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Careers in Teaching

What is Teaching?

Teachers are fundamental figures in a child's developmental stages. Teachers educate and guide children in their knowledge, competences and values from the age of four. Teaching young people may be carried out in an informal setting, including home schooling or youth work, as well as in the traditional formal classroom where being a teacher requires the right qualifications and skill sets. Teaching is the process of helping individuals, in particular children, learn specific things by delivering teaching material and sharing expert knowledge of how to do something. Teaching is focused on stimulating psychological and intellectual growth of an individual or group of individuals by another person that possesses expert knowledge in that field. Teaching can be seen as an instructor-centered activity or a learner-centered activity. An instructor-centered activity focuses on knowledge being transmitted by an individual in a position of expertise to novice beginners. Learner-centered activity is focused on supporting and guiding novice individuals in their independent creation of new knowledge.

Opportunities in Teaching
There are many roles available in teaching and education that are suitable to novice individuals and professionals with different skillsets and experience. Teaching careers include:
Early Years Teacher
An Early Years Teacher is responsible for teaching students aged from three to five years old, predominately in a nursery, pre-school or reception class environment. The responsibilities of an early years teacher include planning and carrying out lessons, and assisting in the development of social and communication skills of pupils.
Nursery Worker
The role of a Nursery Worker is to assist the social and communication development of babies and young children within a safe environment. The responsibilities of a nursery worker will be vast from feeding and changing babies, to playing fun and educational games with children.
Nursery Manager
After gaining experience as a Nursery Worker, the next step is becoming a Nursery Manager. A Nursery Manager is responsible for organising and financially managing the nursery, as well as motivating and supporting staff in their duties.
Further Education Teacher
A Further Education Teacher is responsible for working with children above the age of 16, including adults. A Further Education Teacher could teach academic, vocational, or leisure activities in a range of institutions including sixth form colleges, FE colleges, education centers, prisons or youth offending units.
Primary School Teacher
The role of a Primary School Teacher is to plan and teach lessons according to curriculum objectives as well as assess and mark the work of individuals. Primary School Teachers will also be responsible for preparing students to sit national tests and to progress onto secondary education.
Teaching Assistant
The role of a Teaching Assistant is to support the primary or secondary Teacher by relieving duties such as preparing the classroom, setting up and clearing away activities. The Teaching Assistant will also support students in their learning by helping with their reading and assisting during classroom activities.
Special Education Needs (SEN) Teacher
A SEN Teacher is responsible for working with students who have physical or learning disabilities, and emotional or behavioural problems. The SEN teacher is responsible for creating a safe environment that promotes learning through tailoring education to individual needs.
Higher Education Lecturer
The role of a Higher Education Lecturer is to work directly with undergraduate and postgraduate students above the age of 18. A higher education lecturer can be found in university and further education colleges. The Lecturer is responsible for planning and teaching in lectures, seminars, tutorials, and practical demonstrations.
Head Teacher
A Head Teacher is responsible for leading and managing the school. The Head Teacher will set school values, control finances, attend meetings and track the progress of both students and teachers.
Secondary School Teacher
The role of a Secondary School Teacher is to plan and teach lessons in accordance to national objectives. To work as a Secondary School Teacher you will need a degree in the Bachelor of Education or a BA/BSc with qualified teacher status (QTS).
Ofsted Inspector
To become an Ofsted Inspector, a professional will need a minimum of five years' experience in an educational leadership role such as a Head Teacher or Senior Nursery Manager.
Other educational teaching roles include
  • Educational psychology
  • Learning Mentor
  • Teaching Laboratory Technician
  • Education Welfare Officer
  • School Librarian
  • Supply teaching
  • Private Tuition
  • Education Administrator
  • Careers Advisor
  • Counsellor
  • Higher Education Careers Advisor
  • Academic Librarian
  • Student Admissions Officer
  • Community Education Officer
  • Environmental Education Officer
  • Museum Education Officer
  • Outdoor Activities Manager
  • Sports Coach
  • Training and Development Officer
How to start a career in Teaching
Career paths into teaching are dependent on the age group you intend to teach. The UK education systems can be broadly broken down into primary schools, secondary schools and higher education. The key stages of primary and secondary schools include:
Early years foundation stage (EYFS): 0-5 years at nursery and reception
Key Stage 1: 5-7 year olds at school in years 1-2
Key Stage 2: 7- 11 year olds at school in years 3-6
Key Stage 3: 11-14 year olds at school in years 7-9
Key Stage 4: 14-16 year olds at school in years 10-11
To teach at any age between key stage 1 and key stage 4, individuals will need to have completed and achieved a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). A QTS can be obtained by completing an Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programme either within a school or a university-based course. Upon successfully completing the programme you will become a newly qualified teacher (NQT).
To train as a teacher in England, professionals will need:
School-based work experience in the relevant age range.
A degree or equivalent in a 2:2 of above.
A grade C/4 in GCSE English and Maths.
A pass rate in the professional skills test for numeracy and literacy.
To declare any previous conviction and complete a criminal records check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Another popular route to achieving QTS level is by completing a PGCE, also known as a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. A PGCE is a one year course designed to develop teaching skills and underpinning knowledge. To be eligible to complete a PGCE, a degree in a national curriculum subject is preferred but not essential.
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