Anne, 50s, qualified as a primary school teacher in 1985 and taught in reception for 20 years. Originally from Yorkshire, she is now a lecturer at a small university in northern England.
"In 2005 I was made redundant after 20 years as a teacher. Our school was shrinking, the numbers of children dropped. It wasn't my choice. It was all done on a points system - very fairly - and I just didn't have wide enough experience. I was at the top of the pay scale so I was too expensive for another school to employ and, I didn't want to go into management. The local autority put us forward for interviews but the jobs going were being snapped up by younger and cheaper teachers. I didn't have many options.
"It was very lucky - my husband was playing tennis and he got talking to this guy who worked at a local Further Education college. He'd been asking around for someone who knew anything about Early Years teaching and they were looking for someone to work on their Early Years programme. I'd not thought about teaching at college but I went for an interview and I got it. The transition from school to FE was easy enough - I think I knew I'd had enough of school by then. The first time I stood up in front of a hundred students was a bit terrifying - I mean, I'd never even heard of Vygotksy - but once I got through it, I realised how much I liked working with adults.
"Leaving school was stressful at the time, but really it was the best thing that has happened to me. I love working with the students, energising them to become teachers. But now - God! there's no way I'd go back into school. I'm too old to be crawling around on the floor of a Reception class!"