Verity Lee, BEd (Hons) Primary Education, 2010

What are you doing now?

Since completing my BEd (Hons) in Primary Education and completing my Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year at Wyndham Primary Academy in Derby, a wealth of opportunities have come my way. Over the past five years I have taught the Foundation Stage through to Year Six and have been an ‘Achievement Leader’ in Key Stages One and Two. Within this role I have supported staff, raised aspirations of pupils and made sure pupil attainment reached the national average.

In 2014 I became an ICT SLE (Specialist Leader of Education) and as part of this role I have supported other primary schools with the development of technology. An example of this is introducing ‘Digital Leaders’ at Wyndham. These specialist sessions research and trial new technologies, run workshops called ‘teachmeets’ and talks to enhance the teaching of computing and skills of parents.

I had a great opportunity to work with an Apple educational trainer, Square Group, where I was a guest speaker at a number of events across the country, sharing the schools journey on the use of iPads across the curriculum. 

In September 2015 I started my new challenge as Assistant Principal at Wyndham Primary Academy. 

What were the main reasons you took that course?

I have always had an interest in child development having studied a BTEC National Diploma in Early Years whilst at college. I decided to go into teaching to make a difference and ensure all children enjoy their learning. I decided to study the BEd (Hons) Primary Education route into teaching because it provided four years’ of experience in a variety of year groups and settings. Becoming a teacher has given me the opportunities to continue my professional development and progression.

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

The College of Education at Derby has a good reputation and strong links with local schools. Staff - in particular Sharon Bell and Fiona Shelton - had not long left primary teaching and so were able to empathise with BEd students offering practical advice and support, sharing their industry knowledge of education. Derby offered the opportunity to take specialist teaching routes such as; Special Needs, English, ICT or Early Years.

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

After studying at Derby and developing links with local primary schools, I became a teacher in the city. This has helped me build on the links I made at University, share good practice between schools and develop my confidence as a teacher.

How did the lecturers inspire you?

They were positive and encouraging and I always remember how they celebrated the individuality of students which gave me the confidence to be unique. A quote from a first lecture by Fiona Shelton has stayed with me: “She gave me wings and taught me to fly”.

This inspired me to want to be the best teacher I possibly could and inspire the most reluctant learners.

The lecturers are inspirational role models due to their continuing professional development and close links with schools. Many are also published writers which demonstrate their serious commitment to education.

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

Throughout the four year BEd I experienced a range of teaching placements which gave me an insight into a range of settings - multicultural and Special Need schools. This helped me appreciate the variety of needs pupils have and the skills to differentiate teaching so all children are successful learners.

Since gaining ‘Outstanding’ from Ofsted in May 2014, Wyndham Primary Academy has offered placements to trainee teachers. This has enabled me to give something back to Derby and reflect on my own practice. This year, to help raise aspirations of pupils, my Year Six class are called ‘Derby University’. Using my links with the lecturers and the College of Education I hope to provide opportunities for the pupils to experience the University first hand.

What are your future plans?

To continue building on the links I’ve have made with Derby and become the school’s Link Tutor for teaching students.

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

The College of Education at Derby offers a wealth of experience and interests which enables students to look critically at education and their understanding of learning.

Teaching is a profession where it is important to develop excellent relationships with all staff. When meeting any member of the ITE team you will quickly get a sense of the outstanding support you’ll receive. This support network lasts during your time at the University and long after graduation.

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

During my four years studying at the University of Derby I developed many close social and professional relationships with staff and other BEd students. A number of these friends work in the Derby area and this has helped create good partnerships with other local schools in the city.

I am also still in close contact with Fiona Shelton (Head of ITE) and Sharon Bell (Senior Lecturer BA Hons Child and Youth Studies).