Shelley Coupland started her education with a diploma in childcare and education at college and moved on to a degree in the same subject. From there, she completed a PGCE in primary education and taught Key Stage 1 for four years. After deciding she wanted to specialize in the Early Years, she found employment within a nursery and embarked on gaining Early Years Teacher Status.
How did you hear about the EYTS?
At a Local Authority Birth to Five open event/meeting attended by the University of Derby Early Years Teacher team.
Early Years is what I studied for in my diploma and degree. After my degree, I naturally progressed onto a PGCE and, after a few years, I realised that I had taken a wrong direction within my career. I wanted to have a speciality in Early Years and raise the profile of early years teaching, so I moved from primary teaching to Early Years teaching.
How did you find your time at the University?
The interview process at the University of Derby was thorough, but strangely enjoyable; listening to other applicants’ presentations was a highlight. It was a friendly but rigorous experience, as was my entire journey at Derby.
During the course, I appreciated that there was no need to revisit some areas of study, and the express pathway recognised that I had already completed those studies. It was beneficial that I could remain in full time employment whilst on the course.
What are you doing now that you have gained your status?
I work in a small town centre nursery and am responsible for the pre-school and toddler room and leading on the implementation of the Early Years Foundation Stage within the nursery. I support and mentor all the staff with their practice, ensuring that all staff are confident in their role.
Through the work that I completed on the course, I have made changes to the planning within our room. Before the course, I was not able to work out what was wrong, but the reflection and work that I did, and visits to other nurseries, helped me see where the planning could be improved.
Would you recommend EYTS to others?
Yes, the EYTS has allowed me to embed my knowledge and understand, aiding me to underpin the practice that I learned on my degree course with a relevant recognised status. I would promote the EYTS as I feel passionate about the importance of early education and the need for it to be better recognised as a fundamental phase in education.