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Jane Waters previously worked in IT before taking a career break when she had children. After working as a teaching assistant (TA) and higher learning teaching assistant (HLTA) at her children's school, she became a full time unqualified teacher.

She came to the University of Reading as a mature student to do her Foundation Degree in Children's Development and Learning (FCDL), and continued onto her BA in Children's Development and Learning (BACDL).

"Choosing the University of Reading was easy. It was local, had a great reputation in education and offered the perfect course for me."

Jane valued the opportunity to work alongside studying.

" The BACDL enabled me to continue earning but also to continuously apply what I was learning. As the cohort is made up of students working in education, you are all learning from each other, drawing on current, real-life experiences, whilst maintaining professional confidentiality."

She continued:

" You are developing your theory and knowledge whilst being able to observe exactly what you are learning about. Assignments can be tailored to fit with your setting and role meaning that you are not only working to better yourself, but often to improve your setting through your research. In addition, because your employer has to agree to you doing the programme, there is a level of support there which is also beneficial, meaning that there is usually understanding about your needs and requirements, such as permission to carry out a piece of research, as well as an understanding of how this will benefit your setting."

With the BACDL, Jane also had the opportunity to work on a project to re-design a module for the course which she found helped when considering changes to planning and teaching in school.

In terms of what aspects of the course inspired Jane most she said:

"It all did! Each module was carefully chosen to be relevant to the careers the students were aiming for. I will say that studying alongside other people also working in education whilst being taught by amazing faculty with their own experiences in the sector was invaluable. The shared work-experience and knowledge, differing viewpoints and expertise from different settings - everything from childminders and nurseries, through to mainstream schools and special education settings adds a dimension to the course that it would be difficult to imagine being able to access in any other way. "

Jane is now teaching full time in a primary school and we look forward to seeing what she does next.