Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I’m from Manchester and first moved to Leeds to start my undergraduate degree in Childhood Studies here at the University of Leeds. I’m from a non-traditional, ‘disadvantaged’ background and gained my undergraduate place through the Access to Leeds Scheme (a widening participation entry scheme) and feel if it wasn’t for this scheme, I may not have had the chance to study at a Russell Group university like Leeds. After successfully finishing my undergraduate degree, I spent the summer working a camp in USA and then I moved back to Manchester and worked as a teaching assistant. Last year, I moved back to Leeds to live with my friends and got a job working at the University’s childcare centre as a Childcare Practitioner. I then decided to come back to study a masters degree in Childhood Studies.
What motivated you to apply to study your chosen course and why did you chose Leeds?
I had always considered pursuing a masters degree but was unsure of how I would finance it. I heard about the new student finance available for masters courses and felt like this offered me the chance to come back and study. I really enjoyed my undergraduate degree in Childhood Studies and thought that the MA in Childhood Studies would be the perfect follow on. I thought it would be good after having some paid experience working with children, to come back and be able to reflect on my practice and to gain more knowledge in the field. I chose Leeds simply because I love it here! But, also I wanted to have the chance to get some experience in widening participation through being a student host and volunteering. This is what I want a career in and felt like I’d have lots of opportunities to gain this experience whilst gaining more knowledge – which I feel I have done!
What do you think of your course, have there been any particular highlights for you?
I think my course is really interesting and a perfect ‘follow on’ from the BA (Hons) Childhood Studies degree. I’ve enjoyed gaining an insight into conducting research with children and young people and how theories of childhood and youth can relate to research with children. I’m looking forward to taking this on board when I collect my research data for my dissertation. I’ve also enjoyed being able to choose modules that suit my own interests and some that are related to the career I want to go into when I finish.
How would you describe the help and guidance provided by the staff within the School?
Excellent. Staff are always happy to offer their support and guidance and this was the case throughout my undergraduate degree too.
How would you describe the facilities at the University?
I think the facilities at this university are great and I’ve worked as a student host delivering campus tours to children and young people and have loved showing off the university campus and all of its facilities. Everything is all on one big campus, close to the city centre, four libraries and the Students’ Union – great!
Since starting at the university have you been granted any scholarships, or won any awards for example?
I recently was nominated, attended the Leeds for Life Citizenship awards and won an Education Award for my contribution to the charity, IntoUniversity. This charity works with children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to provide long-term pastoral support and to raise their aspirations of higher education. I got involved with this charity through StudentsintoSchools and became a mentor in November 2016. I also completed a two-month internship with the charity and my work with them was recognised by my nomination.