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Joanne from Cardiff

Pontardawe mum on path to becoming a teacher through part-time degree at the Open University

Mum of 3, Joanne Davies is following her dream career path to becoming at teacher by studying for a BA in Education at the Open University in Cardiff.

Joanne, 43, has wanted to be a teacher since primary school having been inspired by her own teacher.

Since starting her degree in 2018 which is part-time over 6 years, Joanne has also worked at a local primary school to gain valuable classroom experience. She enjoys working with Foundation Phase classes and is looking forward to being a teacher herself when she graduates.

The course at the Open University is 17 hours a week and Joanne studies mainly during the evenings and weekends around family commitments.

Joanne explains:

“My course has really opened my eyes and I’ve enjoyed being able to take my learnings into the classroom I work in.

“I mainly study at the weekends as the weeks are pretty hectic with my family and work. I’m able to shut myself away while the kids are doing their own thing. They know not to disturb me when I put my headphones on and have work to do!

“It’ll all be worth it in the end as being a teacher is something I’ve wanted to do from a young age. It feels really exciting to know I’m on the path now to getting to where I want to be.”

For each year of her degree, Joanne receives a grant of £3,000 to go towards her living costs as well as a loan of £1,008 towards her tuition fees per year. Without this financial support, Joanne would not have been able to go to university.

She continued:

“I didn’t realise there was so much help available to study at university. It was only when a friend told me that I could apply for a grant to help me with my living costs that I began to look into it. I didn’t have anything when I started – no laptop or books – so the financial support I’ve had has been absolutely essential. Without help I would have just stuck at my life as it was.”

Joanne’s daughter, who is 15, is keen to follow in her mum’s footsteps and also become a teacher when she finishes her studies.

Don't let money get in the way of university

From September 2018, eligible first time undergraduates will get comprehensive support to help fund their day-to-day living costs during term time, regardless of where in the UK they choose to study.