When people think of jobs in schools, they think of ‘teachers’, but there are many different jobs within the school environment – both teaching and non-teaching. If you’re an NQT, you’ll have been trained to teach, and spent terms in a school, but maybe you’re still wondering if a school job is right for you. You could look for NQT jobs, or consider your options, taking up a teaching assistant post or another role in a school. These various types of education jobs highlight a variety of roles in the field.

Apart from teaching and management roles, within the classroom, there are also teaching assistants, cover supervisor roles, literacy support workers and support managers. Many of these roles mean working closely with children and supporting and guiding their educational development.

Non-teaching roles.

If you are contemplating working in a school, but don’t want to be a teacher, there are also a number of non-teaching roles such as administration officers and managers; lunchtime supervisors; librarians; caretakers; cleaners and grounds staff. If you want to support young people directly, but not actually teach, there’s also pastoral care – in which you look after the general welfare of students. You will be working as part of a team and interacting with pupils and other members of staff.

Whichever schools jobs you are interested in, schools will conduct an Enhanced DBS check before you start, to ensure that you are safe to work with children and have no unsuitable convictions.

As a primary teacher or classroom assistant, you will be teaching children lots of different subjects – or as a secondary teacher, specialising usually in one or two subjects. If you’re passionate about the subject, are creative and engaging, and can evoke curiosity and interest in others, you will make a great teacher.

Teachers do more than teach, they help a child to progress personally and develop their characters. Good teachers set an example and are role models in how to behave acceptably. Working in a school can be challenging and stressful and no day will ever be the same. But it is rewarding and fulfilling, knowing that you have contributed towards a child’s education – and life. 
Some teachers prefer to work in the Special Educational Needs (SEN) area, working with children with learning disabilities, or teach English as a foreign language. You could be working with pupils from a range of backgrounds and cultures, of all ages and with different levels of abilities. Appropriate qualifications and experience will help you to successfully apply for one of these positions.

Education and school jobs: different motivations.

Someone once said that primary school teachers chose to go into teaching because they love children – and secondary teachers chose teaching because they love their subject area. Hopefully, the best teachers have a combination of both!

Most people in schools jobs make a positive career choice because they want to inspire and encourage children to be the best they can possibly be. It is a rewarding vocation. 

Working in schools is great if you enjoy working with children and adults on a daily basis, enjoy being part of a team, and building relationships with pupils, staff – and parents.

If you’re in a teaching role, even when the school day has finished, your workload often goes home with you. You will spend evenings marking books, planning lessons and preparing materials for the following day. There is time off during the holidays, but you will still end up planning for next term, and perhaps going into school for summer school activities or training.

To work in a teaching position you need to have:

  • training;
  • qualifications;
  • experience (teaching practice);

If you want to be a teaching assistant and haven’t had a relevant job, doing voluntary work will stand you in good stead.

If you’re uncertain, it’s a good idea initially to work on a voluntary basis in a school to give you an idea of what is involved and help you to establish if it’s the right environment or career path for you. Inquire at local schools, and see if they would accept you helping out there. It will give you a fantastic insight into what the job entails, and how a school works. Once the school knows you, ask them for a reference for future job applications.

Working in a school, you will encounter new challenges every day, but if it’s for you, you will find it incredibly rewarding and satisfying.