• Background South West

  • career-training

    Sector Overview

    Education & Early Years

    • There are over 24,000 schools in the UK and 15,000 nurseries

    • Two thirds of all secondary schools are now ‘academies’

    • Teaching is a popular career for those who want to travel, native English speakers are in high demand

    • Nursery nurses start on around £10,000

    • In 2012 there were 442,000 teachers in the UK

    • The number of secondary teachers with a degree in their subject is rising dramatically

    Working in education is an incredibly popular career-path. It is one of the most vital public services in the UK, everyone needs an education! You are responsible for the development and moulding of minds. If you are a classroom teacher you will have to be able to appropriately encourage and discipline children, and be a role model for their future. This sector also covers college, university and adult education, which is ideal if you want to teach but would like a level of maturity in your class!

    Early years covers pre-primary education and care. The role can range from organising events and parties for younger children and toddlers to becoming a nursery nurse and taking care of babies.


    Education & Early Years

    Teaching Assistant

    This job is all about working with children; you have to support teachers in the classroom and help children with their educational and social development, both in and out of the classroom. Teaching Assistants work for about 30-40 hours per week and your starting salary is usually about £12,000 although that will increase as you gain additional qualifications.

    Nursery Nurse

    If you’re a warm, caring person who wants to work with babies or toddlers, then this is probably the career for you. Good communication skills, a fair approach and a responsible attitude are also required. Your working hours will vary and often include shifts to cover early starts and late finishes to meet the needs of parents. The starting salary for junior nursery nurses can be between £10,000 and £12,000 a year; this will increase as you become more experienced.

    Play worker

    This job involves you to plan, organize and take part in play and leisure activities for 4 to 16 year olds. Getting the balance right between responsibility and fun is paramount here, but helping young people have fun is one of the most rewarding careers you can be in. Full-time playworkers can earn between £12,000 and £20,000 a year. Managerial staff can earn between £25,000 and £30,000 a year. If you work part-time then you may be paid an hourly rate. Most playwork is in the evenings, at weekends and during school holidays.

    Pastoral Worker

    This job involves working with schools, pupils and families to find solutions to problems that pupils may have. Good listening skills, a calm and sympathetic approach, the ability to build good working relationships with pupils, parents and teachers and an understanding of the law relating to education and childcare are essential in being a Pastoral Worker. You will normally earn around £20,000 to over £30,000 a year, depending on your qualifications and amount of experience. However visits to students’ homes and other schools are common. You will often be expected to have or be working towards a qualification in social work.


    Education & Early Years


    If you are 16 or over then you can enter an Apprenticeship, which would teach you the skills that you need while you work, you’ll also earn a salary. On your Apprenticeship, half of your time will be spent doing the job and the other half will be spent learning in the classroom. Listed below are the Apprenticeship frameworks for this sector, which when completed will give you a Level 2 qualification in the form of a BTEC, Diploma or NVQ:
    Early Years Worker • Care Worker • Assistant Youth Support Worker • Assistant Playworker • Play Centre Assistant

    Advanced Apprenticeships

    These are equivalent to A-Levels and can usually be joined after you complete the associated Intermediate Apprenticeship. Advanced Apprenticeships are perfect for those who want a practical role as they learn while gaining relevant employment experience. People with Advanced Apprenticeships often progress up the career ladder faster than those without, because the skills that they learn are more suited to management or supervisory roles. Here are some of the Apprenticeship Frameworks for this sector, completing any of these will result in a Level 3 qualification such as a BTEC, NVQ or Diploma.
    Playworker • Nursery Nurse/Worker • Nursery Teaching Assistant • Youth Support Worker


    A-Levels are the most popular route into University and are sought after by most employers. The A-Levels that you take should depend on which area of teaching you want to specialize in, for example if you want to be a History Teacher, then you should take a History A-Level.
    English Language • English Literature • Maths • Biology • Physics • Chemistry • French • Geography • German • History • Other Subjects

    Foundation Degrees

    A foundation degree combines the University lifestyle with practical, hands on work. It’s basically a cross between an Apprenticeship and an Honours Degree. They are both used as gateway qualifications to a full time Degree because they count towards the first two years of your Honours Degree. Foundation Degrees normally take about two years to complete and you will be in both the work place and on the university site. There are lots of Foundation Degrees available in this sector, such as Teaching Support and Primary School Teaching.
    Working with Children: Education and Wellbeing • Teaching and Learning Support

    More Info

    Education & Early Years