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Student Success Stories

George Slater

Newman alum George Slater left Cardinal Newman in 2012, having studied A Levels in Business Studies, PE and English Language. He then went off to UCLan to study a degree in Business and Management for which he earned a first class honours.

Following his success at university, George decided to apply for the School Direct programme at Newman. He felt the partnership of Edge Hill, the UK’s leading Teacher Training University, and Cardinal Newman, one of the top sixth forms in the country, was unparalleled. George successfully joined the scheme in 2015 as part of the Business Studies department where he spent a year working towards his teaching qualifications.

Upon completion of the School Direct Programme, George applied for a vacant position at the College as a teacher of Business Studies. Following a rigorous selection process, he started his first full-time teaching role as an NQT at Cardinal Newman in September 2016.

George said: “What has been really great about the School Direct Programme is that the teachers that are teaching you are really dedicated to helping you to realise your full potential as a teacher. They help you to recognise your strengths but also highlight any areas where you could improve, and work with you to make those improvements. Training to be a teacher is challenging and you need to be resilient, but it prepares you to become the best teacher you can be.”

Rachel Riley

Rachel Riley joined Cardinal Newman College in 2012 from Walton-Le-Dale Arts College and High School to study A Levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Geography, Critical Thinking and General Studies.

After Newman, she progressed onto a top local university, Lancaster, to study a degree in Earth Science with Geography. As part of the degree, Rachel opted to complete a study abroad year at Western University in Ontario, Canada. Formerly, the University of Western Ontario, Western ranks as one of Canada’s top research universities, so was a fantastic place for Rachel to study and gain more experience.

During her final year at university, Rachel decided that she would like to pursue a career in teaching. She was unsure how to go about it, but when she found out about the School Direct Programme at Cardinal Newman, she knew it was the perfect fit for her.

Rachel then had to balance her final year of university with her UCAS application for School Direct, as well as her other commitments, including teaching gymnastics in her spare time.

Rachel said: “I felt that my experience of teaching gymnastics really helped with my application to School Direct at Cardinal Newman. Throughout the whole application process, I really liked the support that was available from the College. I was able to have direct contact with the College which enabled me to ask any questions that I had.”

Rachel completed her ITT with Cardinal Newman in 2016, achieving a secondary PGCE with QTS in Geography and Maths and is now a teacher of Geography and Maths at the College.

For more information about George and Rachel’s experiences on the School Direct course, watch the video below.

Rebecca Maddox

Rebecca knew that she wanted to do a degree after finishing her A-Levels. When she looked her at University options, she decided that she didn’t want to move away from home. She discovered the Foundation Degree courses at Cardinal Newman and signed up straight away. Before receiving her A-Level results, Rebecca had already secured a job as a Teaching Assistant which meant she was ready to start on the Teaching and Learning Support Foundation Degree.

“I knew what I wanted to do, it was just about finding the right course and institution to study at. When I found out about the course at Newman, I was elated! It was perfect. I could work, gain valuable experience, as well as study a qualification in the field I want a career in. I am gaining such a wealth of knowledge, not only from the teaching staff but from my fellow students on the course too. They are all having different experiences within their roles at primary schools, and it’s ideal that the course lets us explore all the different challenges we are facing in our roles and being able to find solutions to problems.

It’s a very hands-on course and is perfect for anyone who wants to further their career in the primary education sector. Once I’ve completed my Foundation Degree, I’m going to go straight onto the BA (Hons), possibly with Cumbria University. Then once I’ve achieved my NQT I’m hoping to move abroad to experience teaching in a different country.

This course has really supported me in my role at my school. It really helps you to develop a deeper understanding of the work you do as a Teaching Assistant.”

Brad-Leigh Corlett

After studying a Teaching and Learning Level 3 course, Brad-Leigh was set in his role at work and felt he was performing well. It was only after encouragement from his friends, family and co-workers that he decided to make the leap into furthering his career. In 2014, he spotted one of the College’s billboards advertising the Foundation Degree courses and got in touch immediately. After a discussion with the friendly course leader, he knew this was the right place for him to study.

“It was perfect! I’d been encouraged by my employer to find a course that was suitable for me and there was nothing out there quite like the course at Newman. The topics we cover are very work-based, relevant and contemporary. You can really relate everything you learn to your work in school. I really enjoyed the module on Leadership, which was led by the College’s Vice Principal. This made me look at my strengths and weaknesses as an individual and where I need to develop. I’d been working as a TA for some time before I started this course and the College has been fantastic with my employer. Visits and observations at school are always planned and organised well in advance so my employer knows exactly what to expect.

I believe that it is really important to have the support of your employer whilst you are completing the programme. You can take what you are learning back into the classroom and also share it with colleagues.”

Lauren Cowell

After completing a BTEC Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care and achieving Triple Distinction Star (D*D*D*), Lauren decided to enrol onto the Foundation Degree in Teaching and Learning Support. She was looking for a qualification which meant she could work whilst learning.

Lauren currently works as a Teaching Assistant at a specialist school for children with Autism, helping students to overcome many of the difficulties that they face when it comes to learning.

Talking about her experience of the Foundation Degree so far, Lauren says: “I really wanted to work and gain a relevant qualification. The Foundation Degree at Newman has got the best of both worlds!

I’m really enjoying my time on this course. It’s great that I can take back what I’ve learnt to the classroom at my school and share my experiences with the group in our weekly seminars. I’ve learnt so much over the last 12 months and a particular highlight for me was when we studied a module on the National Curriculum. We learnt about different theorists who delve into the way that children learn and develop. After I’ve completed the Teaching and Learning Support Foundation Degree, I’m going to do a top-up BA (Hons), hopefully at UCLan and then complete the School Direct Programme with a local primary school, so I can become a qualified Primary School Teacher who specialises in SEND.”

Rebecca Whalley

Reflecting on the first year of her Foundation Degree, Rebecca says: “Being on this course puts what I’m learning into practice. It’s great to be part of a group who all have the same career aspirations and are working towards the same goal. I feel like I’ve really developed as a student and an employee whilst I have been on this course.

Once I’ve completed the Foundation Degree at Newman, I’m going to take a gap year to get more work experience, before embarking on the BA (Hons) at Newman in 2018. My ultimate goal is to become a Primary School Teacher and I feel this is really achievable, especially as the support I get from the staff at Newman and my employer is fantastic! If you are considering studying this Foundation Degree I would say that you have to keep an open mind, not only with experiences you will have in your work placement but also to those experiences from your peers in the classroom. The course is challenging but fun, and the tutors at Newman are great!”

For more information about our students’ experiences on the Foundation Degree courses, watch the video below.

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