What made you choose your college?

I had previously studied with Northumberland College for my level 2 and level 3 Certificate in Supporting Teaching and Learning. I enjoyed the courses, finding the staff to be extremely supportive. 

I came back to study for my foundation degree and was thrilled when mid-way through I discovered the college had partnered with the University of Cumbria to offer the top up degree. Therefore it was a natural progression to stay with the college.

 

Why did you decide to study for a university qualification?

I was never the most disciplined person when I was younger and unfortunately, when I was school age, university did not appeal to me. However, I am now at a point in my life where I want to study and a university qualification will help progress my career.

 

Why did you choose your particular course?

The course content appealed to me and provides a wealth of opportunity; providing me with in-depth knowledge for my own professional development.

 

Tell us about you and your circumstances? Do you work? Have a family?

I am married with a very understanding husband, two wonderful daughters and a mad, but lovable dog.

If I was to rewind time you would see me as a stay at home mum, thinking I would never go back to work. My eldest daughter was diagnosed with autism when she was 2 and required full-time support to get through each day, which seemed to consist of one melt down after the other. I had little knowledge or strength to make anything better for her. 

Those challenging times taught me I was much stronger than I believed myself to be. With time, and the help of many different practitioners who worked with my daughter, we learned to deal with everything more effectively. Either way, those people who worked with us as a family, and more specifically my daughter, have shaped me to be the person who I am today. 

Volunteering in my youngest daughter’s school gave me the confidence to believe I could actually return to work, and with that I enrolled at college. Life really is a rollercoaster with plenty of ups and down, but it’s the ride of my life and puts a smile on my face.

Studying for a degree at college as a distance learner is hard work and requires a great deal of self-discipline. That said, I can honestly say, for the most part, ‘I love it’. That’s not to say I don’t feel pressure as deadlines approach, but on the whole I find it a positive experience.

What is it like studying for a degree at college?

Studying for a degree at college as a distance learner is hard work and requires a great deal of self-discipline. That said, I can honestly say, for the most part, ‘I love it’. That’s not to say I don’t feel pressure as deadlines approach, but on the whole I find it a positive experience.

 

What do you like most about your course?

I like the modules we cover; it is a real mixture of topics, all important to the lives and well-being of children.

 

What do you find most challenging about studying and being a student?

The most challenging aspect about being a mature student is managing my time effectively. If I’m spending time with my family, I feel bad that I’m not studying and if I’m studying I feel I am neglecting my children. Finding a balance is something I am still working on.

 

How has studying for a university qualification changed your life?

It has given me a drive and a thirst for learning I never thought I would have. I feel more confident in my job role which ultimately impacts on the children I work with. I think the real changes in my life will come once I have my qualification, and I hope this will open many different options for me.

Following a research project I had undertaken as part of my foundation degree looking at young carers, I was asked to present at the Wellbeing Symposium. Whilst the thought of presenting my information in front of professionals was daunting, I was honoured to be asked and extremely passionate about my subject. 

I enjoyed the morning listening to key note speakers and found the day to be well structured. In the afternoon for my presentation I questioned what the potential educational and emotional impact would be on young carers with a disabled sibling, and found my audience to be engaging and positive with regards to the key research I presented to them. It was pleasing to close the session with ideas that could be taken forward to enhance the wellbeing of these children.

 

Are you employed?

I have now worked as a Learning Support Assistant with reception and key stage one pupils for the past 6 years. I work at Bede Academy and am passionate about the children I work with. I have been fortunate to learn a great deal from them all, especially those who have additional needs or other challenging backgrounds.

 

Reflection and the future

My current career ambition is simply to be the best I can be in my role as a Learning Support Assistant. My long-term ambition has a question mark at the moment as this degree has opened my mind to a wealth of avenues I could pursue. My main aspiration is to continue to work with children; I want to make a difference to children and their families.

 

What are you most proud of?

Above all else I am most proud of my family.

This is closely followed by graduating from my foundation degree with commendation!

BA (Hons)

Working with Children and Families (Top-up)

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