Learning & Childcare

Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) is changing and there has never been a more exciting time to join the workforce! In this growing sector, there is high demand and increasing opportunities for dedicated and enthusiastic professionals who can help give young children the best start in life at such a critical stage in their development. Working in ELC is an extremely rewarding and varied career, with countless opportunities to develop professionally and pursue a variety of roles depending on your interests and strengths.

Early learning & Childcare

Childhood experiences last a lifetime

In this career you could be inspiring children in their early years, supporting their development through childhood and helping them thrive as young adults. 

There are many careers available including early learning and childcare (like nurseries), out of school care (like after school and holiday clubs), childminding and residential schools which provide additional support for learning.

You could also develop a career in residential childcare which means providing a loving, safe and supportive home to children and young people living away from their families. Good communication, creativity, resilience and an understanding of how children and young people think and feel will help you succeed.


Primary School Teacher

You would teach primary school children and help them enjoy learning. You’d encourage them to take pride in their achievements outside school and be confident in their abilities.

Primary schools in Scotland, following the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), are usually divided into:

 • Nursery and P1 – primary (ages 4-5)
 • P2-4 – primary (ages 6-8 )
 • P5-7 – primary (ages 9-11)

The school you work in could be an independent school funded largely by fees from parents, or a state school funded by the govenrment.

You’d help the children in your class express themselves and play a positive role in school life. It would be up to you ensure they get the knowledge, skills and attributes they will need to flourish at secondary school and beyond.

You would teach all areas of the curriculum:

  • Expressive arts
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Religious and moral education
  • Sciences
  • Social studies
  • Technologies


You would plan your lessons to meet the Curriculum for Excellence national guidance but you’d have a lot of flexibility. So you – and your pupils – could choose what to learn about and how to study that topic.

Interdisciplinary learning is very important, so you’d have to create projects and topics that pull in elements from several curriculum areas.

Your classroom activities should develop the pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills and teach them about health and wellbeing. You’d also connect what the children do in school with the wider world through global citizenship and enterprise projects.

You would:

  • Create lessons and teaching materials
  • Assess the children’s progress in the curriculum and help them assess their own work
  • Make sure the children behave and work well together
  • Discuss children’s development and progress with parents and carers
  • Organise outings, clubs, social activities and sports events

Sometimes you will need to deal with bad behaviour, comfort children who are upset or help children who find it difficult to learn.

You’d need to attend meetings and training courses. You’d work closely with colleagues to plan the school’s work and with other professionals, such as education psychologists and social workers.

Secondary School Teacher

You’d inspire and motivate young people to study and learn. You’d help them get the knowledge, skills and attributes they’ll need for a successful and positive life when they leave school.

You would teach young people from 11 to 18 years old, in state and independent schools. You might also work in a college or learning centre.

You would specialise in one or two subjects and teach these to students of different ages and abilities. You’d prepare young people to take the National Qualifications and Highers in your subjects.

There is national guidance for Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications, which you would use when planning your teaching.

You would:

  • Prepare lessons and teaching materials
  • Assess students’ progress and mark their work
  • Manage classroom behaviour
  • Discuss students’ progress with parents and carers
  • Organise study trips, social activities and sports events


You’d encourage the students to take pride in their achievements inside and outside school. You’d support them to build good relationships with other students and teachers and play a positive part in the life of the school and the local community.

Sometimes you would need to deal with challenging behaviour. It may be difficult to get some teenagers to study so you’d need to be imaginative and enthusiastic to keep them interested.

You’d need to attend meetings and training courses. You’d work closely with colleagues to plan the school’s timetables, and work with other professionals, such as education psychologists and social workers

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. 

  • Ethical
  • Coaching
  • Motivating others
  • Mentoring
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Supporting
  • Social conscience
  • Respecting
  • Empathising
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