Graduate praises studies at Wrexham Glyndwr University for helping secure ‘dream’ teaching job
A graduate whose studies at Wrexham Glyndwr University helped her secure a dream job in education is urging others to consider taking up teaching.
Danielle Williams began her studies at Glyndwr with a three-year BA (Hons) in Education Studies and followed that with a one-year Primary PGCE Course, which is taught at Glyndwr in collaboration with St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London.
As part of that course, students are encouraged to source a short placement for themselves based on their individual interests – and staff at Danielle’s chosen school The Lifehouse, an independent special needs school in Bettws Cedewain near Newtown, were so impressed with her she has since been offered a full-time role.
She began working for the school the September after finishing her studies at the university – and has found herself adapting her work to ensure the children she works with carried on receiving the help they need while the school has been physically closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our school is based in Wales, with children coming from both Powys and Shropshire,” said Danielle.
“I’m a ‘learning lead’, meaning I am in charge of a group of eight children. My job role, as well as teaching, includes organising their learning timetable – each child has a personalised timetable, a bit like a high school timetable – and all other paperwork for them, such as action plans.
“I also organise a small group of staff who mostly work with my children.
“Most children have 1:1 lessons for the majority of the time, however, we do try small group learning too. We have a STEM group, which tends to work well as we do practical based activities based on a topic.
“Each child has a ‘champion’ as well, a key member of staff who supports them more in terms of wellbeing.”
Since the school closed physically in March, Danielle and her colleagues put a range of measures in place to ensure they kept in touch with their pupils throughout the school year – both virtually and in person.
She added: “During the school year, every child in lower school – ages 9-15 was receiving a phone or video call every school day, as well as receiving more limited calls during Easter and summer half term.
“This has been working really well. Whilst on video call, we have been doing all sorts of activities, such as chess, online quizzes, art, craft, ICT and lots more. I have been sending personalised learning packages to each child in my group. They also have access to online learning platforms such as My Maths and Century.
“During the daily calls, parents also have a chance to speak to us if they need support with anything.”
As restrictions eased, the team added to their online work and began running an ‘outreach’ package, travelling out to an open space near their student’s home to work with them for an hour – then, later, they worked to welcome a few students in once or twice a week to provide them with special support.
The team are now preparing themselves for the new school year, which is set to start in the coming weeks.
Danielle has praised her studies at the university for helping to prepare her for work at The Lifehouse both through her studies the placements undertaken while at Glyndwr – which in her case, led her directly to her current job.
She said: “I really enjoyed studying at Glyndwr- the tutors were so approachable and were always on hand to provide help and support where needed. I felt like they truly cared.
“There were lots of practical sessions, which were great because my class would regularly have meaningful and thought-provoking discussions.
“These practical sessions provided me with important theories and strategies, which I was able to identify and translate into practice when on placement.
“My placements were great – they were local to home and provided me with some invaluable experiences, which has helped shape my learning.
“If anyone is thinking of studying a course like I did at Glyndwr, I’d tell them – go for it! It is truly one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I have ever done.
“I have learnt so much along the way, and it has led me to my dream job! I am so lucky to have a job that I absolutely love, and to work in a school that puts the child in the centre of everything.”
Programme Leader for PGCE Primary Education, Karen Rhys Jones, said: “The work that teachers like Danielle have been doing in recent months has made a real difference to the children they teach and stems from genuine care for children’s learning and wellbeing.
“Their work has been recognised by parents who share with teachers a desire for ensuing the best learning experiences for each child and it has been recognised by politicians as we saw with a recent announcement from the Welsh Government that they will be expanding the number of roles for teachers in Wales.
“I would like to congratulate Danielle for securing her dream job and using that role to show exactly why our teachers are so valued.”
More about studying for a Primary PGCE with QTS Course, which is taught at Glyndwr in collaboration with St Mary’s University, London, can be found here. Or, for another way into teaching find out about studying for a BA (hons) Primary Education with QTS Course here:
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