Sorry if this has been asked a million times before...but what would be the procedure for moving from secondary to primary? Would I need to do another PGCE for primary, or are there other options? I have been teaching secondary art and design for 10 years, but have lots of primary experience through delivering projects with partner primaries, which has made me consider a change in direction.
Any help or advice would be appreciated!
Unless anything has changed in the last two years, a PGCE qualifies you to teach 5 - 16 /18 in state education.
I qualified as a secondary History teacher about 18 years ago, only taught for one year before switching to management development in a large organisation. 16 years later, having done some voluntary work at my own children's school on days off, I realised I wanted to be back in the classroom but this time in primary. I started doing Supply so I could get 'in at the deep end' expereince, because I had been told that there is no 'conversion course' for switching from secondary to primary - it is down to the individual to prove to a school that they can do the job despite not having trained specifically for that phase.
I was really fortunate and found a job very quickly. I love it and although it has been a steep learning curve, it is very rewarding and changing career is certainly one of the best decisions I've ever made.
That said, I know there are areas where jobs may be few and far between, so there will be lots of competition. It sounds as though you have some primary experience to draw upon in your application and interview, so that's a good start.
QTS is transferrable between sectors; hence the lack of re-training courses. You can just apply for a job you want, and the previous work with partner primaries may help, but you would be expected to deliver all the different subjects as a class teacher. Have a chat with a local head about your qualifications and the current state of the job market in your area. If there are some large primary schools there might even be a post for an art coordinator.
If a job comes up that you're genuinely interested in go and see the school, it's usually the head who does the tours and you will be able to ask questions and find out more. You might get an inkling about whether you'd stand any chance. I took a phonecall last week from someone who wanted to know if I would consider an application from a secondary trained teacher and am more inclined to consider her application because she took the time to call and then told me in her app why she wants to transfer and what she can offer.
I was a secondary English teacher for 14 years. Circumstances made me reconsider the primary sector, something I had put aside years before. My local authority stipulates that all secondary teachers planning to apply for jobs in primary schools have to do a conversion course. I did this at a local university every Thursday night for three terms. I don't think many LAs expect this but it would be worth checking. I'm glad I did it as the course gave me some insight into the demands of primary teaching.
Don't make the change if you think it will be easier because it isn't. Don't do it if you think it will take up less time - it won't. I loved my job in secondary but I couldn't see myself, for the next 25 years, teaching 'Of Mice and Men' etc. However, I love the variety I have in my day now and I'm remembering things I used to know! The chances are you will feel out of your comfort zone for a bit but that's not a bad thing.
You will be up against others with more specific training, you will be up against NQTs etc but I wouldn't let that put you off. Know why you are doing it, expect to justify it and then show off what else you have to offer.
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