Can a Primary School Teacher Teach Secondary?

Can a Primary School Teacher Teach Secondary?

Here we explore the procedures you must follow if you want to move from teaching in primary to secondary schools.

If you originally decided to specialize in primary education but now want to teach secondary, knowing how to switch disciplines is helpful.

We address the frequently asked questions a teacher might have about switching from teaching primary to secondary in this article, such as “Can a primary school teacher teach secondary?’.

Can a Primary School Teacher Teach Secondary?

In theory, you can apply to teach at the secondary level if you have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). By specializing in a particular area, a primary school teacher can advance to secondary education.

You need to have a solid understanding of the subject you wish to teach because secondary school instruction is more specialized. Whether or not your subject knowledge meets their requirements will be determined by the hiring school.

You could enroll in a Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) course in the subject of your choice to give yourself the best chance.

How to Switch from a Primary Teacher to a Secondary Teacher?

Applying to become a secondary school teacher is fairly simple if you have QTS. However, it will be expected that you possess some knowledge and proficiency in the subject matter you intend to teach. If you want to become a secondary school teacher, you’ll need to:

Can a Primary School Teacher Teach Secondary?
  • Earn QTS — QTS is a requirement for teachers who want to work in either primary or secondary settings.
  • Develop your subject knowledge and experience; having a degree in your area of expertise will make you more employable. While employed as a primary school teacher, you can always pursue these certifications. It will look impressive in your application if you can show that you have a thorough understanding of and passion for the subject. You could also work as a volunteer with youth organizations to gain experience in a leadership position managing older kids.
  • Make sure your cover letter and resume are current and customized for the particular teaching position you are applying for by taking your time with your application. In order to feel fully prepared and confident if you are asked to attend an interview, try to practice answering interview questions.

Why Would a Teacher Switch from Primary to Secondary?

Depending on the individual, different factors may have prompted a primary educator to transition to secondary education. A primary teacher might decide in some circumstances that they want to specialize and deepen their understanding of a particular subject.

Others might decide they want to challenge themselves by instructing a different age group and seize the chance to transition into secondary education.

What is best for them should be the teacher’s top priority. They take the necessary steps to ensure that their decision is well-informed.

What Skills Does a Primary Teacher Need to Teach Secondary?

Below are some of the main skills that a primary teacher needs when they enter a secondary role:

Can a Primary School Teacher Teach Secondary?

Interpersonal Skills

How the teacher uses communication skills differs significantly between primary students and secondary students. Although both disciplines benefit from having good interpersonal skills, primary students have different needs and call for different teaching methods than secondary students.

This is especially true when working with kids who are having academic difficulties or who are less responsive to various subjects. A teacher can maximize the productivity of their class by having strong interpersonal skills.

Deeper Knowledge

Secondary students need more specialized instruction, so it’s crucial that the teacher has a deeper understanding of each subject. Many primary teachers find that switching from a broad syllabus to teaching single subjects to a variety of age groups is a significant change.

While this calls for strong technical proficiency, it also necessitates adaptability and flexibility, especially when lesson planning for multiple groups at once. A teacher can increase their understanding of a particular subject by earning certifications like those offered by the Subject Knowledge Enhancement course.


Teachers must be exceptionally organized due to the added responsibility of teaching different age groups within a single subject. They manage their own time for lesson planning, resource creation, and assignment marking in addition to managing student plans and performance.

Can a Primary School Teacher Teach Secondary?

You may use digital software to organize your work to greatly simplify the process, depending on the school and the level of technology available.

Can a Secondary School Teacher Teach Primary?

Yes, though this move is less common. Being able to specialize in a particular subject after having a broad knowledge of the fundamentals is a natural transition from primary to secondary teaching. You must abandon a specialization and become well-versed in the entire curriculum in order to transition from secondary to primary.

The only thing you lack with your QTS is experience in primary education. By working as a teaching assistant (TA) or working as a substitute teacher, you might be able to develop this. Talking with the admissions office at the school you prefer is your best bet.

Primary teaching can be pursued in so many different ways, and conditions will differ greatly depending on location and type of institution.

Conclusion: Primary School Teachers Teach Secondary

if you have You are eligible to teach at the primary or secondary level if you have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Secondary teachers select a specialty subject and spend as much time learning as they can about it as opposed to primary school teachers, who teach a variety of subjects.

Be sure to consider your own objectives, aspirations, and dreams before considering any other factors that may be influencing your decision to enter the teaching profession. We all spend our entire lives learning, even those of us who choose to make teaching their career. Choose wisely based on your unique circumstances.


Can Primary Teachers Teach Secondary NZ?

As an alternative, you can complete a four-year conjoint degree, like a BA/BTeach or BSc/BTeach, which combines teacher preparation with study in teaching-related fields. You can teach both primary and secondary students if you have a conjoint degree.

Can a Primary Teacher Teach Secondary Scotland?

If you hold Full Registration in Primary Education you can gain Professional Registration in a secondary education registration category. You will have to provide evidence that you have satisfied the necessary academic requirements and finished a predetermined Professional Learning (PL) plan.

What is the Difference Between Primary and Secondary School Teachers?

You will typically spend the majority of your teaching time as a primary teacher with one class throughout the day. However, occasionally, subject experts will be in charge of the PE or MFL units. If the school offers post-sixteen qualifications, teachers in secondary schools teach classes to students in all year groups and up to sixth form.

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