Britain’s National Curriculum is generally split into four Key Stages, with primary school comprising Key Stages 1 and 2. The two stages help young students develop basic but important skills through a wide range of subjects.
Teaching in the primary school sector can be an incredibly rewarding experience, requiring you to help shape and open the minds of young pupils in their early stages of formal education.
As an aspiring Key Stage 1 and 2 teacher, it is important that you have a good understanding of the UK’s primary school system structure and whether you are suited to the general approach for this teaching age.
The Key Stage System Explained
Key Stages were incorporated into the British education system with the enactment of the 1988 Education Reform Act, which also created the national curriculum.
The 4 Key Stages break up primary and secondary school into sections defined by age, whereby each provides the next level designed to enhance and assess pupils’ learning skills.
As aforementioned, primary school encompasses Key Stages 1 and 2; KS1 students are mostly aged between 5 and 7 (Years 1 and 2), and those aged 7 to 11 fall into the KS2 category (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6).
The differences between Key Stages 1 & 2
Key Stage 1 and 2 share almost the same curriculum elements, with English, Mathematics and Science as core subjects.
Through Key Stage 1, the English subject is designed to help pupils work towards being able to read reasonably quickly and puzzle out any new words that they encounter for themselves. They are also taught how to write in complete sentences.
In Mathematics, the focus is usually on being able to count, read and write numerals up to 100 and write in words up to the 20th digit. Students are also helped to understand the concepts of ‘more’ and ‘less’ (addition and subtraction), especially on a number line.
Key Stage 1 Science aims to develop the learner’s inquisitiveness and observation skills. It also requires students to be able to identify and classify certain things, in addition to collecting data.
The Key Stage 2 English curriculum, which spans a larger portion of the child’s life, helps students to progress from reading with a focus on comprehension to reading to grasp overall concepts through age-appropriate literature.
Pupils’ writing skills at this stage are expected to evolve from being able to write well-punctuated and structured sentences to having the ability to express their ideas clearly across a wide range of subjects.
In Mathematics, the curriculum is structured to enable them to perform long division and multiplication calculations by Year 6.
This stage also sees students go from learning purely observable concepts through the Science subject to understanding more complex and abstract concepts.
Are you suited to teaching Key Stage 1 & 2?
Primary school teachers are expected to have the skills to teach in all subjects in the set curriculum and have a basic understanding of the material covered for the Key Stage they plan to teach.
Outgoing, personable individuals thrive as primary school teachers as this profession requires a high level of communication with both pupils and parents. A good sense of humour and patience in abundance will also place you in good stead to enter this profession.
World Class Teachers Primary Teaching Requirements
As a teaching recruitment agency, we match candidates who have already begun their careers in teaching with a range of school vacancies across London.
Therefore we require our UK primary school teaching candidates to possess at minimum:
– A Bachelor of Education or Primary PGCE, with QTS
– A valid passport and visa which allows you to work in the UK
– Experience in teaching the UK curriculum, or a curriculum which is very similar
If you want to find out more about our Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, and combined primary teaching jobs across London, visit the respective pages on the website or call us to speak to a World Class consultant.
Alternatively, you can find information on routes into teaching on the National Career Service website.