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Career Options in Teaching & Education: School Leaver

Do you get a buzz out of working with children or young people? There are roles you could take on straight out of school in teaching and education that don’t necessarily require A-levels or a degree. Take a look!

School leaver opportunities in teaching & education

- Child care roles

- Teaching assistant (TA) roles

- After school assistant roles

- Youth worker

A career in teaching and education doesn’t automatically mean you have to become a teacher. There is a huge network of support that runs around what goes in the classroom.

If you’re good with the smallies, then maybe a role in a nursery could be for you. A job in a nursery will require you to take responsibility for the safety and care or very young children on a daily basis: everything from feeding and changing nappies, to creating, organising and running fun activities and trips to help children’s development – and keep them entertained!

There are times when teachers themselves need extra support in the classroom in both primary and secondary schools. And this is where the teaching assistants come in. TAs will work with children on both a one-on-one and group basis, giving them extra help when they need it with their work and helping the teacher in the running of activities and trips. TAs will often have to develop specialist skills and knowledge too to provide support to children with special educational needs or physical disabilities. The supporting role they play within a school is vital.

You could also work in an environment such as a youth centre or an after school club, organising and supervising activities for children of various ages. If you’re an avid sports player, or music or drama is your thing, you could specialise in coordinate events around these interests. Some roles are available which involve working with children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and who have difficult home lives. These roles can be challenging, but also extremely rewarding.

Setting the school leaver record straight

A good set of GCSEs will be enough to get you started on a teaching and education career path. If you love working with children and young people, then there are plenty of opportunities that will allow you do just that without going down a traditional teaching route.  

If you’re caring, responsible, have bags of energy and enthusiasm and a knack for building rapport with young people, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t head into a school leaver educational role straight away. As you gain working experience, there’s nothing to stop you returning to studies later on to become a teacher eventually in the long term if you decide that’s what you’d like to do.

Formal education: Should I stay or should I go?

If your ultimate aim is to become a teacher, then you need to earn a degree (alongside at least five GCSEs including English and maths at grade C or above). And, of course, this means sticking to college to get your A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) and then heading onto university.

You can study any degree you like at university; you don’t have to study education. However, it’s smart to study a related degree if you’re keen to teach a particular subject at secondary school level.