A job working in a school if often ideal for people whose own children are in nursery or school. But what if you don’t have the skills, qualifications or experience to work in this environment?
This is where Walsall College’s Level 1 course comes in.
A four-month, part-time course for adults, it provides an overview of how to support the learning and well-being of children in a school environment. This includes being able to understand how to keep children and young people healthy, safe and well. It also covers how to communicate with children, young people and adults.
Here, five students talk about how the course is supporting their career ambitions.
A stepping stone and a step forwards
Stacey, aged 35 – “At the moment, I’m working in a nursery, but I am more interested in working with slightly older children. I see this course as a stepping stone to achieving this ambition.”
Rasna, 31 – “I’m studying this course so I can find out more about what working with children is like. This will help me decide exactly what type of job in a school I can go for that has mum-friendly hours – and where.”
Stephanie, 35 – “The course is one day a week which means I’ve been able to study English and maths at the same time.”
Communication for all ages and in all settings
Mercillina, 49 – “Babies and children develop their verbal skills and use body language in different ways over time. It means you have to adapt your own voice – the tone and the speed you talk at – and other things, such as how much eye contact you make. I’ve got a better understanding of all this.”
Stephanie, 35 – “Being able to adapt how you communicate and engage with children based on their ages and any disabilities they may have, plus the environment they are in is really useful. It improves your knowledge so much.”
Life in the classroom
Stacey – “Studying in college feels more relaxed and friendly compared to being in school. It’s all interesting and fun because we learn in different ways such as through class discussions, group work, brainstorming and creating posters.
Rukhsana, 43 – “Learning about health and safety in schools has been helpful. It’s one of those things that relates to anywhere that children might be but makes you aware of what to look out for in any nursery or school.”
Mercillina – “We all get involved in every activity so no-one is made to feel left out.”
Facing fears and gaining confidence
Rukhsana – “I’m also learning to speak English, so when I first started this course, I didn’t think I could do it. I made the effort to do extra research in my own time so that I understood everything. And I asked my teachers for help because they encouraged us to do this. Things like this made a difference. I definitely want to carry on studying now.”
Rasna – “Our teachers are great at making everyone feel comfortable with whatever work it is we’re doing in class.
“We all want to progress on to Level 2. You get to go on a work placement, which I’d like to do. It means I can see for myself how everything we’re learning fits in with a real school environment.”
A brighter future
Stacey – “Eventually, I see myself working full-time as a teaching assistant.”
Mercillina – “I want to work with children with special needs. This course has looked at supporting children with learning difficulties and disabilities and I’d really like to learn much more about this.”
Stephanie, 35 – “Teaching and caring for children and young people is ultimately one of the most rewarding jobs you could have.”