Catholic MP Sarah Teather will join Jesuit Refugee Service on leaving Westminster

Sarah Teather is to join the Jesuit Refugee Service when she leaves Parliament.

Liberal Democrat MP and former education minister Sarah Teather is to join the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) as an advocacy adviser, the JRS has announced.

Teather, a Roman Catholic who has clashed with her party over issues including same-sex marriage, has said that she will leave Parliament at the next election after 12 years as MP for Brent Central.

In her new role at JRS, she will focus on education for refugee children in the Middle East and South Sudan. "I'm delighted to have an opportunity to be able to use the skills and experience I have gained in Parliament to work directly with refugees," she said.

"In my work, both in the UK and visiting refugee projects internationally, I have been hugely impressed by the ethos of JRS and the way in which they serve people in some of the most troubled places in the world. I have seen for myself how their focus on accompanying refugees is a hugely important witness to human dignity."

JRS International Director Peter Balleis said: "One of our main priorities is the delivery of education services to forcibly displaced persons in some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable: Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria. Offering education to young refugees is our distinct contribution to a more peaceful future. But the needs are so great. We believe Sarah's knowledge and experience in the fields of education, human rights and policymaking offers us an opportunity to make a real difference in people's lives."

Before entering front-line politics, Teather worked as a policy analyst for MacMillan Cancer Support. During her two and a half years as minister for children and families she negotiated the end of the detention of children in the immigration system, led efforts to combat sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood, led reforms to improve the support of children with special educational needs and disability and published the first UK-wide child poverty strategy.

As chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, she led an inquiry looking at the treatment of children and young people in the asylum process and is currently chairing an inquiry looking at immigration detention.