Your move: Education officer

4th February 2005 at 00:00
Get thinking about your future career

Working six days a week for long hours and being kept in the dark doesn't just happen in teaching. Visit Rotherham where the National Coal Mining Museum organises exhibitions and arranges underground tours to sample work in real darkness.

Education officers don't just work in museums: there are galleries, zoos, gardens, private museums, such as the Thackeray Medical Museum, and some, such as Cadbury World, which are closer to theme parks.

Pay is lower than teaching, ranging from pound;14,000 to pound;25,000, as museums have less muscle than schools in obtaining finance. Higher pay means moving up and away from hands-on education.

Your main task is to make the museum collection more accessible to schools, enthusiasts and the public. Big organisations such as The Imperial War Museum or Kew Gardens have activities online linked to the national curriculum, and massive programmes of trips, visits and experiences - HMS Belfast's education section offers a "kip on a ship", where children spend a night on the mess deck.

In Yorkshire, they are recruiting IT learning hub co-ordinators linking museums in Sheffield, Hull, Leeds and Bradford. The small local museum in Kingston-on-Thames, south London, has a thriving out-reach programme, taking study packs, replica costumes and artefacts to local schools.

Skills? The variety of museums is endless. Army museums get kids building shelters, so a practical background is handy. An interest in your specialist area - anything from archaeology to cutting-edge media technology. Volunteering, collaboration or a postgraduate course is useful.

Useful websites

Andy Stanley

Next week: Hospital teacher

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