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primary transition advice please!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by missaks, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. missaks

    missaks New commenter

    I am a secondary teacher looking to move into primary and obviously lacking curriculum knowledge is the biggest hurdle so I am willing to look at TA jobs in an independent prep school to gain experience. The salary is obviously a big drop but does anyone have any good advice about whether this will be beneficial for me as a stepping stone of some sort!
  2. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    What is your specialism? What subjects do you feel confident teaching? How much experience do you have?

    There are usually a range of specialist teachers at the upper end of independent prep schools. If your specialism fitted with these, that would be one way of moving to a younger age group.

    If you are wanting to be a general primary teacher, then you would need to be familiar with the curriculum in the whole range of subjects and be able to adapt to the age group. I don’t think you need to become a TA to do this, but you would need to be able to convince a prospective employer that you have the skills and ability to teach primary.
  3. missaks

    missaks New commenter

    Thanks or your reply. I think it is better to do something gathering experience than do nothing and wait for a school to give me a chance with no experience..one of those catch 22 situations:-/
  4. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    Supply in primary schools would give you the experience.
  5. missaks

    missaks New commenter

    Yes I think I was trying to avoid the whole daily supply thing going in and out of different schools. Not always enjoyable. Is TA work somehow detrimental to my situation?
  6. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    Is there a reason why you are looking at TA work in a prep school rather than any setting? Do you have a particular connection or do you want to work in such a setting as a teacher? Prep schools can have a different approach to an 'ordinary' primary school (e.g. some have a more middle school type approach to different teachers for different subjects for UKS2) so it might be considered limited experience still.
    What is your specialism? - I think in some ways it is easier to demonstrate your likely competence if you teach either English or maths as they are so important in primary (although with the changes in curriculum intent it possibly matters less now and I have known teachers from other subjects to switch). If you have a broad degree and/or spread of A levels it can help too. For example, I explained that my foreign/ancient language studies would help with English grammar requirements (I switched at the time of the national curriculum changes - it is possibly less of an issue now).
  7. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    P.S. When you say curriculum knowledge, are you referring to the full spread or the depth in core curriculum areas? Nobody is going to expect you to know everything about all 800,000+ (or 4 million depending on what start date your school opts to go from) years of the history curriculum plus the other billion things in the primary curriculum (but they would expect you to know how to plan a series of lessons and how to deal with questions from the children) but they probably would expect you to be confident at adding fractions with different denominators or identifying which sentence uses the subjunctive correctly (I'm assuming you would be looking at KS2 posts at least initially as I think that is an easier transition than KS1 because of phonics)...this isn't meant to sound patronising, but if you are anxious about the core curriculum, a good place to start would be the year 6 tests, at least for your own peace of mind (when I was training for secondary, practising exam papers was recommended by uni as a form of knowledge audit so I guess the same principle would hold for primary)
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I would look for a teaching post in a prep school if I were you. (It's more or less what I did when I moved...though I went to a state middle school, but very similar to a prep.)
    Once you have a teaching post there, with your specialism, you can then start to teach some of the other subjects as well and then move to a slightly younger year group and so teach more subjects, then stay there forever!

    A good thing about prep teaching compared to primary is that you don't always have to teach the really hard subjects like PE/music/French/art/etc because there are specialists for those. If you are reasonably intelligent, geography and history won't be a problem. Maths generally has a scheme of sorts, so that's sorted for you, and English isn't that tricky in KS2 and there will be a HOD to help out.

    Seriously, don't waste your expertise and qualifications as a TA, unless you want a better work life balance.
    1 person likes this.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I don't even know what that means!
  10. missaks

    missaks New commenter

    Thanks. Yes I could do MFL in primary but its v hard to find those jobs available. Yes, it is partly balance as I have 3 kids and need to concentrate on them! Thing is I know several teachers who went to good schools as TA and ended up in teaching posts as foot in the door etc...
  11. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    I think it would be a waste of your qualifications to work as a TA. There are a few teachers in my (large) primary who came from secondary. Could you do a part-time teaching post? There are always plenty of teaching posts round here for 2/3 day job shares. If you did PPA cover you don’t have all the extra nonsense that comes with the job.
    ViolaClef likes this.
  12. missaks

    missaks New commenter

    Yes I know what you mean but what about knowing what material to teach and how to teach it? I guess it is just learn on the job?
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    My prep has just appointed two secondary MFL teachers for September

    One is teaching MFL three days a week. She has youngish children and convinced SLT that she could adapt her teaching for KS1 and 2, but wasn't sure about EYFS.
    The other is going to be a full time KS1 HLTA and will teach MFL in EYFS with support from the classteachers.

    The person who left was also a secondary MFL teacher, but really, really struggled with teaching below year 3 and left to take a post in a much larger prep where she can just teach years 5-8.

    There are lots of possibilities, so don't sell yourself short.
    Best of luck though...primary is sooooo much fun!
    1 person likes this.
  14. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    I apologise in advance if this comes across as massively patronising but ... you say that you have three young children and are looking for a better balance...are you thinking that you could TA for a few years while they are younger and then apply for primary teaching jobs when they are a bit older or do you think that you would have a better balance as a primary rather than secondary teacher? Or is it that you really want part time teaching work which is difficult in secondary? It does seem to be easier to find part-time work in primary - I have seen a lot of vacancies this year for 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, even 0.8 so I could understand this. However, I think my workload in primary is higher than my workload in secondary so unless my experience is particularly atypical, I'm a little concerned that you think primary would give you more time to focus on your children. Unless as I say that's the real reason why you are thinking of TAing for a few years while your kids grow up.
  15. azhal-halil

    azhal-halil New commenter

    Go to uni get a ba in education or primary education
  16. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    I don’t think you ever really know what to teach (I’m changing year groups this year and haven’t got a scooby) but it’s all in the National Curriculum book laid out year by year. Caterpillar is right, primary is a lot of fun.
    If you work as a TA and they know you are a teacher I bet you a million pounds you’d be covering classes within a few weeks for no extra money (or an extra 50p an hour if you are lucky!)
  17. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    There is the National Curriculum and schools have their own quite detailed schemes of work. I thought Y6 maths was hard :eek: but its all laid out for you and you just have to keep one step ahead for the first year. Teachers in primary regularly get moved from year to year and have to mug up the content but it's not that hard. I have to say I think Y6 teachers are some of the best informed adults in the country.
  18. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    It all depends- personally- if you are a secondary teacher and you’ve been doing it years, you will find the transition difficult more than someone who has been teaching for a year. Moving from secondary to primary school will come with a pay cut, however, progression to senior leadership will be ‘easier’ than in secondary! If you are a middle leader in secondary, I wouldn’t expect to come in as a DHT, AHT or Phase Leader straight away.
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    These two statements aren't true.

    If you don't have anything extra like a TLR in secondary, then you should earn the same when you move to primary.
    If you have a TLR, then clearly you will lose it when you move because you will no longer have the same responsibility.
    Moving from like to like should not mean a pay cut.
    The reason statistics show that 'on average secondary teachers earn slightly more' is because there are more middle and senior roles and proportionally more TLRs.

    Progression to leadership is also not easier in primaries. In secondary schools there are many more middle and senior leader roles, which you can have on your way to deputy and/or head. In primary schools there isn't. So you have to end up doing lots of 'extras' for free to somehow demonstrate that you have leadership skills without actually having a role. Being one of a dozen members of SLT in a senior school means your area of responsibility is reasonably narrow. Being the only member of SLT apart from the head in a primary is a very different job and can be a far more challenging role.

    It is true to say there is no pay portability, so a school will offer you a post with a salary and it is up to you to accept, negotiate or decline. You may accept a pay cut to get a foot in the door, you may not. This would also be true if you move to a new secondary school.
  20. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    I know of someone who teaches MFL part-time in a state primary school. It gives the class teachers some of their PPA time. You could always contact your local primaries and suggest this - some may like the idea of their pupils learning French or Spanish etc. with a specialist - or they may actually be looking for a way to cover some PPA time. Worth a try, I would have thought.

    Alternatively, as @caterpillartobutterfly and I suggested earlier, teaching your specialism in an independent school (and then broadening your subject range and age range, if you wish) would be another way forward.

    Yes, I’ve seen this happen and I wouldn’t advise you to go down the TA route.

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