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Primary Head Teachers - opinion

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by dutschke68, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. dutschke68

    dutschke68 New commenter

    Hi All Primary Heads

    Thanks for reading! Would you be happy to answer any of the questions below? I'm considering a change of career from secondary to primary.

    Would you employ a teacher straight from secondary to teach in your primary school?

    Do you consider there to be any advantages to employing a secondary teacher in your school?

    Have you ever employed or known of anybody to employ an ex-secondary teacher in their school? If yes, was it a success?

    Most secondary teachers would probably say that their main selling points to a primary school would be:
    Behaviour / classroom management.
    Differentiation.
    PSHE.
    Dealing with emotional issues.
    Experience of dealing with exam pressure (GCSE / A' Level), which would be transferable to year 6 SATs.
    Subject knowledge, as a specialist in a subject area. For example - MFL, to teach MFL throughout the school, or Maths, to take the lead on Maths throughout the school.
    Would you, as experienced, primary head teachers agree that these would be advantages, or are they skills which are less important at primary level?

    If you were to consider employing a teacher moving from secondary, which subject specialisms would appeal to you? Maths? English? MFL? Science? Others?

    Would you sooner invite a primary trained NQT straig from uni, or an experienced secondary teacher to interview?

    Thanks in advance for any responses you may offer!
     
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    I have employed two secondary teachers in a primary school, one worked out and the other didn't! Both however were, to be honest, the best of a pretty poor bunch and I was desperate!
    as to the advantages you have mentioned, it is whether you can explain how you would apply these skills in a primary setting that is key, behaviour management in a year 1 class is going to be rather different to behaviour management in a year 11 so how would you adapt? Similarly, primary teachers tend to think that differentiation in secondary is much more broad brush-because of setting into different classes/streams the presumption is that you perhaps wouldnt be used to such a wide range of abilities in the same class. So how would you manage a year 6 class where you had children working from Yr 1 level up to Yr 6 level and beyond? The emotional issues of a 5 year old are very different to those of a 15 year old, how would you deal with this? Subject knowledge is less important, there are few subject specialists in primary schools ( except perhaps private ones) Unless I wanted ( and could afford) to employ a teacher just for PPA cover who would lead MFL across the school, I want someone confident to teach ALL subjects well rather than one brilliantly!

    I would want someone who is clear on why they want to move to primary, how they would adapt their practice to a younger audience, how confident and knowledgeable they were across all areas of the curriculum and whether they were ready for the realities of primary school life, persistant parent presence, marking and feedback which, despite all the gumpf about work/life balance is pretty much every night and weekend too, wet pants and year 4 cat fights, the lot!
     
    Jesmond12 and welshwales like this.
  3. Oldbutnotreally

    Oldbutnotreally New commenter

    Many years ago I changed from secondary to primary. I loved my secondary work but after moving house, there was no work available in my area so applied for primary and got the job! I loved this too and made sure I read up on all the basic knowledge needed, observed others, went on loads of training and ensured that I had a good understanding of those early important years.
    Of course, it has to be up to the Headteacher of the school you apply to and how much you are willing to work to fully understand this incredibly challenging role.
    I ended up as Headteacher so would always consider secondary trained teachers. Good teachers are good teachers, regardless of the age range they trained for!
     
    Lucy2711 and welshwales like this.
  4. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    I have employed a couple of secondary teachers in the past, some have been successful in adapting, others have not.
    Going forward, i would only employ a secondary teacher, if they either have some sort of primary experience, or demonstrates some sort of adaptability, otherwise I’m just wasting my time.

    In terms of advantages, it depends on the teacher’s level of experience and ability- if they’re inexperienced, then no, it will not really be viable, but if they are, perhaps, they could be utilised for subject lead for their respective subject.

    I once employed who was a HoD for English to initially lead the English curriculum within the school, they needed some guidance at first in regards to adaptation, but they succeeded in the role and ended up getting promoted to AHT in my school. This was back in 2007- they have since gone on to become a Headteacher at a primary school down south.

    I have, however, employed former secondary teachers who have lasted a year or so, then gone back to secondary, so it all depends on the individual.

    Hope this helps :)
     
  5. dutschke68

    dutschke68 New commenter

    Thanks, everyone.
    You've given me lots to think about. I am reassured to see that it is not a flat "no way".
    What has struck a chord, however, is that whilst I am feeling mysteriously drawn to primary at the moment, I can't articulate exactly why. This suggests that I don't know enough about it, to know for sure that I want to do it.
    I will have to try and think of a way to get an insight, whilst working full time secondary, in order to be sure.

    Thanks again!
     
  6. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Occasional commenter

    The best way to get an insight into primary schools is to go and visit them. I am sure that the team in charge of KS2 / KS3 links at your school would be happy for you to take part in enrichment activities e.g. having primary school students coming in to your secondary school for masterclasses or you going into primary schools to run lessons in your specialism.
     
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Half-term is not the same in all areas this year, if that might give you an opportunity to go and shadow in primary...
     

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