We spoke to spouses working in education and childcare to hear about their experiences…

Katie Jones

Katie Jones – teaching assistant, Wiltshire

I originally went into a teaching assistant position with no previous school experience, however I was taken on due to my passion. Since then, I’ve been completing my Higher Level Teaching Assistant Level 4 which opens up more doors if we relocate.

It’s a really rewarding job and every day is different. The school has a large percentage of military children, meaning a high turnover of students, so we need to support the children whilst their loved ones may be working away, whether that is just having someone to listen to or helping them to make cards to send.

It fits in well around military life, especially if you have children. The hours allow me to take them to school and nursery. It means less stress having to find childcare, especially as military leave tends to be over Easter, summer and Christmas, so you can have time off together as a family.  

Sara Patrickson

Sara Patrickson – teaching assistant in a SEND school, Yorkshire

I absolutely love working as a teaching assistant in a special needs school. It’s a rewarding job and has such a positive impact on our students’ lives. I work with a range of children with unique needs – seeing them achieve learning and life skills is amazing.

As my children are still school-age, I have the flexibility to be off in half-terms and holidays, so it fits around the whole family. The only downside is pay – it doesn’t always balance out given some of the emotional and physical day to day tasks we deal with. Moving schools every couple of years can sometimes impact working your way up in a school and you have to rebuild relationships and gain confidence in a new environment.

Tracy Shaw – music teacher, Hampshire

Tracy Shaw and family

My husband Frazer and I were both serving musicians and with the news of our second child life was about to become a lot harder to manage than it already was.

I’d heard about the Troops to Teachers scheme. The two-year programme was a salaried position within a school, working alongside teaching staff whilst gaining degree status. There was a rigorous selection process and by the time everything had slotted into place my second daughter was nearly one. I was very lucky to be offered a place at a local school. The hours were long and the training intense, but it was worth it. I used my teaching degree to become a music teacher working for Hampshire Music Services. No day is the same and I love being able to travel around teaching many different instruments to hundreds of pupils each week.

Term-time teaching means that I’m always around to care for my two girls when Frazer is away or working irregular hours, which is often. I even find the time to keep up my own musical and military skills as I’m a reservist in the Army Medical Services Band.

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