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Emma Straker began working as a 1:1 Teaching Assistant eight years ago.

"I fell in love with my job. I have been fortuitous in that I work in a fabulous setting with very supportive and inspirational staff. These staff gave me the confidence to begin pursuing the necessary qualifications to become a teacher."

To become a teacher Emma first undertook the Foundation Degree in Children's Development and Learning delivered at college in partnership with the University of Reading. Her mentor had followed a similar route of training and suggested this route. She applied and was accepted to Newbury College.

" Within weeks I wondered how I had done my job effectively without the Foundation Degree. You learn many things from the content, lecturers and each other. That knowledge and experience in my opinion is invaluable. I would say be open minded, everyone's experiences, opinions and settings are different and unique but they all hold value."

Over the two years on the Foundation Degree, Emma felt her confidence grow.

" I felt empowered to ask more questions in my setting about why we do things in a certain way, why the policy states this."

She continued:

"As I've mentioned, I am fortunate to work in a supportive setting where everyone would answer my questions or give me feedback. I questioned my judgement and approaches to things; in essence I became more reflective. It's also great to hear about the experiences of others on the course, and learn from that."

In terms of what inspired Emma the most she felt the learning spaces module was very insightful.

"It made me really reflect on not only the classroom I am in but the setting as a whole. The Partnership with Parents and Child in Society modules also made me think more about my practice and to consider things from other perspectives more deeply. If anything, it has made me work harder at reaching and communicating with those that are harder to reach. I have actively made steps and pushed for more support for some children and their families."

Emma is now about to complete her BA Children's Development and Learning degree at University of Reading and has a BTA placement for teacher training at her current setting.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time and experience on the Foundation Degree and would 100% recommend it to anyone working with children."