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Make this your year at Stockton Riverside College!

Offering a range of part-time, access to higher education, foundation degree and degree programmes, it’s not too late to start college now.

September creeps around and like so many other years, you think you have left it too late to find a college course and start your journey into a career in education.

Well this is the time to make a change and forget all the excuses.

Stockton Riverside College is enrolling now, offering you the chance to upskill or retrain.

“All it takes is that first step,” said Kelly Johnson, the college’s programme area leader for childcare and education. “You might just surprise yourself by what you can achieve.”

Every year she gets to see students, both school leavers and adult learners, reaching their ambitions.

For her, there’s got to be no greater feeling than seeing someone who doubted their potential moving on to bigger and better things.

Kelly said: “We never get tired of seeing how much our learners develop in confidence and become professionals. We feel privileged to be part of their journey into such a rewarding career.”

Regardless of your starting point, the college has learning opportunities that can fit around the demands of home and work life.

It might take hard work and commitment but as Kelly says the results can be well worth the effort.

This was certainly the case for Emma. After years of putting her ambitions on hold, she took the plunge and completed the final year of her degree in education and training at Stockton Riverside College.

Working as a teaching assistant, it took some persuasion from colleagues to convince Emma she would make a great teacher, but having missed out on the grades at university first time round she was lacking in confidence.

“I knew from the age of five that I wanted to be a teacher,” said the 31-year-old who is originally from Cornwall. “That was always the plan but when I failed my final year at university 10 years ago, I thought maybe I wasn’t clever enough.”

Still keen to work with children, Emma, who now lives in Middlesbrough, has spent the last decade working as a room supervisor in a private nursery and then as a teaching assistant in a primary school.

Spurred on to finally give the college a call last September, Emma was back in the classroom a few days later, adding to her previous qualifications by working towards a BA (Hons) Education and Training (Top-up).

She said: “It was already September when I called so I thought I might have missed it. They told me I could start the following week.”

Quickly settling into a busy routine of balancing full-time work and her studies, she said: “It has all gone so quickly.”

She admits it has taken dedication to her studies, but it felt great to be back on track and working towards her goals.

Initial apprehensions about being a student again were quickly forgotten.

Preferring a hands-on approach to learning, she explained, “I think it was silly things like having to write essays and referencing that put me off trying for 10 years but the staff in the college offer lots of support with this.”

Funnily enough, Emma found she enjoyed researching theories and writing her dissertation.  

Just 12 months later she has not only achieved her degree but surprised herself by picking up an impressive 2:1.

Now progressing on to Stockton’s school centred initial teacher training (SCITT) programme, she said: “I wasn’t expecting that at all. It has given me so much more confidence.”

Reflecting on the last year as an adult learner, as well as studying through the additional demands of the Covid lockdowns, she explained: “It made me think if I can get a 2:1 with all of this going on, as well as working full-time, then hopefully I have got what it takes to be a teacher.”

Her advice to anyone considering following up their own teaching ambitions, she said: “It’s definitely a good course if you want to get into teaching but still need to be working.

“It wasn’t easy, but if you want to do it you have to push yourself.”

Looking forward to a future career with her own classroom and planning lessons as a primary teacher, she said: “If this last year has taught me anything it is that you just have to go for it and see what you can do.”

To find out more about the full range of education courses available at Stockton Riverside College, including supporting teaching and learning, early years and education and training, from level 2 to higher education opportunities, call 01642 865566 or visit: www.stockton.ac.uk

Kelly Johnson Emma Ferguson BA Hons Education
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