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Being a primary teacher

During your placements, you will begin to get a feeling about what it might be like to be a primary teacher. You will start with observing how your class teacher manages the classroom, understands the pupils within it and develops relationships with them. You will see how she or he makes difficult concepts easy to understand and how children are supported and challenged in their learning. Very quickly, you will take on some responsibility for planning and teaching and put what you have observed into practice.  

You will be able to fully immerse yourself in school life and see that no two days are the same in a primary school! For example, as well as learning how to teach the curriculum, you will also develop your understanding of pastoral support, children’s wellbeing, and even, perhaps, how to organise a trip to the zoo, or put on a school play.

The PGCE year is exciting, rewarding – and very full! Primary schools are extremely busy places and you will be supported along the way to manage the demands on your time and develop efficient and healthy working patterns.

Opportunities for career development in the primary phase are plentiful. The leadership skills developed across all pathways provide a distinct advantage as trainees begin their teaching careers and many of our trainees become subject coordinators very early on in their career. This is not the only option, and many of our trainees go on to take on whole-school responsibility for assessment, safeguarding or KS2/3 transition, for example.

It’s worth thinking about this early on. To help you consider options available to you, our PGCE programme offers you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the opportunities and demands of leadership roles within schools and consider planning your career path. You will also have the opportunity to reflect on your own leadership in the classroom and how these skills can support pupil learning. In addition to lecture and optional seminar input, you may elect to undertake a school-based leadership task in your final placement.