Jo Slater - College of Arts, Humanities and Education - University of Derby

Jo Slater

What are you doing now?

Since graduating from BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies in 2015, I have completed the PGCE Primary at UEA, specialising in EYFS and Key Stage One. Whilst studying my PGCE, I secured a job teaching Year One from September 2016.

What were the main reasons you took the course?

I chose to study Early Childhood Studies because I’ve wanted to be a teacher for as long as I remember. I wanted to gain a holistic view of childhood from a health, education and social care perspective before completing a PGCE, and this degree provided me with the perfect opportunity to do this.

Why did you choose to study the course at the University of Derby?

I went to a range of Open Days at different universities, but as soon as I set foot in the University of Derby I knew it was the right place for me. The campus had a lively atmosphere and everyone was so friendly that I instantly felt welcomed. The course modules particularly stood out as I was able to tailor my degree to my interests and career path. The class sizes were small and personal and lectures were interactive. There were also no exams!

What impact has studying this course at Derby had on your career?

This degree has given me the core understanding of how children learn and develop, which underpins my teaching philosophy. I also gained an understanding of the health sector and social care system in relation to early childhood, making me more informed about the roles and perspectives of other sectors.

In addition to undertaking two different placements in schools and nurseries, I had the opportunity to complete a four week placement in a Pizzigoni primary school in Milan. This was an amazing opportunity which enabled me to experience international perspectives and culture.

The course has taught me to continually question, reflect and develop my practice so that I continue learning throughout my career.

How did the lecturers inspire you?

The lecturers were all very supportive and I knew that I could go to them for help and advice if needed. They also helped us to find placements in local schools. The lecturers ensured sessions were interactive and we often made things that we could take on placement and use in the classroom. We were also encouraged to discuss our experiences and ideas with other students, which gave us the opportunity to reflect on our practice and develop our ideas by working together.

How do you feel the University has helped you in your career so far?

The teaching team were with us every step of the way, helping to shape and develop our ideas and supporting us to go into a range of different careers. The University of Derby also helped me with my application to teaching and were always there to give advice and support.

What are your future plans?

I am starting my first teaching post in a Year One class in September 2016 which I am really excited about!

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to study this course at the University of Derby?

I took this course knowing that I wanted to go into teaching. However, if you know that you want to work with children but are unsure which direction to go in, this course will give you an insight into a range of different careers. The course gives you a holistic view of childhood which underpins any career and I really enjoyed my time at the University of Derby.

Who are you still in touch with from University of Derby?

I am still in touch with friends from my course, who have all gone into different roles involving early childhood. I also regularly talk to and meet up with my old housemates. Moving away from home to study in Derby, I gained some of my best friends at the University and the three years I spent there were fantastic!

Jo Slater graduate case study "I was able to tailor my degree to my interests and career path."