Dr Andrew Kent (right) does not fit most people's image of a higher level teaching assistant. He has a BSc and a PhD in pharmacology and you might expect to find him working for a big drugs firm or a university.
But in 1987, when his first child was born, Dr Kent, 51, decided to stay at home while his wife Jill worked as a GP. Ten years and four children later, he took up a post as a part-time science technician at Gravesend grammar school for girls in Kent.
In 2005 he saw a brochure looking for people willing to become higher level teaching assistants with a science specialism and he took up the offer. For five months he spent two days a week at a training centre and three in the classroom.
Most of the people on the Kent pilot were already teaching assistants but there were three lab technicians.
"Some of the subject-knowledge work was quite useless to me as I knew it already," he said, "but I learnt a lot about teaching methods, how to approach people and understand their different learning styles."
He now works in the science department as a senior technician. He helps A level chemistry pupils and those needing individual help.