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Converting from Primary to Secondary - Citizenship, Politics and Sociology

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by lucyistall, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. lucyistall

    lucyistall New commenter

    Hi All,

    I've recently qualified as a Primary school teacher following completion of a General Primary PGCE. I have not secured a position for September as I held off applying for jobs as we had a death in the family and thus I missed the limited opportunities out there. Jobs are definitely thin on the ground at the moment (I'm currently in Lancashire but hoping to relocate to London).

    I must admit I was torn as to whether to apply for primary or secondary last year and finally opted for Primary due to the availability of courses locally. I've been told that it is possible to teach at KS3 & KS4 with my qualification. Is this true and how likely is it that I could do this? I would feel comfortable and would love to teach Sociology, Politics or Citizenship up to A Level. I have A Levels in Sociology and Politics and my original undergraduate degree is in Sociology and Politics.

    Would a school even consider me if I applied? Would it be better to get my NQT year done in a primary school? Would I be considered for supply work at secondary schools in these subjects? Is there anything I can do to convert, get experience or make it more likely that I could get a secondary teaching post

    If I'm being truly honest with myself I should probably have waited a year and done a Social Sciences PGCE!

    Any help or ideas would be truly appreciated :)


  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Technically you are qualified. However I think you'll be very lucky to make the switch to those subjects.

    Imagine you are a school looking for a sociology or politics teacher. They'll probably be the only teacher of that subject. Would you appoint someone with no track record and no training in teaching the subject, not to mention no experience in teaching teenagers or towards public exams? You're also likely to have to fill their timetable up with another subject, so if you can't get someone with experience in sociology/politics, you might prefer an experienced history teacher who will at least be on top of their lower school teaching, and used to preparing kids for exams.

    Sixth forms might at least be able to offer the support needed for a non-specialist NQT, but might also have plenty of applicants who would have more training/experience.

    Things you could do? See if you can land yourself some private tuition work in those subjects. Offer to run an evening class (but community education providers may want experience too). Take a cover supervisor post in secondary to at least get experience with that age-group, and perhaps talk nicely to the school about whether they might like to add sociology/politics to their offer the next year. Secondary supply - but there won't be much coming up that's specific to those subjects, so you might need to be lucky, although at least you'd have some secondary classroom management experience. Consider a more mainstream subject (but history teachers are not in short supply, so that's probably also difficult to get into) to start with.

    On the whole, you'd be best to get your NQT year done in primary. This year probably is worse for jobs than normal, so hopefully something will come up later in the year.
    agathamorse and TheoGriff like this.
  3. ABCDETeacher

    ABCDETeacher New commenter

    One thing that you've got going for you is that you've got a dual honours degree in subjects both taught at A-Level. There can be no doubt over your subject knowledge, and your flexibility to teach Sociology and Politics is a selling point that not all applicants will have. This doesn't make up for your lack of experience with older learners, but it'll go someway to helping.

    Honestly, I don't think you've got much chance in secondary schools with an attached sixth-form, but I think that you might have some more luck in detached colleges/further education. The suggestion about doing some tutoring is a solid one to demonstrate your experience working with learners of this age. Perhaps you could look for an LSA/Mentor/Pastoral role in a FE college to give you some experience at this age range?

    Sure, its going to take a few extra years to get there but I do think this transition COULD be possible. Good luck!
    TheoGriff likes this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    First, I'm sorry for your current problem, and current unhappiness, especially with grieving in the family.

    There are some good points made above, but I'll just put my oar in too.

    Yes, but not taught very much. Very few schools teach either of these subjects, and even fewer teach both. :( It's not as though you can teach English and History, or Maths and Physics, is it?

    The chances of there being jobs are slim, and even slimmer the chance of supply.


    Yes, FE or Sixth Form Colleges are a better bet, but not much, and the colleges are not that thick on the ground, are they? And again, getting a place that just happens to need both? I feel it's more likely that any job would be PT only, just one or two groups of students, not a full timetable.

    And then, as these subjects have been losing ground, they may well have applications from under-employed teachers with experience of teaching at FE level, and anxious to take on a few more PT hours.

    Yes, I am being blunt here.

    Yes, this makes a depressing read.

    And another point.

    I've been a Vice-Principal in a FE College, and a Head in a very large 4-18 school, so I know the difference between them. Frankly, in FE I would not consider an inexperienced person with Primary training.

    In Secondary I wouldn't either, to be honest, at the most I would have taken you on midyear to complete a course. For September, as the class numbers would be very small, I'd just cancel the yr 12 groups completely, and see what arrangements I could make with the local FE College for yr 13 to go there, or for one of their teachers to come and teach our group.

    Appropriate for me to say Sorry again at this point.

    Stick at Primary for the moment.

    Look on local authority websites, do a Job Alert on TES Jobs, do eteach, sign up for every supply agency.

    Go to the Jobseekers Forum, read some posts there and find tips on how to improve your application.

    Put everything you've got into that.

    You will not get a full time permanent job at A-level is my belief.

    Sorry again.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. eleanorms

    eleanorms Occasional commenter

    You may also find primary suits you more than you think. Upper KS2 children are really beginning to explore social sciences in their own minds; you could offer citizenship as a specialism - although may well end up with other humanities subjects. I'm not in London, but well within the commuter zone (one of the povvy parts). We can recruit EY or Key Stage 1 but have to really search for upper Key Stage 2 teachers. This year has been a bit rubbish for jobs, admittedly. But there are a lot of teachers out there considering their futures after thinking that they couldn't afford to retire, but now realising the world doesn't stop turning if you don't go shopping.

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