Louise Hawes

Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)

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My name is Louise and I graduated from the University of Northampton (UON) in 2020. I completed the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies.

I was very apprehensive about university; I did not know if it was for me, I was apprehensive about the workload and many other worries (which are very natural and when you meet your new course mates you will soon understand that your worries were normal). I looked around many universities but when I arrived at UON I immediately knew it was the place for me, I felt comfortable with the lecturers and the environment.

I have always dreamt about being a teacher from my earliest memories and back in 2020 you had to complete the dreaded skills tests (which I must say, still haunts me to this day). I sadly, could not complete these tests, I was always so close to the pass mark but never close enough – I called Northampton up in a panic because without passing the skills test you could not be put on the primary teaching course. They understood and offered me Early Childhood studies, I did some research and knew this was the course for me. Early Childhood Studies offers many pathways when working in education, including teaching. Many of my course mates have gone onto working in nurseries, counselling courses and teaching.

Placements were the highlight for me, when first meeting Tanya, the Programme Leader; I expressed my worries for placements due to experiences in the past. Tanya spoke to the placement team and they placed me in a school 20 minutes from where I live and it was the best thing that could have happened. The school was a small village school, with welcoming staff who were always there for you when you needed help filling in your work book. When the end was in sight for my placement, the head teacher offered me a job to work in the breakfast and afterschool club a couple of days a week which worked perfectly around uni so I said yes. I stayed on working here until the third year of university where I completed my final placement in the on-site nursery. The head teacher then offered me a job as a TA alongside my breakfast and afterschool club work and I was so happy as more experience the better when applying for teaching.

2020 arrived and we were put into a national lockdown, I was sat at home writing my dissertation with continued support from the lecturers at UON and I felt very supported. I graduated with a high 2:1 and I am now a qualified teacher, teaching in the school I completed my first placement at with UON. My dream school, which I probably would have never known about if it wasn’t for UON and Tanya promising it would be ok. I went on to complete my schools direct training at the school and I now have my own year one class, I am so happy and it is all down to UON. I am very thankful for the experience they offered me, all the advice and countless emails they received from me in panic, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.