A FORMER footballer has swapped the changing room for the classroom.

Daniel Pitts was once a promising footballer for Southend United before spending time in the semi professional leagues.

But after a combined career with the asbestos clear up industry, Daniel has decided to teach in primary schools.

He said: “Working in the asbestos removal industry, I spent a lot of time in schools, tendering for the contracts to remove it from the school buildings.

“As a result, I saw first-hand the impact schools, and teachers in particular, were having on children’s lives.

“It inspired me to explore the notion of becoming a teacher.”

Daniel started out his football career in Norwich before transferring to Southend United youth team.

On his release from Roots Hall, he joined Purfleet before moving to Dartford during the 2001/02 season.

They parted company and he joined Great Wakering Rovers and made his 100th first team appearance for the Essex side in October 2005.

He spent the next 13 years working as a regional manager at a nationwide asbestos removal company, mainly in schools.

It was there he decided to get into teaching.

As a child he spent more of his time out playing on the pitches and trying to pursue the dream career as a footballer.

But after he couldn’t wait to switch from school to soccer he is now switching back.

Daniel was offered a place at Manchester’s Edge Hill University.

Dispelling the unfair stereotype about the intelligence of footballers he not only graduated but did so with a first class degree in primary English education.

And while his football career spanned clubs around south Essex his teaching career will begin further north close to where he learned his new trade.

Daniel said: “As someone who had been out of formal education for some time, my academic skills had to be developed.

“The fast-track programme enabled me to do this, as well as enabling me to feel comfortable in my environment and connect with like-minded people who I have maintained friendships with throughout my degree.

“I’ll be working as a Year 4 class teacher and I’m looking forward to giving something back to the area that has welcomed me and my family over the last three years while I have been studying at Edge Hill. The facilities and grounds at the school are very modern and I can’t wait.”