Hannah Taylor

Learning and Teaching (top-up) BA (Hons)

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A graduate’s dream of becoming a teacher took a backseat after personal tragedy, but is closer to reality thanks to a scholarship that paid all of her course fees.

Hannah Taylor recently graduated from the University of Northampton’s Learning and Teaching course – with First Class honours – after several years working as a Teaching Assistant at a local primary school.

Hannah has wanted to work as a teacher for many years but a death in the family paused her plans. She explains: “I did want to go to university, but whilst in sixth form my Mum passed away. It was like having the rug taken out from under my feet and, in the end, it didn’t feel right going to uni.

“I wanted to work in education like Mum; in fact, she worked in the school where I started. But you need a degree to become a teacher and I was happy to stay at home with my dad and brother. I got myself a job at a local school as a Teaching Assistant, something I’ve done for several happy years.”

Two years ago, feeling she had achieved all of her ambitions in that role, Hannah felt the time was right to take the professional plunge…but there was one final problem to solve.

Hannah adds: “After three years as a Teaching Assistant, one of the teachers inspired me to up-skill and encouraged me to apply for university. Going to university is a big thing in anyone’s life, but the course fees were a bit daunting. I know money isn’t everything, but it’s something that was going to hold me back again.

“I didn’t know things like scholarships or bursaries existed, but I saw them on the University’s website and clicked on the one that seemed most relevant – the Sir Thomas White Scholarship – which gives money toward studying costs if you are from and live in Northampton.

“I didn’t think I stood a chance of even getting it, so was elated when I received an email that said the charity would fund all of my course fees for the entire three years of the degree. I was absolutely over the moon! The scholarship took the pressure off because I didn’t have to worry about any financial aftermath and had the confidence to go forward and get my degree.”

And getting a First Class honours degree at the end was the icing the cake: “It was a lovely end to the term, it finished everything perfectly. It has been full on for three years but now feels so worth it. If I’m honest, I don’t think I would have got that grade if it wasn’t for Sir Thomas.”

Starting in September, Hannah has one more year in teacher training before the stabiliser wheels are taken off, but the university experience is one she is glad to have experienced: “The tutors are amazing on our course, right from the start. I was only physically at the University one day a week, but it is a full-time course so I was studying every day.

“But they have prepared me very well for going on to be a teacher. A lot of them have been teachers before lecturing, so they appreciate the situation their students are in.”