Dear John: Can I switch from primary to secondary?


I’ve always wanted to teach primary level, but as it’s competitive I didn’t get on the primary PGCE so decided to do the secondary. Six years on and I’m fed up and am thinking how easy is it to switch. Also are there any other options because at times I’m wondering whether teaching is still the career for me.
Dew A Change


This is not the best time to be unhappy in your work. Although the number of primary pupils will increase steadily over the next few years, especially in and around London, there are still many unemployed primary teachers looking for work. QTS allows you to transfer, and prevents the development of re-training courses. Many who switch do so after a period on supply, but that is a risky business in the present job market.

Decide what you don’t like about teaching, and what you do. They add up what you are good at and look how you can employ those skills in the wider labour market. You could, of course, find other likeminded teachers and try to set up a ‘free school’ to suit your ethos of teaching. Otherwise, tutoring, administration or seeking a job in a company training department are all possibilities, but jobs are tough to find anywhere at present
John Howson

John Howson worked as a secondary school teacher in London for seven years before moving into teacher training and consultancy, including a brief period as a chief government advisor. John is now a recruitment analyst, visiting professor of education at Oxford Brookes University and hosts our Career Clinic where you can post questions to him.