Working in teaching with GCSEs (or similar)

Although it is unlikely that you will find a job in teaching with just GCSEs or equivalent, you could work in an education support role.

For example, when you are 18 or over, you could work in education support services as a teaching assistant or in a workshop, library, laboratory or in administration.  

Example jobs

Teaching assistant (particularly in primary schools)
Working closely with the teacher to support group work, possibly helping to plan and prepare lessons (depending on experience and level of qualifications).

Nursery assistant
Working with children under five, helping with changing nappies, filling in daily diaries for the children, interacting with children through play, reading and singing activities, building relationships with the children’s parents and carers.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Each local authority sets its own pay scales, as there is no national pay scale for teaching assistants (TAs). Many TA jobs have pro rata pay, so you would earn part of the annual salary depending on the hours you work. To find out the salaries in your area, look at specialist job recruitment agencies, advertisements on local authority websites, phone schools or ask other TAs.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • You will be working with children and young people.
  • Schools and colleges are often busy and noisy environments. You will need lots of patience and be prepared to deal with a variety of stressful situations in a calm manner.

Qualifications needed

You could start as a nursery assistant with NVQs in childcare or other relevant Level 2 qualification.

To work as a teaching assistant, you will need good GCSEs (Cs and above), particularly in English, maths and sciences. A levels or an NVQ Level 3 in childcare will help.

If you decide to enter teaching from another industry, your experiences and previous qualifications might allow you to be a trainee teacher or teaching assistant. You might also be able to lecture at an FE college in subjects such as graphics, media, IT, dance, theatre, sports or music technology.

Career path

Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is essential to become a teacher in most schools. However, gaining NVQ or BTEC qualifications will allow you to study for a foundation degree in early years theory while working. You can then complete a teaching degree later.

Research the requirements using the links below and try to make personal contacts with schools in your area.

You will usually need to study for further qualifications in your own time and at your own expense.

Useful links

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