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Nursery Primary Teacher Career Guide

Early learning is a vital time in a child’s development. Read on to see how what it takes to get into this line of work.

Safeera Sarjoo
17th February 2016
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What is a Nursery Primary Teacher

It’s always difficult for parents watching their children start nursery. It’s their first step into education and being away from home, so knowing they’re in the company of passionate teachers can be a huge comfort to them.

Nursery Primary teachers, who are also known as early years teachers, work in pre-schools, nurseries and reception classes with children aged up until five years old. Nursery Primary teachers may also work in independent nursery schools.

They are specialists in early childhood development and work in line with the Early Years Foundation Stage. They plan and organise a range of learning and play activities for children to motivate them and help them learn.

A love for children and supporting their development is a must if you want a career in this role. In addition to organising activities, you will be expected to help with the development of their social and communication skills in a safe and supportive environment. You will need to work and build relationships with parents, teachers and other professionals.

Early learning teachers record achievements and observations and work to help make the transition into primary education as smooth and seamless as possible.

What are their responsibilities?

Nursery Primary Teachers have a number of responsibilities that includes

  • Supporting children’s development and learning through planned play
  • Set up activities and materials before a class starts and tidies up afterwards
  • Helping children to achieve goals set out by the EYFS
  • Providing a safe and supportive environment for children
  • Inform parents and carers about their child’s development
  • Monitor progress and handle any issues you may identify
  • Sharing knowledge with other practitioners
  • Supporting the development of basic skills, such as physical co-ordination, speech and communication.
  • Work closely with other professionals, such as social workers, on child protection issues

What characteristics suit this role?

Someone who enjoys being around children and is dedicated to supporting their development would suit this job. Other qualities that would stand you in good stead as a Nursery Primary Teacher includes the ability to work well with both children, parents, carers and colleagues to create a positive experience for the children you are working with.

A commitment to children’s development and equal opportunities as well as an understanding of the law around keeping children safe is also an important factor when taking up this kind of role. Having excellent organisation and time management skills is imperative and creative ideas for designing learning and play activities that will help children learn and hold their attention, engaging them in learning.

The ability to manage classes and deal with challenging behaviour as well as demonstrating excellent communication skills is important as is patience and a good sense of humour.  

Entry Requirements and Training

You will need to gain EYFS status in order to work within this role. You can achieve this by taking an early years initial teacher training (EYITT) course. You can gain this through a number of routes:

  • Graduate entry - typically a year of full-time study for those with an undergraduate degree but limited experience working with children. The most common route, usually a primary Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with an early years specialism.
  • Graduate employment-based - a one-year part-time route for graduates working in an early years setting who need further training to meet the Teachers' Standards (Early Years). This includes school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT), School Direct or Teach First.
  • Undergraduate entry - a full-time three to four year route leading to EYTS for those studying for a degree in an early childhood-related subject. Usually a BEd or BA/BSc with QTS.
  • Assessment only - this self-funded route is ideal for graduates with experience of working with children from birth to age five, who meet the Teachers' Standards (Early Years) with no need for further training. Usually takes three months to complete.

All of these routes will require you to have GCSE’s (A*-C) in maths, English and science, passes in numeracy and literacy skills tests and an enhanced background check by the Disclosure and Barring Service. Prior experience working with children is typically required by course providers – if your experience has taken place within a school or nursery environment, this is usually preferred.


EYIIT can be obtained directly from course providers you apply to. There are several lead providers who are working in partnership with universities and colleges around the country. Training programs usually last between six and twelve months and are a mixture of college and placement work. You will also need to complete training throughout your teaching career in order to keep up with new methods and ideas within education. These training courses are usually held as training days and workshops.


Reckon this is the career for you? Have a look at our Nursery Teaching courses on Training and Courses.



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