“I have always loved sport. When I was younger, I wanted to be a PE teacher in secondary education due to my own sporting successes in both running and swimming at a regional level. I studied the BSc (Hons) Physical Education some years ago at Leeds Beckett University, however, once I commenced employment and started earning money that took over and life carried along. I worked at Post Office Ltd for 17 years, doing various managerial jobs, from Area Manager, Contract Manager to Business Development Manager. However, I always knew deep down that one day I would change career and pursue a profession in education.

After having my third child in December 2016, moving to a new house in May 2017, and being offered voluntary redundancy from my job, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to return to education in July 2017. I decided to enrol on the BSc (Hons) Sports Studies (Top-Up) course in September 2017, a lot of people thought I was crazy for commuting to Leeds from Billingham (North East) with a 9-month-old, 4-year-old and 6-year- old at home, however, I knew it was the right time for me.

As soon as I returned to Beckett Campus, it felt like coming home and seeing familiar friendly faces of Jamie French and Mike Gray made studying easier. The course itself could be tailored to meet my needs of wanting to pursue a career in education, with me choosing my own subject area to study. Leeds Beckett is a great place to study, great buildings, facilities are fantastic, and the support offered at every step of the way is brilliant. I enjoyed meeting different people of all ages on the course, all with different backgrounds and different career aspirations, everyone is great, and the tutors encourage supporting each other and group discussions. The course itself is intense with it being a one year course, however, if you are prepared to put in the work, work with the tutors, turn up to all lectures and seminars, do additional reading and interact with other students for support, then you can succeed.

I was over the moon to achieve a 2:1 after being away from study for 12 years, my main achievement was getting 73% on my dissertation. I went on to gain a place with Durham School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) in September 2018, the subject areas I had chosen during the BSc (Hons) Sports Studies (Top-Up) had helped me gain this place and set me up well. I am now a primary teacher in an academy in Sunderland, which caters for children with Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Difficulties and Autistic Spectrum disorders. The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) module I completed as part of my Sports Studies course, contributed to my interest in this area of education. Due to my desire to pursue a successful career in education, along with my academic interests I am now completing a Master’s in Education part-time as a distance learner.

My time on the course was an intense year, however, I felt supported the whole way and couldn’t have got through it without the support of all the tutors and my course leader, Jamie French. Everyone had my best interests at heart. I showed commitment, asked for help and support when I required it, took part in lecture and seminar discussions, and showed up for all my personal tutorials. This all helped me to achieve what I set out to, and now I am in my chosen career as a primary school teacher, with a view to progress in the future and continue my academic studies.

I am grateful there is a course such as the BSc (Hons) Sports Studies (Top-Up) that exists as it allowed me to completely change my career and I have never looked back. You have just got to push yourself right to the end and it proves that if your mind is in the right place anyone can do it!”

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