Why School-based was the perfect mix for Kimberley

Changing career to become a teacher is a big step. Kimberley Tinsley left a 13-year career working as a children’s Speech and Language Therapist in the NHS to join our School-based Primary PGCE. 

Best of both worlds

Kimberley is on placement throughout the academic year and says it’s the perfect mix of being in school and at university and gives her the best of both worlds.

At her school, Ashbourne Dove Valley Teaching School Alliance, the class teacher is her mentor and she works alongside other teaching staff in the school. She says: “I was treated like a member of staff from day one and made to feel so welcome.

"I’ve been given so many opportunities to develop my knowledge and skills in all aspects of school life including forest school, after-school club and break time duties which really do allow you to feel fully immersed into school life and in the role of a teacher.”

Inspiring community

Kimberley says her lecturers are incredibly passionate about what they do and they are a huge inspiration to her. They refer to their own practice and experiences, and can relate to the students’ feelings, such as worry, feeling overwhelmed and the feeling of excitement as they embark on a career in teaching.

She says: "I would without a doubt recommend the School-based Primary PGCE course at the University of Derby. The lecturers are passionate, knowledgeable and genuinely want the best from all the students on the course."

Kimberley Tinsley

The lecturers really have taken on board how challenging it is training during a pandemic and have been so conscious about supporting not just our learning and development but also our mental health and wellbeing.

Kimberley Tinsley
PGCE Primary Student

Change in direction

Kimberley knew a long time ago that teaching was for her but found it difficult to leave one career to start another, especially with a young family to consider. Having already gained a BSc (hons) degree, she was able to enrol onto the PGCE course. She applied after seeing an advert on Facebook and liked the idea of spending most of the time in the classroom, learning to teach while immersed in school life.

“I aspire to qualify as an outstanding teacher," she says. "And, with the support from fantastic Alliance and University of Derby course leaders, Alliance Mentors and Alliance Link Tutor, this is definitely achievable.

"I hope to use my speech and language background to support developments in teaching of literacy and to eventually take on a role which will allow more focus on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.”

Making a difference

As a Speech and Language Therapist, Kimberley regularly empowered others and this is something hugely important to her. Recently, her placement school held a wellbeing day as part of the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. She was able to share her British Sign Language skills and performed the song This Is Me from the Greatest Showman film in sign language for the children.

The feedback from the children and parents was great. She says: “One parent commented on how keen and determined her daughter had been to learn the signs for the song, and how proud she felt of what she had achieved. It really made all the extra work worth it!”