My DSis did her PGCE as a secondary art teacher when she was 40. She is an artist who prior to that had previously done a FE PGCE, had wide community experience with workshops, playwork, environmental art, lots of things. After qualifying she struggled to find a job but then managed to get cover for two terms although I think only one in the end counted towards her NQT. Since then she has been doing supply, sometimes a lot, sometimes not so much and trying to find other work or doing her own business type thing, which involves more workshops/community art etc (and some more new agey type stuff, which I'm less keen on but that's my own opinion). In the past year she's done a lot of supply, and last term and I think the one before it was full-time effectively. She has also got quite disheartened with secondary and has been doing lots of primary supply, and has considered doing the crossover course for it. During her time teaching and previously, she has worked in special needs with difficult children and she has really enjoyed this and I think is very good at it. However she is now 46, and thinks, and I believe has been told by other teachers in a similar position to her, that she is now too old to get a permanent job. She would take a part-time permanent post. She lives in south Wales, and has told me that only one in three teachers actually gets a job there. I don't know how true that is. She is not in a very good financial situation as she is a lone parent with two dcs 12 and 10 and absolutely no support from their dad as he is foreign, poor and a selfish c*** and lives overseas for half the year in a developing nation. She has to sign on for holidays or times where there's not much supply and it's always a struggle.
If there are any teachers out there, like heads etc or just those in the know, can you tell me if her assessment is right? She doesn't really have anyone much she can talk to about this and I'd like to be able to give her some informed support. Any advice?
I wish I could help. I think it might be v specific to area though. I am a similar age, arts background, and similar family circumstances to your dsis and I am doing a mat cover at present. Has she completed NQT year? the other thing is as far as I know you don't need to do a course to teach primary if you have QTS. It would depend on finding a school willing to take you ... Early Years offers a lot of scope for creativity. Good luck to her. She is not old!
It's not necessarily her age as such; she's still presumably quite affordable as an NQT! It's more old lags like me (a few years younger than your dsis, but teaching 14 years & so at the top of the upper pay scale) who are unattractive to employers because we're just too expensive.
It's not a great time to be looking for teaching jobs in non-core subjects though.
Also - how's her teaching/classroom management? If she's not managed to find a permanent post in 6 years since doing her PGCE, & is 'disheartened' with secondary, it does rather suggest that none of her temp. employers have been all that impressed, to be brutally honest; or she'd be in constant demand for medium term supply/ML covers etc.
If she's been successful/enjoyed working with children with SEN, she might do better investigating career opportunities there? I'm afraid she does have a point that opportunities are pretty limited for an older teacher of a non-core subject without a proven track record since completing her PGCE - she should definitely be looking to spread the net a bit wider.
From what you have said she has not actually completed her NQT year? I think at 46 if you have not done that then you will be struggling to get an NQT post. There is very little movement in good or outstanding schools due to the current economic climate and now with changes to teachers pensions the same number of oldies are not leaving so any new posts go to 20/30 year olds. Best for her to try FE. If she goes down the SEN route then she will have to pay for some training.
Where in SOuth Wales? If it is ion the elsh speaking parts (like me!) then she would probably need to be able to teach through the medium of Welsh to get a permanent job as most schools have a Welsh stream and in non-Core subjects you would need to be able to teach those children. I don't think age has much to do with it, more expense to be honest.
I agree that the mantra for most schools is cheap as poss as opposed to experienced quality teachers. However I think most Heads will prefer an NQT youngster they can mould rather than a 46 year old NQT teaching a non-core subject.
Has she thought of looking at council websites for teaching opportunites? They sometimes recruit teachers, even on a bank supply basis, for youngsters who are home tutored for a number of reasons.
Thank you all for your replies. I think from what Ive seen of her with kids in a teaching setting that she is good at it. Whether she's as good at managing school politics is another thing! She has been called back to some schools. As I said for a few years it was a bit on and off and it's only really the last year she's done it full time as it were, apart from the year after she qualified I think (I've had my two kids in this time period so my memore is somewhat hazy!). I think the disillusionment with secondary was having to do cover for subjects not her own quite often and just finding them quite unfriendly to supply staff often. Primary seems to be better in that respect for short supply stints. Anyway, I'll mull this all over. Thanks again.