary to primary, however, schools recommended that you obtain some experience of the age group you are intending to teach. This can be done on a voluntary or paid basis. Some LEAs and teacher training institutions may offer short conversion or refresher courses.


Most teaching jobs are in state schools. Teachers could also work in: independent schools; pupil referral units; hospitals; or schools run by the armed forces. Part-time or supply teaching is possible.

There is increasing demand for teachers and vacancies are most plentiful in London, eastern England and south-east England.

Promotion is possible in most primary schools to Advanced Skills Teacher, curriculum leader, deputy headteacher and headteacher.

Some experienced teachers specialise in teaching pupils with special educational needs.

There are opportunities to move into other work related to teaching such as: teacher training; educational advisory work; education administration; schools inspection; or private tuition. Nursery teachers could set up their own nursery or playgroup.

Annual Income

The annual income section is intended as a guideline only.

Unqualified teachers on the Graduate and Registered Teacher Programmes earn at least £13,266 a year.
Newly Qualified Teachers working in state schools earn from £18,105 (Inner London £21,522).
Experienced teachers in state schools can earn up to £33,150 depending on performance and extra responsibilities.
Advanced Skills Teachers can earn between £29,757 and £47,469 (Inner London £38,700 to £53,412).
Headteachers earn between £35,542 and £88,155 a year (Inner London maximum £94,098), depending on the size of the school.

All teachers working in the Inner London area are paid an extra allowance of between £3,400 and £5,900 a year.

Further information

Teacher Training Agency
Portland House
Stag Place
Teaching Information Line: 0845 6000 991 (English-speakers)
0845 600 992 (Welsh-speakers)

Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR)
New Barn Lane
GL52 3LZ
Tel: 0870 112 2205

Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI)
Rathgael House
43 Balloo Road
Co Down
BT19 7PR
Tel: 028 9127 9279

Fast Track Teaching Recruitment Team
45-47 Duke Street
Henley on Thames
Tel: 01491 845730

Other Useful Nursery Primary School Teaching Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Nursery Primary School Teaching job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Nursery Primary School Teaching Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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