Journalist and Writer
Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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The Quandary - 07 Jan 2010

My New Year’s resolution is to find a new career. Can I be a primary teacher with a degree in business studies?

Hillary's Advice

The only qualifications you need to train as a primary school teacher are GCSEs at grade C or above in English, maths and a science subject. With a first degree you can do a one-year post-graduate training, or a two-year part-time one, or train on the job. Your degree is in no way a handicap and ought to be an asset. Schools are now expected to encourage their pupils to be entrepreneurial and financially literate, but these aren’t subjects that most primary school teachers have much experience of.

However the more important question to ask yourself is -- do you really want to do it? Teaching’s a very rewarding career, but also a hard slog to get qualified, especially for someone, like you, who has children at home to look after. And there will be no guarantee of a permanent job afterwards. In some areas, falling primary school rolls are making it very hard for teachers to find work.

I strongly advise you to spend some time in both your local primary and secondary schools, either as a volunteer or a visitor. See and feel the texture of school life and try and work out if it is for you. Study the Teacher Development Agency’s website (www.tda.gov.uk) to find out more about routes into teaching and also the short taster courses it offers, and visit any higher education providers in your area who are offering PGCE courses. Think, too, about how you will finance your training.