The structure of the Primary Education course at Leeds Trinity enabled me to build a range of skills and an understanding of education.
Why I chose to attend Leeds Trinity
I chose Leeds Trinity because of its reputation. The fact that it had a smaller community than the average university appealed to me - each person was an individual to their lecturers and department. During my time at Leeds Trinity, I formed great relationship with those lecturers, who have now become colleagues through my work, as a Cultural Leader in Education. This has included me supporting the redesign of one of their Primary Education modules and provided rich opportunities and arts-based insights to their student teachers.
My most memorable experiences from my studies
My most memorable experience would have to be my teaching experience at a summer camp in Poland and the Czech Republic. Not only did we get to experience the culture of two amazing places, but we got to support the use and application of the English language for a group of Polish children for three weeks.
My main challenge was the fact that I completed a BTEC at sixth form, so academic writing didn’t come so easy to me. However, there were many opportunities of support at Leeds Trinity and the skills I did learn, I still now put into practice when delivering at CPD conferences and completing my National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) course.
Great career preparation
The structure of the Primary Education course at Leeds Trinity enabled me to build a range of skills and an understanding of education. This has led to achievements including being nominated for mentor of the year, winning into films 2016 animation film of the year (under 12s). Having also been in a range of middle leader roles including leading arts and equality with a Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR), I have also completed my NPQSL with a 100% pass mark and more recently secured a deputy head position at a LTU partnership school.
Working as a class teacher and leader
Since 2014, I’ve taught in EYFS, KS1 and KS2 in both a one-form entry school and a two-form entry school across inner-city Leeds. Having a progressive understanding of the primary curriculum has enabled me to redesign curriculums so that children receive a broad and balanced learning experience through project-based outcomes, impacting on combined end of key stage outcomes.
As an arts leader, I have worked in partnership with In Harmony Opera North, Northern Ballet, Leeds Playhouse and Wrongsemble – who are all world renowned organisations – and secured Artsmark’s Platinum rating, which is their highest accreditation for any school. These partnerships and experiences have also enabled me to work towards the Cultural Cohesion Quality Mark (CCQM) in my equality role and given me the leadership skills and knowledge to successfully drive change and grow other teachers and leaders in my deputy role.
My career highlights
I have so many career highlights, but my top three would have to be
- Taking my film club to London dressed up in their fancy dresses and smart suits, meeting the likes of Daniel Craig and Eddie Redmayne and winning animation of the year 2016!
- Creating a project with Northern Ballet through our project curriculum, where the learning was based around the Nutcracker. Each child had six lots of two-hour workshops with an amazing ballet dancer, and then went to the theatre with them to watch Northern Ballet’s production. I loved hearing their gasps and seeing their bulging eyes as they watched. I, however, didn’t get to watch much of the show because I was too busy enjoying seeing the children watch the show.
- Finally, it would be developing the fantastic work that In Harmony do, and being a part of this every day for 5 years. It’s fantastic to see all children in Key Stage 2 learn either a string or wind and brass instrument and watching them progress, perform to their proud parents and seeing them perform in amazing places like Leeds Town Hall and Newcastle Sage. They also are provided with once in a lifetime opportunities like performing with elite musicians such as Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cellist Winner of BBC Young Musician of the Year 2016). Seeing young children take their instruments home each day to practice and knowing that I played a part in that happiness and joy they’ve come to find in and through music is a very proud and inspiring feeling.
My advice for a prospective student considering a course at Leeds Trinity
My advice would be to use the lecturer’s expertise and continue to use it even after you’ve left, and of course, take every opportunity given to you. At some point, you’ll be in a place, looking back and know that this experience supported you in what you’re doing now and that is why you’re so invested in what you do and it is why you continue to achieve and strive for more.