Role of the Class Teacher in Primary Schools

Effective teaching and learning is critically important for all pupils, and especially for those with special educational needs. Meaningful inclusion implies that all pupils are taught in stimulating and supportive classroom environments where they are respected and valued. Mainstream class teachers have first-line responsibility for the education of all pupils in their classes. Accordingly, classroom teachers should ensure that they plan their lessons carefully to address the diverse needs within the classroom. They may need to adapt their teaching approaches for some pupils whose individual progress, application, motivation, communication, behaviour or interaction with peers are causes for concern. This may require targeted interventions to develop relevant adaptive skills related to these needs. All mainstream class teachers should implement teaching approaches and methodologies that facilitate the meaningful inclusion of pupils with special educational needs. These include:

  • Co-operative teaching and learning within mainstream classrooms
  • Collaborative problem-solving activities
  • Heterogeneous group work
  • Differentiation
  • Interventions to promote social and emotional competence
  • Embedding Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in teaching, learning and assessment

For information on training and support for interventions, please see section on Continuing Professional Development

Every pupil needs to be taught a broad and balanced curriculum that is appropriate to his/her developmental level. Pupils’ levels of interest, attention, concentration and persistence should be gradually developed, extended and rewarded, using appropriate teaching strategies. To cater for the range of learning needs in any class, mainstream class teachers will regularly need to differentiate their lessons. This can be achieved by:

  • Varying the level, structure, mode of instruction and pace of lessons to meet individual needs
  • Adapting lessons to take account of pupils’ interests
  • Matching tasks to pupils’ abilities and needs
  • Adapting and utilising resources, including the use of technology
  • Aspiring towards suitably challenging learning outcomes and assessing accordingly

Teachers can make lessons accessible to a broad range of pupils through the use of a variety of appropriate teaching approaches and methodologies, including active learning, small-group tuition, individual teaching, and scaffolded instruction. This may also require environmental adaptations to promote curricular access.