Advanced search

To want to retrain to be a primary school teacher - age 45 when qualified

(41 Posts)
EddieStobbart Thu 21-Jan-16 09:30:40

I've been working in a quite a niche finance-type job for the best part of 20 years. My role changed a lot a couple of years ago after a major restructure and after another wave I'm due to find out next week if I'll be made redundant. It'll be a relief really as I don't enjoy my job which bears little resemblance to the one I had before the restructure but I knew I was lucky to be employed and in a reasonably well paying position at that.

Teaching at secondary level in my original degree subject doesn't appeal but I'd assumed primary teaching required another undergraduate degree over 3-4 years rather than a year's post grad. I have 2 dcs and can't really be out of work for that long (though can manage a year or two as am lucky enough to be in line for a pretty large pay off) but I realised a couple of weeks ago that I could do it in a single year after all. However, I found out yesterday that the course application is still via UCAS and should have been in last Friday (I have done a few post grad qualifications and all were direct applications to the university and later in the year). Late applications aren't accepted at my local institution. I've been a bit off the ball as the whole redundant process has been elongated for various reasons and I've had to keep it quiet which is sometimes a bit stressful.

I'm currently 43, turning 44 in September. The course runs from August, 9-5pm every day for 10 months so if I was accepted on the course next year I would finish a couple of months before my 45th birthday.

I've always worked long hours and full time. Earnings would be a fraction of what I earn at the moment but that would be the case in any other job I got and we can afford the drop.

I spent years doing something I didn't particularly enjoy but it was reasonably varied, colleagues were nice and there was enough flexibility when the kids were tiny (now 9 & 6). AIBU to think about primary teaching at my age?

EddieStobbart Thu 21-Jan-16 09:33:12

Final age is wrong - I'd finish just before my 46th birthday

LoisWilkersonsLastNerve Thu 21-Jan-16 09:33:31

No you have 20+ working years left so if its age that's worrying you, I think its fine.

Spartak Thu 21-Jan-16 09:38:01

My mum went back to do a full 4 year teaching degree when she was almost 40. Worked for 18 years before she retired and loved it most of the time. I think the fact that she'd had her own children and wasn't going to go on maternity leave and then want to work part time was a factor in her getting a job in her most local school.

Go for it, you'll always wonder if you don't!

diagramsoftrees Thu 21-Jan-16 09:44:40

The thing that would make me pause is not your age but the fact you don't mention any work experience in a primary school.

Without it, you may struggle to get on the course in the first place and would you like it? Teaching isn't badly paid, so you must be a very high earner in order for it to be a fraction of what you're paid now?

I don't know any happy primary teachers but hopefully there are some!

PurpleDaisies Thu 21-Jan-16 09:54:29

What course is it? It doesn't sound like a Pgce. You haven't mentioned any school placements which most definitely aren't 9-5pm! You could look at gtp which is more on the job training and you might get a salary (not much!).

Teaching is both brilliant and awful at the same time. The kids can be wonderful and it's great when you get a class you really connect. The box ticking, form filling, nuisance parents, nuisance senior management, huge classes and endless marking are awful. It depends on whether the good bits outweigh the bad bits as to whether you end up staying in the classroom.

Why do you want to do primary teaching and have you got any work experience? Pop over to the staff room board to get a realistic picture of what it's like.

PurpleDaisies Thu 21-Jan-16 09:54:56

I forgot to say, I don't think your age is a problem at all.

sweetkitty Thu 21-Jan-16 09:58:11

I've just been accepted to do a PGDE course on my second try I'll be 41 when I start. I've spent 2 years working voluntarily in school to get experience and understand what it's really like.

There were people older than me applying too.

SheSparkles Thu 21-Jan-16 10:02:14

I'm 45 and considering doing a PGDE, there's a huge shortage of teachers in my degree subject (Home Economics!), but if I it, I can't start till 2017 when I'll be 47. I've never even considered my age until I read this thread!

Philoslothy Thu 21-Jan-16 10:04:53

You will have about 20 of teaching ahead of you, go for it. I have had a few jobs and teaching was the most rewarding

PollyPerky Thu 21-Jan-16 10:07:10

The unofficial cut off point for teacher training is 50 (I've spoken to admissions people in education as part of my work) but they will also consider people slightly older.

The retirement age now is 66 for women and in the near future will rise to 67 and maybe even 70.

So you have plenty of years of employment left!

Strating teaching in your mid 40s is not unusual and it's also the time when many teachers go back to work after raising their own children.

Go for it!

teacherwith2kids Thu 21-Jan-16 10:08:56

The age isn't an issue (though IME getting your first job can be a little bit harder because many primary heads are younger than you are).

However, the missing the deadline sounds like a Godsend to me, because you can spend the year beforehand spending lots of time in schools, seeing what they are really like. Almost all schools would welcome a regular and reliable volunteer, willing to read, do times tables, cut out displays, clear up after messy art projects etc.

a) That will stand yiou in good stead for application and
b) Once you get to know the school and the staff, it will start to give you a realistic insight into what the job is like 9you won't see the 'late and early shifts' of planning, preparing, marking and other paperwork, but ou will gradually glean what the reality is like.

If you still want to apply then, go for it!

nailsathome Thu 21-Jan-16 10:09:34

I agree your age isn't a problem but you should get some experience at talk to teachers. It isn't an easy career choice.

PollyPerky Thu 21-Jan-16 10:12:43

OP You need to be on the ball with your applications. Most primary age PGCEs are over subscribed. To start a course in Sept 2017, you need to be applying this year. Some unis run the course twice a year but it is a 52 week course, not a 30-week course, and there aren't holidays like uni terms - you will probably have lectures etc during school holidays so you will need to sort childcare.

You also need at least 2 weeks' volunteering in a school and ideally more before you apply.

EddieStobbart Thu 21-Jan-16 10:14:15

Basic salary is currently £57k with annual bonus of £20-£30k. I have lots of experience in a very specific area and would earn nothing like this in any other job where I live as I was lucky enough to land one of the few jobs in my field in the part of the UK I live. To get another job like my current I'd have to move (back) to London and that's not on cards. Stuck out the job full time for years for the money (primary wage earner) but the upside of that is we won't be under huge financial pressure now though I do need a wage.

Only experience with kids is my own. Job involved quite a bit of presenting/putting ideas across but to willing ears (in theory...).

PurpleDaisies Thu 21-Jan-16 10:18:27

Only experience with kids is my own. Job involved quite a bit of presenting/putting ideas across but to willing ears (in theory...)
Missing the deadline is a blessing in disguise. Without recent experience in a primary school (parent helper, classroom volunteer, work shadowing) you have absolutely no chance of getting in. Sorry!
I'd spend all your effort gearing up for next year. You really do need experience to see if you'd actually like the job.

Good luck!

PurpleDaisies Thu 21-Jan-16 10:20:13

Actually, things like helping at brownies or scouts, or any group of primary aged kids would be useful.

I hope my post above doesn't sound too harsh. Primary teaching is actually very competitive to get into and most people will have a lot of experience working with children in some capacity.

EddieStobbart Thu 21-Jan-16 10:20:32

Childcare isn't a problem, bother DH and I work full time and DCs are used to afterschool club every day and holiday clubs. GP come to cost for extended period in summer which helps.

whois Thu 21-Jan-16 10:40:14

Primary teaching is actually very competitive to get into and most people will have a lot of experience working with children in some capacity.

I keep hearing this. But then several of my friends with virtually no relevant skills have been accepted into primary teaching after floating around doing little bits of acting here, a bit of shop work there, etc.

girlinacoma Thu 21-Jan-16 10:46:55

Basic salary of £57k with huge bonus on top?


Biffa44 Thu 21-Jan-16 10:53:24

I'm thinking of retraining as a Primary School Teacher - aged 53. Will be redundant as of end of March, so it is a real rush to try to get things sorted for this September (there are still places on the course I am interested in).
Everybody I have spoken to is most adamant that age is not a barrier.
Organising classroom experience is proving to be a bit of a nightmare however. I don't suppose I will be able to retire until I am 67, so I will have 13 years of working life once qualified.

Jengaaddict Thu 21-Jan-16 10:58:05

Not unreasonable at all. Have you considered a learn on the job scheme which means that you can still earn while training. Teach First and schools direct are the main options. Teach First currently running a campaign for career changers for start in summer 2016. I can see if I can link it

Jengaaddict Thu 21-Jan-16 11:00:18

howabout Thu 21-Jan-16 11:01:01

Check out your local job market, assuming you don't want to relocate. I know a few people who have done this and then not been able to get posts afterwards.

briss Thu 21-Jan-16 11:02:23

sorry to butt in - do you have to have a degree to train as a primary school teacher? Friend went to college for 6th form and did BTECs but wants to retrain?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now