1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Primary or Secondary .....

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by ambertherm21, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. ambertherm21

    ambertherm21 New commenter


    I can't seem to settle on whether to go the Primary route or the Secondary route for my PGCE and wanted to reach out to you for your collective feedback.

    I have had some teaching experience in Early Years, Primary and Secondary and found that there were pros to cons to each but I actually enjoyed teaching..... Regardless of the age group. This is why I am finding this decision particularly difficult! Some days I feel better suited to Primary and other days I wake up and feel that I should be in Secondary.

    If I were to teach Secondary my specialist subject would be Drama.....So I suppose the question is, which would give me better job prospects? I have heard a mixture of things, some people say that ultimately Primary would be better but others say in an international setting Secondary Drama would be better....

    Any other teachers out there who found themselves in a similar predicament? What did you go for in the end and do you regret it? Any suggestions for someone who is struggling with this decision?
  2. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    Apply for both and see how you get on at interview. Join a PGCE course in one and see if you like it. If not swap.
    Lara mfl 05 and agathamorse like this.
  3. ambertherm21

    ambertherm21 New commenter

    Thanks for your tip! I didn't really think I could switch mid-way - I would be doing a PGCE as a distance course which may make switching harder, though I am not 100%....

    I have also had some people suggest that even if I completed a secondary PGCE I could still be accepted into a primary position, but not the other way round..... Not sure if in practice this is true though.....
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Once you have finished training you can teach any age.

    I trained in secondary, spent most of my career in primary and now teach in nursery.
    Pomza, Lara mfl 05 and agathamorse like this.
  5. Northern_Miss

    Northern_Miss New commenter

    Most primary schools won't hire someone trained as a Secondary Teacher, as they have no experience teaching in a primary setting... So even if you can technically make the switch, it's not a likely outcome. I had to move to London, where there are teacher shortages, to do it.

    In most areas, there are more primary schools than secondary schools and most primary teachers are comfortable teaching multiple year groups. This means it's easier to find a job in a primary school than as a specialist teacher in a secondary school... If you want to work in a rural area, these factors are worth considering now.

    However, I would argue that Primary Teachers have a greater workload (in my own experience). Having the same 30 children all day, every day, can be very rewarding though.
    Lara mfl 05, agathamorse and CWadd like this.
  6. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    There is something I will add - beware of the size of the school. Some very small primaries (100-300 students, for example) will expect people to lead and co-ordinate subjects/development even in their NQT year.

    I've known colleagues who have gone from Secondary to Primary, but often because they can offer a specific skill - Art co-ordinator (was one), and another was a 2 i/c of English, who was offered a post to teach and lead in literacy. And this is in London.

    I'm in Secondary, and I've observed that Drama is a niche subject, and often secondaries will ask English specialists to teach it. I've taught in three schools that have drama departments - in two of them they were "one man bands". Be aware that unless you're in a huge secondary (1500+) you may be the only Dramatist, or be put in with English. You may also be expected to teach other subjects (English, or maybe a Humanities subject) for your timetable.
  7. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Many valid points made above.

    I actually trained in Primary/ Secondary when such a thing was possible. So trained as a Sec MFL teacher, but also had a year in Primary, which was great, though as ctob has pointed out once you're qualified you are qualified as a teacher and can be 'directed' to teach any subject / year group.
    For me I always say the difference between Sec and Primary, is Sec are subject specialists and Primary teachers are good all-rounders whose primary passion is children.

    One reason I opted not to pursue Language teaching is because I was so passionate I decided I couldn't bear to watch children 'butcher' languages. In fact I ended up with the best of both worlds in Middle Schools, generally teaching across the curriculum bit with opportunity to do some language work. :D

    Sadly everyone has decided Middle Schools are 'old-fashioned and not so cost-effective and there are only a few counties who still have them. :(

Share This Page