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Primary school teacher: Job description

Primary school teachers develop schemes of work and lesson plans in line with curriculum objectives. They facilitate learning by establishing a relationship with pupils, and by their organisation of learning resources and the classroom learning environment.

Primary school teachers develop and foster the appropriate skills and social abilities to enable the optimum development of children, according to age, ability and aptitude.

They assess and record progress and prepare pupils for examinations. They link pupils' knowledge to earlier learning and develop ways to encourage it further, and challenge and inspire pupils to help them deepen their knowledge and understanding.

Typical work activities

Primary schools in England (following the National Curriculum) are usually divided into:

  • Foundation Stage - nursery and reception (ages 3-5);
  • Key Stage 1 - years 1 and 2 (ages 5-7);
  • Key Stage 2 - years 3-6 (ages 7-11).

Primary schools in Wales (following the National Curriculum and Foundation Phase) are usually divided into:

  • Foundation Phase (ages 3-7);
  • Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11).

Primary schools in Northern Ireland (following the Northern Ireland Curriculum) are usually divided into:

  • Foundation Stage - years 1 and 2 (ages 4-6);
  • Key Stage 1 - years 3 and 4 (ages 6-8);
  • Key Stage 2 - years 5 to 7 (ages 8-11).

Primary schools in Scotland (following the Curriculum for Excellence - CfE) are usually divided into:

  • Nursery and P1 - primary (ages 4-5);
  • P2-4 - primary (ages 6-8 );
  • P5-7 - primary (ages 9-11).

Tasks are broadly the same for all primary school teachers and include:

  • teaching all areas of the primary curriculum;
  • taking responsibility for the progress of a class of primary-age pupils;
  • organising the classroom and learning resources and creating displays to encourage a positive learning environment;
  • planning, preparing and presenting lessons that cater for the needs of the whole ability range within their class;
  • motivating pupils with enthusiastic, imaginative presentation;
  • maintaining discipline;
  • preparing and marking work to facilitate positive pupil development;
  • meeting requirements for the assessment and recording of pupils' development;
  • providing feedback to parents and carers on a pupil's progress at parents' evenings and other meetings;
  • coordinating activities and resources within a specific area of the curriculum, and supporting colleagues in the delivery of this specialist area;
  • working with others to plan and coordinate work;
  • keeping up to date with changes and developments in the structure of the curriculum;
  • organising and taking part in school events, outings and activities which may take place at weekends or in the evening;
  • liaising with colleagues and working flexibly, particularly in smaller schools;
  • working with parents and school governors (in England, Northern Ireland and Wales) or School Boards (in Scotland) to maximise their involvement in the school and the development of resources for the school;
  • meeting with other professionals such as education welfare officers and educational psychologists, if required.

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Written by AGCAS editors
August 2014

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