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Primary: General

All our primary trainees train in a particular subject specialism. We offer specialist subjects of English, natural sciences, or humanities to trainees on this course - you can choose your specialism once you have been accepted onto the course. If you want to train as a maths specialist, then please apply for the primary (maths) course.

Who is this course for?

Our primary courses are designed to train you to teach in a primary school. Primary school teachers usually have one class of pupils to whom they teach all subjects. This means that a primary course needs to place a strong emphasis on building up your expertise in all of the subjects that you will teach. On our course, for example, you will learn to teach:

  • Mathematics
  • English (including reading, writing, speaking, and listening)
  • English literature
  • Natural sciences (including animal and plant biology, physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, and computer science)
  • Geography
  • History
  • Religion
  • Music and drama
  • Art and design
  • Physical education

If you think of yourself as an ‘all-rounder’ with and range of interests across different subjects and a thirst for knowledge of all things, then primary teaching may be the course for you. 

In addition to a wide subject repertoire, as a primary teacher you play a vital role in a child’s life. The children you teach will remember you forever. As a primary teacher, you will have regular contact with parents, and you will get to know the children in your class very well. Playing such a crucial part in a child’s early life is one of the great experiences of being a primary teacher.

Primary teachers on our course have a thirst and passion for knowledge which they seek to share with children, and they want to play a crucial role in a child’s upbringing. Beyond that, primary teachers come from all walks of life. You might just be finishing university, and wishing to start out your career in a primary school. You might have had an interest in primary education piqued by having your own children. You might have already had a successful career in another field, and wish to spend the last part of your career working in a primary school. 

Being a teacher is never easy. But it is always immensely satisfying. 

What will I study?

All primary trainees study the subjects of the National Curriculum as part of the course. Some of this will be taught in our Curriculum Centre and some will be taught in schools. It is not possible to master all the subjects you have to teach in your primary year, but you will get a decent introduction to each one and a number of chances to practise teaching each subject. 

Early in the course you will have an intensive focus on teaching phonics. Learning phonics is a crucial stage in learning to read well, and getting this right at an early stage in primary school is of the utmost importance. You will learn about strategies for teaching phonics, and get the chance to practise these regularly in schools. The same is true of basic numeracy. Young children need to learn their number bonds before they can do more complex mathematics. You will learn about different methods of teaching numeracy, the misunderstandings that children often have, and what you as a teacher can do about this.

In the first term you focus on building breadth across the different subjects you will teach. In your second term you will focus in depth on your specialist subject. As part of this you will have focused training in that subject area, and complete a project in your placement school on teaching your specialism.

All children are different, but some children face specific challenges in school, which are usually referred to as special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). You will study these needs and disabilities in some detail during your course, and learn the sorts of strategies that experienced teachers use in meeting those needs. You will also learn how to work with a teaching assistant.

How will I learn to teach well?

Through professional practice and through critically reflecting on your own practice. Your school placements within the course will give you the opportunity to teach, to observe, to practise, to experiment, and to innovate. You have the opportunity to reflect upon your own practice within your school context. As a course entitlement, you will have the time to discuss this with you school-based subject mentor; you can then identify the ways in which you need to develop as a specialist and as a professional. What results is a highly personalised programme in which, through dialogue with your mentor, you develop your teaching style, practice, and ideas in a bespoke way.

Through participating within a community of practitioners, including other trainees, your mentor, teachers in your placement schools, the primary phase leaders at our Curriculum Centre, and our subject specialist leaders (SSL).

Is there financial help?

You may be able to apply for a student loan to help pay your tuition fee or living costs - please visit www.gov.uk/student-finance for further information.