What our students say

Jess Homer, Bachelor of Education

"One of the best elements of my course is the opportunity for teaching practice every year, in different year groups and key stages. There has also been the opportunity to work in a Special Needs school. It has prepared me for what life is like as a teacher, and provided me with many skills for my future teaching career. The tutors on my course are very supportive, and are always there to help and support you. I would definitely recommend the University of Derby to people looking at studying for any degree - it's a lively, exciting place to be, and a place where you can become the person you want to be."

Aamar Arshid, Bachelor of Education

"I believe I have gained so much from the BEd course. I have grown as an individual and I have become a lot more confident. For example, 3 years ago I do not think I would be able to stand in front of a class and teach them various subjects across the National Curriculum, and now I cannot wait to get into a class and think of creative ways of teaching the children and making a difference. It is so rewarding to see the children enjoy the lessons that came together after a lot of thinking and planning. One memory that will be with me for the rest of my life is when a child wrote on my leavers card - Mr Arshid you are like sunshine on a rainy day."

Andy Cox, Bachelor of Education graduate

"As I left school at the age of 16 to became a welder I had few formal qualifications, so my decision to re-enter education to become a teacher was met with a lukewarm reaction at best by lots of people. I was told that I would lose certain benefits, could get into debt, that it would take me many years and that teaching could be beyond me. But despite coming up against a lot of negativity and opposition I was still determined to teach, so I approached the University of Derby who I knew had a fantastic reputation for teaching programme."

Jo Stringer, PGCE Primary graduate

"I felt nervous about giving up my job of the last seven years, but I needed a new challenge. This course certainly provides that. It is hard work but ultimately, very rewarding."

"I looked into the routes available to me and found that I could complete an Access course and then apply for the Bachelor of Education (Hons) at The University of Derby. The BEd has completely changed my life. I am confident that with the knowledge and experience I have gained, alongside my enthusiastic nature, I will be ready to enter the classroom to make a difference to the pupils that I teach."

What inspired Farhana to become a teacher?

I got married young and had my children in my early twenties. Whilst they were of primary age, I worked in schools in a number of different roles. My colleagues had often said that I should consider becoming a teacher, as I had a good connection with pupils and my enthusiasm was perfect for motivating them to learn. I liked the idea but then would quickly dismiss it as unrealistic. I had been privileged enough to work with some great teachers (a number of them BEd graduates from Derby) and felt that this was the direction I wanted to take.

What route did Farhana take into teaching? 

I looked into the routes available to me and found that I could complete an Access course and then apply for the Bachelor of Education (Hons) at The University of Derby. Throughout the Access course my academic confidence grew and I was overjoyed at being accepted onto the BEd.

What difficulties/ challenges did Farhana face? 

Then reality started to sink in and I began to have doubts: me, a teacher? At the age of 35, could I really study at university level and cope with looking after my family? But I was lucky. My wonderful husband, children, friends and colleagues made me see that this was achievable and I have not regretted it since!

What is Farhana's view on her experience's at the University? 

The course has been an absolutely amazing experience. Any worries I had about being a mature student faded as I was valued for all my experiences. The members of staff are friendly yet professional and it is evident that they believe in their students. University sessions have given me the theoretical knowledge to support my practice in the classroom. School placements have allowed me to develop my teaching to meet the needs of all learners. Both together have helped me to identify my own philosophy of teaching and reconfirm that this is the profession for me.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I am less than a year away from becoming a qualified teacher. These last few years have flown by. It has been challenging, but equally rewarding - if not more.

"After visiting various universities, I attended an open day at Derby and immediately knew this was the place for me. It was the passion and enthusiasm of the staff, the feeling of welcome as soon as I walked into the atrium and the makeup of the course that swung it for me. The more time I spent in the classroom, I knew this was something I was meant to do."

Which route did Craig take into teaching? ‌

I made initial enquiries to a number of universities and was told that I had a strong application but needed an academic reference to be considered.  I therefore enrolled on an Access to Higher Education Diploma studying two nights a week.  Having never really been considered an academic high flyer in school it was with some trepidation that I re-entered the classroom.  Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the studying element and quickly got into a good study routine.  

What difficulties/ challenges did Craig face?

The first few weeks of university were strange for me as I was the oldest on the course and was unsure of how I would integrate with the rest of the cohort.  During the induction period my fears were laid to rest as I soon realised that each person brought their own strengths and insecurities but as a group we complemented and supported each other. The first year, as a whole, was a steep learning curve in both the academic and the practical teaching aspects of the course but something that I relished. I think having waited so long to embark on this career I embraced each challenge with enthusiasm.  My grades were steady and I was learning many key skills but it wasn’t always easy and tested my resilience but by the end of the year I felt much better about all the aspects of the course. 

What was the school experience like for Craig?

My school experience was truly amazing the university’s policy on placing all first year students into an EYFS setting I think is invaluable as it gives a real grounding and understanding of the huge progress children make in their formative years.  I never really considered working in an EYFS setting prior to this experience and was not convinced I would like it at all but I really loved it and wouldn’t be fazed about working in this setting. I think the input from the university in lectures and workshops really supported me in my preparation for my teaching practise.

What is Craig doing now?

Moving from EYFS to a Year Four class was a big jump but one I feel I made with relative ease safe in the knowledge that I had backup from the university.  This was the year that I really felt like a teacher. Apart from the huge amount of planning the sheer exhilaration of having the whole class to myself is almost indescribable.  Encouraged by my mentor I decided to apply for the final three route of the degree. As a result of the love and support of my family and friends, new and old, the dedication and guidance from the university tutors and the practical teaching experience, I can honestly say that all the sacrifices have been worthwhile and I can scarcely believe that in a little over twelve months I will be living the dream and commencing my life as a Newly Qualified Teacher.

"When my interview came around I was made to feel incredibly at ease and welcome, everyone was very friendly and understanding. The interview process was fair, and offered equal opportunity for people to show why they should be on the course, it also inspired me further to get the required grades as it confirmed I wanted to be at Derby University studying."

What inspired Samantha to become a teacher? 

From there I began to volunteer weekly at my local Primary School, where I was placed into foundation stage one. With these pupils being a similar age to the ones I worked with whilst leading birthday parties I was very much in my comfort zone and enjoyed working with small groups of pupils. I then began assisting in a year 5 class, where I got to see a totally different style of learning. This was an environment I wasn’t sure that I would be comfortable in, however I really enjoyed working with the older children and took a lot away from the class teacher about her role and what it involved.

What influenced Samantha's decision to come to Derby University? 

When entering sixth form I had a strong idea I wanted to teach so continued on with working at the local school, as well as taking further opportunities offered to me. Once I had made the firm decision I wanted to be a teacher, I visited many open days and looked at courses across the country, deciding I wanted to stay fairly local I narrowed my choices down to The University of Derby and Nottingham Trent University. After visiting both open days and hearing what both courses had to offer, it was the personalisation opportunities on the course and the more personal touch the staff appeared to have that led me to put Derby as my first choice.

What was the application process like for Samantha?

During the time waiting to be offered an interview I continued to volunteer at my local school, as well as helping out a local rainbows club to ensure I was seen as passionate about the course. All of these things made me feel more confident and prepared for my interview. 

When I was offered a conditional offer to the university all that was left was to get the necessary grades, and apply to the Halls of Residence. The halls offered great choice and was a fair system, and luckily enough I got my first choice in accommodation. I spent the next few months working and studying to ensure I got the grades I needed from my a-levels.

What is Samantha doing now?

Results day was one the scariest days of my life; checking UCAS at 7am to find I had got onto the course was the most exciting 7am I had ever seen! It led me to where I am now, thoroughly enjoying the journey into teacher training and making me realise I have lots more 7ams to see yet!

"I can’t wait to become a teacher and I would certainly recommend this course for anyone wanting to go into the teaching profession as the course and staff really help you develop yourself and encourage you to follow your own interests in education. I know for sure that the course has set me up for my teaching career and I can’t wait to be saying a huge thanks from my very own class to all the teaching team at Derby for their help they have given me."

What route did Jade take running upto university? ‌

I followed the typical route through education, staying on at school to complete my ‘A’ Levels in English Language and Literature, Health and Social Care and a BTEC award in Children’s Care, Learning and Development at sixth form. After that, I went to college to study even further and gain some ‘A’ Level qualifications in Sociology and Film Studies to help me towards my suitability for the course. Alongside my academic experience, I spent some time volunteering in schools and other educational settings until I was accepted on the course. These experiences secured my thoughts about becoming a teacher as I was able to see how I was making a difference in the lives of the children I came into contact with and I knew I wanted to carry this on.

What difficulties/ challenges did Jade face?

I am the first in my immediate family to go to University. Therefore, some of my experiences at University have been new for me. However, the friendly support from lecturers and others on the course made finding the way of University life, easy. The support from my family has made this experience manageable as I know I can call on them to help me through my study. Whilst studying I still manage to work part-time at a local fitness facility where I am a receptionist. This has meant that I have had to be conscious of managing my time effectively, making sure that I make time for study, home and work. Although sometimes this has been challenging, it has been possible for me and keeps me running at a fast pace (useful for when I’ll be teaching).

What influenced Jade to come to Derby University?

I knew that I wanted to study an education degree, so initially I grouped together universities that offered this course. Derby University soon became my first choice as it was extremely important for me to be close to my family in Leicestershire. The University was fairly local to me (Midlands) and I knew that I could commute to and from it fairly easily. I also had heard that the University was well-known for its teaching course which persuaded me to study here.

What are the highlights of the course?

The course has given me so much more than just the study of education. The experiences I have had at Derby have shaped me for the better. Engaging in some of the wider aspects of the course has given me a great confidence, which I know will steer me in the right direction for my future career. I have managed to meet lots of new people and have gained many new friends. Furthermore, my placements have shown me a range of schools, all of which have their own qualities. The course itself allows you to personalise your degree, which has lead me to specialising in creative arts but also attending a variety of placements to support my understanding. One of which was a placement at Twycross Zoo!

"The best thing about the first year of the BEd was that by the end of my placement I was dying to do more, I felt I could teach whole class lessons, which is something I would have never expected just 9 weeks before at the start of placement. I achieved a 'good' for my teaching placement which was fantastic for my first year, this inspired me to push harder in my second year and I was graded as 'outstanding' by the end of my second year placement."

What route did Sarah take into teaching? 

My route into teaching was very traditional and as such I had to push myself to gain experience around my formal school schedule. Through secondary school I started choreographing for school plays using my prior dance experience; this gave me my first taste of teaching which lead to a huge increase in my confidence. As my confidence grew, I found more and more opportunities to teach in different settings such as mentoring of younger students and volunteering to help with after school clubs at local primary schools. Each new opportunity to investigate the teaching world was as exciting to explore as the last. By the time I reached sixth form I was sure I wanted to be a primary school teacher and I choose A Level subjects which I felt would support me with the subject knowledge which I needed.

What difficulties/ challenges did Sarah face? 

‘A’ Levels were the first time which I truly struggled at school, I found the work more difficult than ever before and moving to a new sixth form left me without my friendship support group. Even though I struggled at this time I feel as though this was a profound moment in developing my resilience and self-efficacy which I have had to rely upon greatly since starting the BEd.

My time at university so far has been a blur of emotions with key highs and lows. I found my interview was a test of my self-confidence as I found myself surrounded by people who were all as passionate about teaching as I was, many of whom had more classroom experience than I had. 

What is Sarah doing now?

While these achievements have been fantastic it was by no means an easy challenge, there have been times through the last two years where I wanted to quit after late nights planning or a mind blank while writing an assignment. However I'm still here and fighting to be the best teacher that I can be, this year my placement will be in a special school and this gives me the opportunity to explore a whole new world of teaching .

"Gaining experience in the classroom was essential for my personal development and this is why I chose a BEd at the University of Derby as the course offered a variety of placements over the four years. The length of the course appealed to me as I knew that four years would allow me to develop professionally and academically and lead me on the path to my goal as a Teacher."

What inspired Rebecca to become a teacher? 

What do you want to be when you’re older? ‘A teacher’ had always been my immediate response from the age of five. During secondary school was the time when I realised that this dream could be a reality. Throughout secondary school I engaged with the community and completed a Junior Sports Leadership Award (JSLA) where I organised and ran events in the local community. This is where my spark for teaching began. Leading after school clubs, running sports events for Primary Schools and interacting within children gave me the insight into the rewards of teaching. 

What is Rebecca's view on her experiences of the course and the University? 

In the past two years the course has allowed me to develop both my subject and personal development. From a variety of university sessions, lectures and seminars, I have interacted with peers and developed my social skills which have been transferred into my placement settings.  From university session I have learnt the role of a teacher, professionalism and diversity and through placement, I have had the opportunity to put my knowledge into practice. Placement opportunities have shown me first-hand experience of a teacher’s day-to-day life, preparing me for the future.

What opportunities did Rebecca receive from the BEd course? 

My degree has given me the opportunity to personalise my own learning and think ahead to the future. Through module choices and placement opportunities I have been able to shape the teacher I want to be in the future. From the past two years at university I have learnt the importance on individualisation and this was essential in my progression professionally. Choosing modules of ‘Learning beyond the classroom’ and ‘mathematics’ I have begun to personalise the teacher I want to be. Through my course I have been able to gain experience in SEN schools and I’m considering continuing with this route, shaping me as a future teacher.  

If there is anything that I have learnt from the BEd degree it’s that commitment and determination are needed to succeed! With this in mind, the experiences and knowledge gained by this course and my goal in sight, I believe I will be a fully prepared teacher. 

"I attended only four open days, Derby was my second visit – after that first day I was sure Derby would be the place for me and I in fact retracted all other applications even before my exams had been sat. The University had a friendly and welcoming feel from day one, when I was asked to attend an interview for the BEd course I was over the moon. The interview day was fantastic and made me realise even more that this was the course, and University for me."

What inspired Victoria to become a teacher?

I began volunteering as a Rainbow leader as soon as I turned 16 purely because I wanted to carry on my involvement with girlguiding and I enjoyed working with younger children. I spent time working with Brownies and Guiding groups, but most enjoyed my evenings with the youngest girls. As a keen swimmer, I out-grew my local club at around the age of 14, instead of leaving however I turned to volunteering with the non-swimmers, and in turn progressed to teaching large groups and higher abilities. This experience lead to my first part time job as a swimming teacher and lifeguard. 

What difficulties/ challenges did Victoria face? 

As my peers were applying for their universities and courses I became more and more unsure about what route I wanted to take, worrying about the expense of University for a course I wasn’t particularly sure of caused me to back away from the idea of further study, I just didn’t know what was out there. Leaving it perhaps far too late, I arranged a meeting with my college’s career advisor, armed with my CV, personal statement and a list of my interests I sat and had what has now appeared to be the most important conversation of my life. After what must have been no more than a 20 minute chat, I was asked, ‘Why on earth aren’t you going into teaching?’ It had just never seemed obvious to me!

Everything after that seemed to pass so quickly, I researched universities, all local to my home town of Leicester as I was anxious about moving away from home. My elder brother however insisted that I move away, stating that I’d always regret it if I didn’t after his experiences as ‘a proper student’, now I can see he was exactly right. (Annoyingly!) My Ucas application was changed to ‘living in halls.’

What is Victoria's view on her experience's at Derby University? 

As soon as I arrived to be greeted in halls by other ‘BEd-ers’ all my worries vanished. Being a Fresher was amazing, it’s true what they say, the people I met on that very first day are still my closest friends and will be for life. I cannot believe how much two years at Derby University has changed me for the better; I am now a confident student teacher with academic results that I never thought I’d be able to achieve. I now have two homes. Leicester with my family and Derby with my friends, moving into Halls of Residence is definitely one of the best things I have ever decided to do. Working hard to get into the third year of my degree is another. The dream of having a ‘Miss Kilby’ plaque on the door of my very own classroom in less than 2 years is slowly becoming reality, I know  that I still have a long way to go and a lot more hard work to do, however when I look back at what I’ve achieved so far, I know it will very soon be worth it!

"I visited local universities to see what courses they offered and which University was right for me and as soon as I walked through the door at Derby University, it was my first choice. I remember thinking that not only were the resources and facilities extensive but also, I immediately recognised the friendliness of the staff who were extremely supportive from the offset."

What inspired Samantha to become a teacher? 

I have always considered a career in teaching however after leaving education, I found myself working in finance. Before I knew it four years had passed me by and I realised that accountancy wasn’t for me. Having not been in an academic environment for what seemed like a lifetime, I was both apprehensive and nervous about leaving my job to pursue a career in teaching, but also very excited about what it might bring.

What support did Samantha receive during her time at the University? 

I remember feeling very apprehensive in year one as my first placement in school was approaching, however the support and advice given in lectures and workshops was great preparation. For our first placement, we were given a ‘buddy’ so we not only had some company, but also some moral support. By having the buddy system, we had a familiar face to share our thoughts and anxieties and we were able to share lesson ideas and team teach so that the pressure of standing in front of the class alone was taken away from us.

What difficulties/ challenges did Samantha face?

The transition from year one to year two was the biggest for me, having jumped to 60% independent teaching from a predominantly observation based placement in year one. During year two of the BEd programme, we took on the roles and responsibilities of the class teacher and although the thought of this was daunting, the reality was incredible and such an enlightening experience. Of course the experience didn’t come without its ups and downs but as a whole, it really helped me to identify the progression I had made.

What is Samantha doing now?

I have now been accepted to complete the course on a three year route and I cannot wait to get back into school and put into practice all that I have learnt from lectures and workshops. I have had such a fantastic experience in my teacher training so far and I now look forward to having my own classroom next year where I can inspire children to learn through creative and engaging lessons. I have been really inspired and encouraged to teach and become the teacher I want to be through the BEd programme and I am really excited about what’s to come.


"My highlights from being on the course for two years, has been the attitude of all the teaching staff on the course as their interest and enthusiasm has provided me with the opportunity to grow as a trainee teacher. Also the two placements that I have undertaken have opened my eyes to the challenges and extreme highs of the profession that I intend to enter."

What inspired Bradley to become a teacher? 

Throughout my life I have always been inspired by my teachers who have always encouraged me to do everything to my full potential. My main inspiration came from my primary school teacher Mr Webster who gave me confidence to get involved in all areas of the curriculum and a number of extra-curricular activities. I believe that these experiences have shaped the person I am today and I would like to be a role model to children just like he and all my other teachers have been to me.

What influenced Bradley's decision to come to Derby?

On completion of my A levels I began to research and enquire at a number of different universities however only a select few provided the BEd course. This course provided opportunities to study education in depth over four years while gaining the relevant teaching experience to help me succeed in the profession. I attended three interviews at three universities, derby being one of them and there was a distinct impression that Derby provided an enthusiastic and welcoming environment. As soon as I listened to the welcome talk at Derby, I knew that this was the course and university for me.

What difficulties/ challenges did Bradley face? 

Coming to university was extremely daunting for me as I live in Lincolnshire, about two hours away from Derby so I was leaving all my friends and family behind which was all part of the university experience. Even the simplest thing like the pedestrian crossing caused a problem for me as they seemed alien to me! However, I managed to overcome these difficulties along with cooking and cleaning through the help of my new friends, allowing me to start living the student life.

What support and opportunities did Bradley receive on the course?

The course provided challenges in the first year due to the step up in academic writing. However, my attitude allowed me to overcome this challenge and succeed. Also with the help of my professional tutor in both years I have been able to progress academically and develop professionally as well.  The support from the university through the ULT’s has allowed me to make independent progress and create targets that are personal to me to inform my development as a teacher. Finally the two years of 'charity week' have been an amazing experience as it is something completely different to anything else that happens on the course. These weeks have given me opportunities to develop further as a person in terms of my teamwork but also have allowed me to give something to Barnados and the course through taking part in an all day flash mob dance in Derby, going on a half a marathon walk to Ashbourne and dressing up in various animal onesies at entertainment nights.

What is Bradley doing now?

As I am now going into my third year of the four year course I am excited about what new challenges and experiences are ahead of me. So far on the course, I have centred my personal interest around teaching which I believe is about making children want to learn and facilitating their learning by supporting them on their own education journey. Therefore, teachers have a lot of responsibilities and need to be able to ensure that children develop into respectable young adults. I believe I am capable of fulfilling the role of a practitioner and face the challenges of the profession.