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The Guardian - July 2008
How to spend more time with the children

The pressures of red tape and targets are driving early-years teachers into the world of franchises

Janet Murray Tuesday July 8, 2008

After 20 years as a primary school teacher Jayne Stanton was feeling jaded. Each new initiative (and there were many) brought hours of additional paperwork. While she still loved working with children, the pressure to meet government targets meant she was fast losing her passion for the job.

‘It was no longer the profession I’d trained for,’ she recalls. ‘It was all about meetings, training and target-setting. I felt as if politicians were deciding what was best for children not the professionals at the chalk face.’

Two years on, she is a small business owner, providing pre-school music classes in and around Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. After spotting an advert in a trade publication, she bought a franchise of Musical Minis – which provides music classes for babies and toddlers – and has never looked back.

‘I spread my work through out the week and currently do 11 45-minute classes. There is very little paperwork. For the last few years of my career I was job sharing in reception and early years classes, but I always ended up putting in far more time than half a job.’

Despite leaving the profession at the top of the pay scale for a classroom teacher (currently around 34,000 pounds) Stanton has not noticed a considerable drop in her salary. Should she wish to, there is the potential to double, or even triple her former salary. But what she really values is the opportunity to do what she enjoys most – working with children – without the pressures of the school environment.

Twenty five per cent of Musical Minis’ franchises are owned by qualified teachers, nursery workers and child-care professionals.

But for Chris Keates, general secretary of teaching union Nasuwt, the loss of teachers from the profession is a worry. ‘It’s a shame when you’ve got talented, experienced staff leaving the profession because they feel they can’t maintain both a professional and personal life.’  – Guardian News and Media Limited 2008

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