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Thinking of going back to college - is there any finacial help we can get?

(48 Posts)
Dandansmummy Tue 07-Jun-16 19:34:12

Hi everyone, I am new to this so please bear with me!

The long and sort of my question/worry is that I am wanting to go back to college in September to complete a 1 year Support in Teaching and Learning Certificate Level 3, my current employer (a secondary school where I am the receptionist) will not support me in this so I will have to had my notice in so I can have time to go out on placement and find a part-time job. The college will not know what the time table is until we start in September so I cant arrange a part-time job before then as i dont know when I will be able to work. Me and my husband got married this last August, and we are in the process of buying our house, he works full time bringing in approx 18k, my son will start nursey 5 mornings a week in September but will be with a childminder if i have to be at work. I am worried that there will at least be a few months where I am out of work while i am studying, and was wondering if anyone else had been in a similar situation? If so is there any thing we can claim for while I am studying to relieve some of the financial strain? I am doubting whether i will even be able to go back to college as the situation looks so dire, but it is what i want to do and have a passion for, on top of that if i stay where i am/ in the same kind of role i am going to be earning the same money forever, where as for the sake of a 1 year course and some hardship i could be on a lucrutive career path! I hope this makes sense and there is some one out there who can offer some advice, it would be much appreciated! xxx

bluecarpet Wed 08-Jun-16 09:10:04

Why not put off the course for a year and use that time to save and give yourself a financial buffer?

titchy Wed 08-Jun-16 09:20:21

Can't you reduce your hours or find a course you can do in the evenings, and do the placement at your current school?

Jobs in schools are as rare as hens teeth and you will hugely appreciate yours once your do is at nursery and school, so not sure I'd give that up so easily.

Dandansmummy Wed 08-Jun-16 10:03:11

My current school will not support me in the qualification, there will be some savings put aside but obviously that will not amount to my yearly wage at the moment. I know TTO job is brilliant but I will be/plan to return to TTO work after i have my qualification so for the sake of a year I can manage with that.

I just wondered if there was any help i could get, i see people that work part time and get help and i dont know how that works confused. My sister doesnt work at all and she is financially better off than me hmm

Babyroobs Wed 08-Jun-16 17:03:29

People that work part time and get help are most likely to get help in the form of tax credits which are a top up benefit for people on lowish incomes. You may be able to get thses when you give up work but I'm not sure how it works when you are a student. Also getting tax credits would depend on your husband's wage, hoew many kids you have etc.

Babyroobs Wed 08-Jun-16 17:05:45

You should be able to get some help from tax credits for childcare if your childcare exceeds the free 15 hours.

LIZS Wed 08-Jun-16 17:12:48

You can get an Advanced Learning Loan. Currently for age 24+ but will be 19+ from September.

mouldycheesefan Wed 08-Jun-16 17:15:34

Not sure I would describe being a teaching assistant as a lucrative career path 😂 but yes for fitting in with kids it is a good option.

Dandansmummy Wed 08-Jun-16 17:51:26

mouldycheesefan - being a teaching assistant is not the long term plan, however it would still be more money then i am earning now....

Thanks for the tax credits suggestions, i tried to do an online caluclator for next year putting in the info of what our circumstances would be then but it came back with nothing. Think we might just have to dive in and see what happens confused

titchy Wed 08-Jun-16 18:10:47

So what is the long term plan? I'm not sure what this particular course could be used towards except TA, which I imagine is still a minimum wage job.

Sorry not trying to piss on chips but if there's another goal MNers may have some alternative ideas which mean you won't have to give up your income.

AnotherEmma Wed 08-Jun-16 18:17:08

You should be entitled to Child Tax Credits. Which online calculator did you use? If you're not getting anywhere you could contact CAB (phone or drop in) and ask for a benefits check so they can work out what you're entitled to and what you'd get.

If you're not working or earning at all, your DH's income might be low enough for you to get Working Tax Credits, but I think if you had a part time job it might take you over the threshold. You should still get Child Tax Credits, however.

One thing to bear in mind is that by default, tax credits are calculated according to your income in the previous tax year, so if your income has changed since then (or if you're doing a calculation to work out what you'd get if your income changed in future), you need to make sure the calculations are based on your current or projected income.


AnotherEmma Wed 08-Jun-16 18:21:46

Also wanted to add, if you really want to be a teaching assistant, you should go for it and do the training. With any luck you may well be able to find part time, evening and/or holiday work to bring some money in.

However, if you don't actually want to be a teaching assistant for very long, it might not be worth it. But it sounds as if you're pretty sure, as you've handed in your notice?

AnotherEmma Wed 08-Jun-16 18:24:29

An sorry just realised I misread your post and you haven't actually handed in your notice yet.

Re-reading your posts, it sounds like you do really want to be a teaching assistant in the short/medium term, just not for ever - is that right?

Dandansmummy Wed 08-Jun-16 18:32:01

titchy - i want to work in secondary schools as a behaviour support worker and eventually be a behaviour manager of a team/Year manager. I have spoken to the college about my bigger plans and they have advised this is the best course to get me started, from there it will be working my way up and getting training courses while in work. It may not seem like alot to some people, but it is what I have always wanted to do and is alot more money then I am on now so i am prepared to start "at the bottom" if that makes sense. I already have a degree (unrelated, in History) so i can skip the level 2 stage.

Dont get me wrong I am fully prepared that I will have to also work part-time, most likey nights to get us through but this would be a short term "pain" for the greater good lol. i need to be on placement at least one day a week, ideally two and annoyingly the college wont know what my my study time table is until september. I suppose i am just looking for some reassurance...

AnotherEmma - thanks i will check that out smile

AnotherEmma Wed 08-Jun-16 18:34:19

Sorry for all the posts, but I just wanted to add that there is lots of info about possible financial support if you do the course here:

Dandansmummy Wed 08-Jun-16 18:36:42

AnotherEmma - no i havent handed my notice in yet (so scared to!) I just really want to be there to help the kids and thats the long and short of it, secondary education is putting students under so much pressure and i can see how much it is affecting them in general i just really want to be able to support them in anyway i can, so yea i would be happy being a TA in the short/medium term and hope in the longer term i can work my way up so i can help in other ways also, especially with the kids the really find it difficult to engage with the system.

Sorry it that sounds a little over dramatic lol

AnotherEmma Wed 08-Jun-16 18:53:06

That doesn't sound dramatic, sounds like you're very motivated and have thought through what you want to do and why smile

In your position I would work out the finances - find out whether you can get funding to help you with the course (check out the link I shared) and/or tax credits. Once you've done the sums, that should hopefully give you the confidence to hand in your notice.

FWIW I admire you for knowing what you want to do and being willing to work hard and watch the pennies so you can do it.

Good luck!

Maybenot321 Wed 08-Jun-16 19:08:18

Have you not considered a PGCE secondary schools instead? IMO with a history degree (think it has be a 2.2 or above), you seem overqualified for the course you mention. Also a better salary in the short term I would have thought?

clarrrp Wed 08-Jun-16 19:19:15

is there any thing we can claim for while I am studying to relieve some of the financial strain?

It really depends on your circumstances - current household income, whether your course is full or part time and if you have previously received a student loan.

Normally those who already hold a degree won't get SLA funding if they do a course that is equal to or lower.

In terms of benefits etc - generally only part time students can claim benefits but you would need to talk to SSO about this to be sure you are getting the most up to date info.

Have you looked at:

Dandansmummy Wed 08-Jun-16 19:30:49

AnotherEmma - Thank you, i feel like i arent going crazy now!

Maybenot321 - i dont want to a PGCE as i dont want to teach, it did cross my mind for a short while though!

clarrrp - thank you, i can get the 24+ funding for the course smile

Does anyone happen to know if you call tax credits/HMRC for a change in circumstanes that they will alter you payments there and then instead of working on the last tax year?

AnotherEmma Wed 08-Jun-16 19:40:30

Re tax credits, they should be recalculated if your circumstances change:
"Some changes to your circumstances mean that your award ends and you have to claim again. Other changes mean that your award continues but it will be recalculated, and some will not affect your current award at all."
If you contact CAB they can give you more detailed info for your circumstances, and can even help with your application if you want.

calamityjam Wed 08-Jun-16 19:42:29

Yes tax credits will alter for you if your financial circumstances will be drastically different from last year. No you will not get any financial help if you go to college. Be very careful about what colleges tell you, they try to push low subscribed courses. If you have a degree already, you are over qualified for the course you want to do. Look into post grad courses they are likely to be better for your circumstances. I am studying BA working with children, young people and families. I have the option to go into the career field which you are looking at, but I doubt that you will get funding for another degree. Look into post grad courses which are taught at local colleges affiliated with universities they are cheaper than uni courses.

calamityjam Wed 08-Jun-16 19:45:00

bloodyteenagers Wed 08-Jun-16 20:01:40

Please do check the career path throughly.
As you will know from working already in a
School budgets are being slashed.
Some schools are already at the point that when any support staff leave, unless deemed vital are not being replaced.

A lot of behavior roles because of the work involved, schools want those with teaching
Experience. A lot of the courses are for qualified teachers and unless the school can show strong reasons why you should be given a place, you won't be generally accepted. That is of course if you can convince the school to send you rather
Than an already established teacher/hod.

Then if the academy plans do go ahead. Some roles will be split across a few schools as part of the network.
And although as academies they can hire
Who they want and pay what they want.
They will also be able to be incredibly

Look at the other pathways. Look at the other courses. Some you could do if volunteering in a youth group or similar.

justjuanmorebeer Wed 08-Jun-16 20:02:37

Don't quit your job! I assume by meaning your employer won't support you financially by paying for it?

I did this course. You need to be in a post to have your observations for the course. But the rest of it is just work done in your own time. There is no reason you need to attend college to complete this qualification. Just do it distance learning. Where I am there are various providers that run this.

To pay the fee you can look into 24+ advance loans or see if there are any charitable trusts that provide interest free education loans.

If you say where you live I am happy to look for you.

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