Routes into primary teaching

HA guide

By Sue Temple, published 31st January 2024

So you want to be a Primary teacher?

In some teacher training courses, the amount of training to teach history is relatively little. Once you have completed your training and ECT years (Early Career Teacher), it is important to know how you can improve and develop your knowledge and expertise in history. This can be achieved by developing your understanding of the history curriculum as a whole and its role within the whole school context. It will also be about developing your understanding of the nature of progression in history and the transferable skills that it brings. Lastly, history is constantly being revised and updated, so it will also be about ensuring that your subject knowledge is always up to date. Of course, your developmental needs will vary depending upon how far into your teaching career you are; you will find helpful guidance split by career stage.

The primary teaching route can cover the age range from 3-11 years old (nursery to year 6). Strictly speaking Primary aged children are aged 5-11 years with 3–5-year-olds known as Early Years or the Early Years Foundation Stage. Some teacher training institutions offer a programme with a pathway from 3-7 years, some 5-11, others 3-11. 

As a primary teacher you'll need to be prepared to teach across all 13 subject areas, maths, English, science, history, geography, PE, RE, design and technology, modern foreign languages, computing, art, music, personal social health and well-being and economic education, with the bulk of the curriculum focusing on the teaching of English and maths. The primary teacher has a strong pastoral role. This is one of the draws for teaching in this phase. The class teacher is responsible for a class over a whole year across all aspects of development including social and emotional alongside the academic. Some universities offer a specialism or enhancement in a particular subject so look around to see what would suit you.

In Early Years (age 3-5 years) the curriculum is organised into areas of learning: Communication, Physical Development, Personal, Social, Emotional, Literacy, Maths, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts & Design. History fits into Understanding the World.

Are you thinking of becoming a history teacher?

Teaching – and especially teaching history! – can be a wonderful and rewarding career. The HA have many years’ experience working with primary and secondary teachers from trainee level through to heads of history and we're here to help you on your path. We have a comprehensive set of guides and resources for anyone considering or embarking on a career in teaching history. If you only want to teach history then you will need to explore teaching in a secondary school rather than with primary and Early Years pupils.