Abi Allen thought she would have to go to university if she was to achieve her dream of becoming a teacher.
But the 23-year-old, from Hadley, is now well on her way to achieving her dreams through a foundation degree course at Telford College.
The former Codsall Community High School student initially wanted to study primary education at university, but failed to get the grades. But she believes this was ‘fate’, as she is flourishing on her Telford College course.
Abi says: “I’ve loved my course, and the whole structure and format of it has really suited me. It’s like a mixture of college and university; we do our own research and independent study, but we have small friendly groups which is fantastic.
“I never knew this was what studying university-level courses at college would be like, but I recommend it to anyone.”
“Big thanks to my tutor”
Abi says she owes a big thanks to her main tutor, Caroline Bastow: “She has shown me how to achieve so much more, and is really proving that a college degree route is a much better route for me.
“We support each other in the group. We’ve got lots of people from lots of different backgrounds, and bringing everyone’s experiences together helps us all apply the course content and put it into context.
“All of the tutors have a wealth of knowledge and Caroline has been like a mentor to me, I’m very grateful to her.”
Abi has become heavily involved in life at Telford College. She is a student representative, and was invited to write a student report for the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) on its latest visit.
“My experiences at Telford College have all been positive and I have a big thank you to my lecturers. I feel like I have been transformed as a person, and my knowledge has grown.
“This is mainly down to being in a smaller class size and having brilliant lecturers. We have all got to know each other, and we talk about our own experiences and how they relate to the topic we’re learning.
“Just by having these experiences I feel I’m developing as a practitioner, and my work is benefitting.
“My confidence has grown too. We’re challenged about why we’re coming to our conclusions and taught how to challenge others in a positive way. This in itself is giving me more self-belief.”
Caroline Bastow said: “The foundation degree in early years services brings together professionals from a range of different sectors including family services, primary education and early years.
“Students are able to share their experiences and think about the implications of their practices within the other fields, recognising the importance of inter-agency working.
“Having smaller class sizes means that tutors are able to get to know the students on an individual basis and use this knowledge to shape their sessions and offer targeted support and challenge.
“By doing this, all students know what they are capable of achieving and make progress.”
She added: “It’s an absolute pleasure to teach at this level, watching students grow in confidence and recognise their worth as professionals and experts in their field.
“Higher education courses at Telford College give students the opportunity to learn whilst they earn, due to the clever timetabling and assessments that bridge professional and academic learning.
“We recognise that times are changing and that people don’t want a job for life, but a life for jobs, and so we ensure all courses include a range of transferable skills and abilities for any role.”