swindon 2

Emma Dickinson

I hadn’t realised that university level courses were available locally.

Emma Dickinson

FdA Early Years / BA top-up Education and Lifelong Learning at Swindon College

I have always wanted to be a teacher but I thought it wasn’t possible at my age, as a wife and mum to three kids. I was a Teaching Assistant for eight years, and reached the point where I wanted to do something more with my brain. I decided to re-do my GCSE Maths, where I heard about the foundation degree from another student. I thought if she can do it, then I can do it! Why not?

I hadn’t realised that university level courses were available locally. I did an Early Years Foundation Degree at Swindon College, which made me realise that I preferred working with slightly older children. Following this, I was able to change my focus by studying the Education and Lifelong Learning BA top-up course. Now I’m studying for a PGCE at Oxford Brookes and will be a teacher in nine months’ time, all being well!

Swindon College was a great place to study and made me feel relaxed – I wasn’t the only mature student which made a big difference. There’s also a nursery onsite which made things a lot easier. The resources were great, with so many things that I could use in classes. The library was brilliant too, with specialised subject staff, and it was easy to find what you needed.

The teaching felt personal, with lots of time for discussion and an open forum to talk and ask questions. The lectures were geared to us personally, and we were talked to rather than talked at. I got to know the other students really well and we were able to share ideas and support each other. We were a real mix of ages and backgrounds, and we really bonded.

I volunteered at a local school while studying and you find a way of coping with the workload. It was difficult and time consuming, but it wasn’t as hard as people tried to make out. It is possible to juggle commitments if you have a can do attitude. You just have to believe in yourself. And you get a real sense of achievement when you walk away with the certificate in your hand. 

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