After leaving University Teather worked as a policy advisor for a number of organisations including the Royal Society. She fought Finchley and Golders Green at the 2001 general election and the following year was elected as a councillor on Islington Council. In 2003 she was selected to fight the Brent East by-election which the Liberal Democrats won coming from third place to win the seat from Labour. Following the election of Menzies Campbell to the party leadership, Teather was promoted to the post of Shadow Secretary of State for Education and later Shadow Business Secretary. With the formation of the coalition government in May 2010, Teather was appointed Minister of State for Children and Families, a post she held until the government reshuffle of September 2012. Sarah Teather stood down from parliament at the 2015 election and now works as the Country Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service.