Case Study: Charlie Thornton

Charlie Thornton

20 year old Charlie Thornton always wanted to join the police. She did public services at college and applied twice to join the force but didn’t pass the exams.

It was her tutor who suggested she become a teaching assistant apprentice and at the beginning of this year she took up her post at Carden Primary School in Brighton and now says that she wouldn’t have it any other way.

After her tutor suggested teaching, she started volunteering with the Prince’s Trust, working with young adults and it didn’t take her long to discover it was something she enjoyed. Not only was she good at it but she also had skills she could transfer to the classrooms.

‘I loved school, I never wanted to leave and it’s like I’m back now. I fit in.’

Charlie is one of Youthforce’s teaching assistant apprentices in East Sussex and works in a year six classroom.

‘I love maths. That age group do maths I love doing,’ she explained. ‘I love to think up new things to do. I noticed the windows in the classroom looked a bit bare so I suggested we could do stained glass windows so that’s what we’re doing.’

Helen Longton-Howarth, Head Teacher of Carden Primary School says ‘I think this is a great idea, the two apprentices we have are really good. There seems to be a lot happening now to promote apprenticeships and I think other schools are taking an interest in taking them on.’

Charlie, who only left college last June says she found the seven month gap between leaving formal education and starting her apprenticeship very hard.

‘I plan everything, so it was hard for me not having a structure’, Charlie said.

Having secured the teaching assistant position, she can now forge ahead with her goals which include either doing an advanced apprenticeship or getting a teaching assistant job and then doing a teaching degree with the Open University.

‘When I took the second police exam my marks were only 3% off passing. I was so disappointed but now I wouldn’t change anything. I absolutely love what I do’.