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Primary to Secondary

Discussion in 'Primary' started by StarTeacher1, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. StarTeacher1

    StarTeacher1 New commenter

    Hi all,
    I wanted everones advice, comments, suggestions etc
    I'm a primary school teacher and have qts, been teaching mainly in KS2 for the past 8 years. I want to go into secondary and teach maths. My degree wasn't in maths it was primary education. Having done some of my own research I don't think I need to get qts again but an option is to do ske maths and then get into a secondary school.

    Any comments, opinions, suggestions etc?
    VerityK likes this.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    You're correct in that having QTS qualifies you to teach at any level and it's a matter of persuading schools you are competent to teach Maths at the required level and cognisant of the demands of GCSE exams and the different boards.
    You could really do with talking with some Sec. Maths teachers and doing some research into the different exam boards for starters.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  3. StarTeacher1

    StarTeacher1 New commenter

    Thank you so much for your reply.

    I'm going to visit a secondary school next week so will speak to them and see what they say.
  4. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Sit down with a pencil & pad to review KS3&4 requirements via the Programmes of Study. noting ideas & procedures new to you so you can estimate the amount of learning before you, then get a GCSE textbook, CGP are good, and work through it systematically:


    From here repeat for KS5.

    People making your transition sometimes underestimate the knowledge & fluency required to teach KS3+ Mathematics full time relative to their previous position. Assuming good KS2 subject knowledge, difficulties often arise as a legacy of years of teaching inefficient idiosyncratic &or 'alternative' methods so as you identify weaknesses during your review & reading then do not attempt workarounds but tackle the material directly. The only thing which helps with Maths is more Maths.

    If you need to delay your transition to get up to speed then anything else will be a false economy. You will undoubtedly become more proficient with the material as you begin to teach it but the stronger you are going into this the easier will be your first few years, not only for you but your pupils and your departmental colleagues.

    Good luck.
  5. StarTeacher1

    StarTeacher1 New commenter

    Thank you for your suggestion. I'll pop into bookstore and pick up this book. Ideally I'd like to start teaching year 7 as I already have plenty of experience teaching year 6 high ability.

    I've always loved maths, I regret not doing it for A Level.
    Lara mfl 05 and Vince_Ulam like this.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    You are aware there is no such thing as a Year 7 teacher at Secondary level?
    A Yr 7 tutor perhaps, but generally you'd have to teach across KS3 and KS4. Some schools do have teachers who just do KS3 and of course KS5 has to be, or should be specialists, but I don't know of many who do and it's a shortage subject and trying to work out a solely KS3 timetable would potentially be problematic and unviable.
  7. StarTeacher1

    StarTeacher1 New commenter

    Yes I totally understand what you mean, I think it's more about getting confident to teach teenagers. Thank you so much for your help.

    Have you done the SKE Maths? I haven't studied for 8 years (since graduating from uni) so don't want to find it too difficult
  8. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Although initially MFL trained I have taught Maths several times on long term placements whilst on supply and taught from a variety of textbooks including Scottish Heinemann Maths ,which were good, as well as various Collins & Letts schemes.
    One of the best schemes was an online scheme called MEP Maths Enhancement Programme with good extra resources and differentiation.
    I'd agree the CGP books are good for revision and for you to update yourself.
    And of course for GCSE they have their own dedicated textbooks depending on exam board.

    Most schools do seem to have good quality planning for Maths I found.
    StarTeacher1 likes this.
  9. Imtellingonyou

    Imtellingonyou New commenter

    I am primary trained and until this year, have experience teaching from y2-y6, however, this year, I made the move to a middle school and teach English from y6-y8. Like you, my degree is not in the subject I teach and have found I’ve dine a lot of reading and learning. Although the children are up to Y8, they are extremely capable and the challenge is being able to deepen knowledge and understanding when you may have limited experience of how ks3 and ks4 develops. I have found it challenging but I am so glad I have this breadth of experience and have found some of the units taught to be engaging and it has allowed me to apply the natural creativity of a primary trained teacher to some really engaging units and content.

    Best of luck
  10. StarTeacher1

    StarTeacher1 New commenter

    Thank you so much
  11. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    I went from early years to secondary maths but to be fair my subject is maths. I found it quite daunting to begin with but my primary/infant expertise was really good for teaching those struggling with maths even in year 10. I went on to teach A level maths but my heart has really always been in early years so quickly went back there where I made my home.
    Maths teachers are still in short supply, if you have the capability and willingness to work and learn, then I'm sure a school will soon snap you up.
  12. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    I'm really struggling to phrase this tactfully, but I really have to ask why you would want to?
    I know this is going to sound horribly negative but this is what I fear would happen.
    Despite the recruitment situation, the very best schools will have their pick of the going-to-be-NQTs and are unlikely to be interested unless you have a very specific advantage you've not mentioned. Consequently, the schools which would be most likely to be willing to recruit you are going to be the ones that have some kind of disadvantage that makes it difficult to recruit. This could be location; a disadvantaged catchment; RI, Inadequate or SM Ofsted category; poor exam results, non-grammar in a grammar area etc.
    Then, unless the HoD is thoughtful, I fear your primary background would mean you would get more lower attaining sets than would be your fair share. You know that feeling you get when you're on the third week of fractions and many members of the class are still struggling and everyone's so bored with them, you could collectively scream? Well, imagine that you have to do that for four or five lessons a day for five days a week without the relief of a bit of history or music or PE or whatever you and the class like best...

    In answer to your question, I did an SKE course before I did my PGCE and for the most part it was brilliant and tbh in many respects was actually more useful than the PGCE. I had a friend who did one with a different provider a year or so before I did mine and from what she said, they did vary quite a lot. I would enquire about the specific nature of the course as although I thought mine was really good, it had a much wider remit than just going through the content for KS3 and KS4. The one I did was also in two parts so some people did a full year and others joined after Christmas. This was mainly based on prior maths education level - people without an A level generally did the full year. Are you looking at a course specifically for people who already have QTS or is it a general one?

    If you live in an area with middle schools, I'd definitely consider that as an option instead...
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  13. StarTeacher1

    StarTeacher1 New commenter

    I absolutely love teaching maths, I'd be happy to teach it most of the day. I don't find certain subjects interesting or motivating to teach. Also with so many cuts to school budgets I'm expected to buy resources out my own pocket to teach lessons.

    Also the children I teach always make excellent progress in maths regardless of what year group or ability.

    Unfortunately no middle schools in my area, there's only primary or secondary in my area
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Go for it.
    Or try a prep school where you can teach maths up to year 8 CE, which is more or less GCSE level.
  15. StarTeacher1

    StarTeacher1 New commenter

    I will look into that, thank you
  16. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    In my role I have several times considered deliberately trying to recruit a primary trained NQT/Teacher to teach low ability / sen groups in a pedagogically better way than most secondary school teachers are able to do.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  17. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    Which was kinda my point really, Flanks, and I don't mean that disrespectfully...I have always really enjoyed working with those pupils who found maths harder but it gets increasingly frustrating when you have no direction over what to teach i.e. you can't go back and establish proper foundations, which they need, because you've got to move them on and show progress and the progress they are making in class invariably doesn't show up in assessments or only minutely slowly, without the relief of a top set or some A level or something where you can actually teach some new maths and who will probably get it first or second time instead of rehashing the same stuff they didn't get or haven't remembered despite doing it every year since year 4 (and sometimes before)...throw in a school which has interpreted mastery as teaching the same area of maths for half a term at a time...chuck in a bunch of hormonal teenagers who are thoroughly disengaged or just dispirited because they know they aren't going to get a 4 and are consequently going to have to repeat it ad nauseam at college until they get to 18 and can escape...well, if none of those thoughts puts you off, then I'd say go for it!

    Everyone is different, so maybe it wouldn't bother you but it wasn't 'teaching maths' that drove me round the bend - I still love teaching maths - but 'teaching the same bit of maths' and hardly ever getting to teach anything that was new to the students...I will say that my feelings are particularly coloured by one school I worked in (it was a good school in many respects (apart from imo it's penchant for encouraging pupils to rote learn stuff through tricks rather than actually understand what they were doing, which I suspect might have caused a few problems with the new GCSEs but anyway) but I was a very poor fit for it) and not everywhere is like that - I found other schools much more enjoyable to work in...I guess what I'm saying is - and I don't mean to be patronising - but really make sure that your expectations of who and what you would be teaching - and the style of teaching - is what suits you before committing.

    I think caterpillar's idea of a prep school is a really good idea, especially if you do want to teach the full attainment range.

    If on the other hand you would like to focus more on the lower attaining groups, you could potentially look for nurture teacher type jobs - your background would make you desirable for such roles and although you would probably be teaching across a range of subjects, it would get you more experience of secondary schools, which might make it easier to make the leap to full-blown secondary teacher.

    I know my comments come across as quite negative so here are some positives (although they will vary between schools):
    Once open day is done, generally don't have to spend hours on displays.
    The marking load for a maths teacher is probably less than for a primary school teacher in KS2 unless you are unlucky enough to end up at a school which has an equally insane policy.
    Often more autonomy to manage workload e.g. choosing when homework is set/ to be handed in (some schools have a homework timetable but often this applies more for year 7 and 8 so still some freedom)
    Exams - owing to the greater number of marks per page and multi-mark questions, once I'd done a few, and allowing for the greater number of marks per paper, I reckon I could probably mark GCSE papers (at least old style) more quickly than nfer and equivalent type tests.
    Generally not expected to plan on a week by week basis and submit plans.
    Textbooks for KS4 are often quite high quality, although KS3 are often less well catered for.

    Things that are about the same:
    Number of and time spent in staff meetings/CPD/inset (and rarely have to travel for them unlike some primaries)

    Admin - does vary a lot according to school but what I'd say is that the overall level is about the same BUT the distribution is often different e.g. I don't think I ever had to write a letter or produce a newsletter to parents in secondary but this is expected all the time in primary; same with updating websites/social media etc. Often more admin support in secondary for trips etc. I've written out far more safeguarding forms, behaviour incident logs etc. in primary than in secondary but that might just be coincidence. Generally I'd say that secondary schools have more electronic systems than primary schools do so whereas on primary you are constantly filling in bits of paper, it is more likely to be handled electronically in secondary; this can result in extra tasks e.g. updating show my homework
    More data dumps in secondary (because of multiple year groups) but often reports, parents' evenings etc. are spread out throughout the year. Also unless it is a new thing, you generally don't seem to have to go through multiple objectives and check whether children are secure, nearly there or miles off unlike some primaries (target tracker, classroom monitor etc.)

    Things which depend entirely on school:
    Resources - I've worked in one secondary school where our departmental photocopying budget wasn't enough to copy all the GCSE assessment papers we needed, let alone anything else, so secondary isn't always better resourced!

    Sorry for the long reply!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  18. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    This is just an idea, but something I thought of. There is a Special School near me which takes pupils from 4-19. They are regularly advertising for secondary teachers for various subjects but says the students are working at primary level. The class sizes are much smaller than mainstream. It sounds like it would be really rewarding. It depends if there are any secondary Special Schools in your area though.

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