Sophie Deacon - EYT Case Studies - University of Derby

Sophie Deacon

Sophie Deacon photo for case study

Sophie Deacon has worked in the early years sector for seven years, in various nurseries and through placements in schools. She is currently the deputy manager in a private, 34-place nursery where she has worked for over two years.


How did you hear about EYTS?

I heard about EYTS at a conference and knew it was the best next step for me. I wanted to gain my EYTS to continue my professional development and build my conference as a leader. I also wanted to be recognised for the hard work I put into my own development, my colleagues’, and supporting the children and families I care for. EYTS gives me that and is improving the quality of my practice.

How did you find your time at the University?

I started the course last September on the ‘Graduate – Employment Based’ pathway and completed it in July.

There were five prep sessions to inform us about, and prepare us to meet, the standards. I work full time, and the course is great as I’ve been able to schedule tutorials as needed and haven’t been taken out of my setting too much. The team were easy to contact via email whenever I needed support.

I found the placements challenging at times – I’m used to working within my own setting, and having to implement new ideas and strategies in an unfamiliar environment was a bit daunting. Juggling the course with a full-time job has sometimes been hard as I get pretty tired and have to push myself to see the bigger picture.

Would you recommend EYTS to others?

Without a doubt – I’ve loved every second, and the support from the University of Derby has been incredible; I couldn’t have done it without them. Feeling my confidence go up each and every day has been wonderful. I think it has made me even more passionate about the early years, and it has motivated me to continue my professional development as well as support other practitioners. Meeting all my fellow EYTs has been lovely too.

EYTS is growing graduate leaders able to organise and lead high-quality practice in early years settings. That will allow us to raise the profile of the sector, and allow our passion to be recognised.