Primary PGCE or Speech Therapy degree or stick as TA?

(11 Posts)
Doraemon Fri 28-Jul-17 20:45:37

I'm trying to weigh up pros and cons of various possibilities and would welcome any input.... I am currently in a dual TA/HLTA role, with an emphasis on language and communication interventions. My background is in language teaching, and I have also worked in a parent support role. I am 41, have 3 DC.

I like the job I currently do, but the pay is rubbish and I don't want to be doing the same role for the rest of my working life. I feel that if I'm going to make a move I need to do it soon before I'm too old....

Advantage of teacher training would be that it would be over in a year and I should be able to get a job locally. I like working school and seeing the children progress. Childcare would be workable. Main disadvantage is the work/life balance. I would want to train for Foundation/KS1 and am not sure whether I would still have the energy for this in 10 or 15 years' time (if I made it that far, am very aware of how many people drop out in the first few years). I know most teachers out there would say don't touch it with a barge pole.

Advantage of SALT would be that I think it would really fit with my past experience and interests, I could see it working as a long-term career, work/life balance I suspect would be better than teaching. Childcare would be straight forward during the degree, and by the time I finished DC would be 8, 14 and 16. I would whack up a huge student loan doing a 3 year degree (post-grad 2 year courses are too far away I think) but I don't think I would ever pay it all back, and even with repayments I would still earn considerably more than I do now. Disadvantage is the risk of not getting a job at the end of it - moving house is not an option so I would be limited geographically in terms of what I could apply for. I quite fancy the idea of 3 years back at university, and do wonder whether this is a big part of the appeal....

I really would appreciate any opinions. Financially we could afford for me to carry on as I am , and it does have a lot of advantages for us as a family, but the though of still being 'just a TA' in 10 years time makes my heart sink.

OP’s posts: |
OuchBollocks Fri 28-Jul-17 20:49:10

Put it this way, I tried to get a private SALT for my DD and most of them turned me away, they have more clients than they can shake a stick at. The (very good) SALT who had (very very limited) availability charges £60 a session plus travelling as we're out of area, and only works term time doing hours that suit her. Compare that with state school teaching jobs's a no brainer to me.

Doraemon Fri 28-Jul-17 20:54:44

Wow - £60 an hour is certainly bit higher than my TA salary....

OP’s posts: |
LadyMacnet Fri 28-Jul-17 21:09:41

From the tone of your post I think you would happier as a SALT.

I teach (secondary). I like it, the students are often great and it has many rewards but if I had my time again I would not be a teacher.

HemiDemiSemiquaver Fri 28-Jul-17 21:39:24

Could you get a loan if you've already been to university? Could you do it part-time?

I think SALT has a lot of interesting specialties and it has interested me in the past, but I think I'm too old to change now. Some of the specialties don't interest me at all, but I know I'd have to study them as part of the degree though.

I think it's the sort of career where you have to enjoy being self-employed/freelance, because I have heard that when you work for LEAs, hospitals, etc, there are often huge pressures to cut the budgets and you want to be able to do more for the patients/clients but are always restricted because of money/time/rules. I think I'd find that aspect of it frustrating.

Doraemon Sat 29-Jul-17 19:47:15

Thanks for your replies. Hemi, I could get a loan for the degree, bursaries have disappeared but you can apply for a loan for a second degree for SALT and various other health courses like Occupational Therapy.
I keep wavering between one and the other....

OP’s posts: |
Ocies Mon 31-Jul-17 13:03:41

My dd would love to be SALT. She applied this year and has discovered how very competitive it is just to get on the course. She already has her A levels and has lots of relevant volunteering and work experience but she still didn't get an offer. Good luck if that is what you decide to do.


BubblesBuddy Mon 31-Jul-17 15:19:36

I am not sure it's true about most teachers say don't touch it with a barge pole in Ks1/ EYFS. I know plenty of teachers who love their jobs even at secondary level. The best teachers can get promoted fairly quickly and we have a number of teachers who have been LAs. It is also possible to be party time and job share to get a decent work/life balance. In the right school, it can be worthwhile and enjoyable. It very much depends on the ethos of the school and the SLT. It is not all doom and gloom out there!

It also depends if you want to work in a team or on your own and you need to think about pension payments and other overheads such as insurance and admin if you are self employed. It is not all take home pay! A teacher's pension is still worth having and saving for a pension on your own is hard work - no employer contributions. At 41 this will be upon you sooner than you think.

BubblesBuddy Mon 31-Jul-17 15:20:24

part time .... not party time!

tararabumdeay Mon 31-Jul-17 15:29:02

Have you thought about training to be a SN access arrangement assessor?

My lovely colleague is so busy works flat out to fit in all necessary appointments in the window of time after enrollment and before exam board deadlines.

It's very specialist; colleague can't fit in all the work available; earns lots (don't know exactly).

It may fit well with SALT training too.

holzw Mon 31-Jul-17 19:27:31

It doesn't sound like you need much persuasion but... I've just finished a 2 year post-grad SaLT course, and it's honestly the best thing I've ever done. I wouldn't worry too much about getting a job at the end of the training - new jobs come up everyday on NHS jobs (across the whole country) and the private sector is rapidly growing too.
I've been offered a job and it wasn't even initially targeted at newly qualified candidates, so anything is possible.
You will also go on several different clinical placements - whether you do the undergraduate or postgraduate course - and one of them may offer you a job at the end of it/ they'll give you preference because you'll already have insight into how their service works.
There are so many different kinds of services you can work in as a paediatric speech therapist, it really gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of settings and hours you work. I've also heard of a growing number of people who work for the NHS part time, and then do private work the rest of the time so you can be more flexible.
Honestly it's worth the loan!
Also some of my course-mates who have children still managed to earn a bit of money during the course by tutoring. It's a very intense course with lots of work, but it's definitely manageable with kids and still earning a little bit of money too.
I hope this has been helpful!

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