I feel like the course is broad and gives me a good overall understanding of education. The lecturers are all very supportive. Student support services are great.
Fran - What I love about my course
The University of Hertfordshire has given me one of the best experiences and opportunities of my life.
I never thought I would be able to do a degree, as a disabled mature person, and student parent. I joined the BA (Hons) Education programme in my second year, and I have never looked back. The support from my lecturers has made a huge difference to my success on the course. Adaptions for my disabilities have always been considered and my needs met. Allowing for flexibility around my home life has also been invaluable and being able to join virtually as well as in person has helped maintain my attendance.
The BA (Hons) Education course has given me insight into the theories, issues, and backgrounds of our education system; it has been nothing short of fascinating. As a qualified Early Years Educator, it has provided me with a new take on Education, and as a parent has made me approach it differently with my own children.
I have found nothing but support and acceptance from the Education team here at the University of Hertfordshire. I feel very lucky to be part of the School of Education and feel as if I have a sense of belonging within.
Katie - Week at a glance
My week at a glance
My week as a third-year student always started with ensuring that I had prepped for the week ahead for example sorting travel to and from university as a disabled student this had to be done in advance as much as possible so that I could get the right assistance and deal with any issues that a rose on the day. I would recommend you check your timetable every day for any room changes. Once I had established the days when I was in university, I had a routine and it was easier to manage my anxiety.
Lectures are more intense as there is a lot of information to take in either one or two hours so make sure you have different notebooks for each module this will help you keep organised and have everything in one place and when you come to writing your assignment, this will be a god send trust me!! Also, listen to the tutors, they are there to help you. As a disabled student I had a study needs agreement which meant that I was able to have lecture slides a few days before the lecture so that I could read and make notes; I had scribe to help me. During my time at university, I couldn’t lip read and make notes at the same time, so this was essential to my journey at university as this made access a little easier.
Once I had logged on to Studynet and got the information, I needed for the week I printed everything I needed and put them in the folder for the specific module with notebook. I would always have sub sections in my folder like ‘My Notes’ with dates and headings so I could refer to them and I had a copy of the module guide to refer back to so that I can link my notes to sections in my folder.
Seminars follow on from lectures, but they are in smaller groups so you’re able to work with fellow classmates and discuss the topic in more detail with the tutor. I would make sure you have your notebook ready as the seminars you will attend have more information to help with your assignments. This is the time to ask questions about the module or topic that is being discussed that week.
After the seminar I would have an hour break to have food etc this is where I would recommend you switch off either listen to music or just chat with your friends before the next seminar otherwise you will struggle in the last seminar of the day. Drink something with sugar or eat chocolate to help you will the last bit of energy. I also used any spare time I had whilst in university to see the student engagement team in the School of Education to help with my academic writing. This service is brilliant, and they are lovely team!
On Fridays I tend to be more tired so just take your time and make sure you have prepped, and this will help with any work given to do at home. Time keeping is essential because I needed at least the evenings off during the week when I was at university. The days when I was at home not going to university I would do extra readings from the reading list then the other days I had days off I did my work as a governor at a special needs school and then spent time with family and friends.
Katie - Why I love education
What I love most about my course
I loved my course because we learnt Psychology, History of Education, Contemporary Ideas and Philosophy-what is education. In my First Year, to give you a different view what education is about and then you were able to decide if you wanted to general overview of education or be more specific and I chose special education needs as I wanted to understand in more detail about special education needs what it meant in a different context.
In my Second Year, I learnt more about special education needs and what is inclusion I was able to explain what cerebral palsy is to my fellow classmates and we had real-life experiences from other people who had different disabilities talk to us which gave me the opportunity to see it through their eyes and I became to see things differently not everything is as straight forwarded as I first thought.
We were given the chance to have work experience within our modules and I really enjoyed this part of the course as I was able to go back to my old school and do my work experience there as I was able to go to two schools: Lonsdale and Nobel and it were nice to see how much they have changed for the better and I was able to improve their access as they asked my opinion and they have used some of my suggestions that I put forward.
Working with my teacher again was one of the highlights as he said I’m still the same person; passionate about people seeing passed the wheelchair and I have had other students with disabilities come up to me asking who I am and they want to be as confident as I am! This gave me a different idea of what I wanted to do within education, which I will discuss further on.
With the new knowledge that I had gained helped me with my work as a governor as I was able to articulate my views very well and some of my ideas that I have suggested have been used at the school. We were also the opportunity to learn about research and all the terminology, so we had the skills ready for our final year.
They say Final Year is the hardest and I totally agree it is but that is the challenge as learning is not always meant to be easy. We only had one lecture a week for the research project in semester A, the rest were seminars to do with Research and Special Educational needs. Research Project was split into two sections: a proposal of our research project and presenting it as a presentation. This gave the tutors insight about how we thought through our question as it had to be a small example due to the time restrictions so that we focused on the question we wanted to answer.
I was grateful for this as I was able to use the proposed plan as my main structure for the writing part in part two which saved me so much time and effort. I would suggest that you use part one of the research as your layout in part two.
On a personal level, my time at Herts has been amazing even with the challenges that I had to face within the university and school of education are an amazing team to be a part of as they supported me to voice my ideas and express them to the relevant people.
As said previously I was passionate about people seeing passed the wheelchair and because of my personal challenges at university. I then realised I wanted to start my own business as a disability awareness coordinator as I feel that I can educate people on how to how to communicate with people with different disabilities. I have my Canine Partner still waiting for my partnership and I will have him work alongside me in this new journey. So, I have new experiences happening in my life after university which is exciting.
Meet Jake Garwood who discovered his passion for teaching and education while studying. He currently works as a Year 4 teacher in a junior school near the University.Read more stories BA (Hons) Education
|Current job role||Year 4 teacher|
|Year of graduation||2016 / 2017|
|Course of study||BA (Hons) Education|
|PGCE in Primary Education|
Sparking a passion
Jake decided to go to the University of Hertfordshire based on our 'excellent reputation for teaching training.' His time as a student did not disappoint as his course sparked his passion for education and he says the 'engaging modules at the University and inspiring tutors played a key part in making me the teacher I am today.'
The variety of modules on both of my degrees, from contemporary issues in education to educational technology, from philosophy of education to equality and inclusion, put me in the best possible position to begin my teaching career.'
Aspirations for the future
Jake finds teaching an extremely rewarding career, therefore he does not intend to leave the profession. He says, 'I think it is one of the most rewarding profession available and if you care about the future, then teaching the next generation is one of the best things you can do.'
However, he adds that his ultimate goal is to work towards a Masters in Education, followed by a PhD in the same field. He'd like to keep his options open as to future career paths.'
Meet Elise. Elise used her own personal experiences to make student life at Herts better for her peers.Read more stories Education
|Current job role||Project Coordinator for Healthwatch Suffolk|
|Year of graduation||2021, 2022|
|Course of study||BA (Hons) Education Studies with Special Education, MA SEND and Inclusion|
Taking the plunge
Elise had experience as a Voluntary Teaching Assistant in schools and Herts was close to home, which is why the BA (Hons) Education Studies course appealed to her. She was also a professional para-swimmer and felt that the University, with its strong sporting pedigree, would be supportive in helping her balance studying with competing. She says, ‘Herts was far enough from home that I was able to be independent but still see my family easily. The campus often felt like a home away from home as I was able to build a tight-knit group of friends and the atmosphere was always friendly.’
A passion for helping others
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted her social life at Herts, but Elise was keen to not miss out on too much of the on-campus experience. That’s one reason why she decided to study her master’s at Herts too and as a disabled person, strong relationships with staff were vital to help her settle and thrive. She says, ‘The Student Success and Engagement Team are fantastic. Not only did they support me academically, but they also supported me with my mental health and boosted my confidence.’
Both of Elise’s dissertations focused on disability, identity and activism for the disabled community. It is her passion for helping others with similar experiences that led to her being appointed the School of Education’s first Disabled Student Champion, something that she is incredibly proud of.
Elise also worked closely with Hertfordshire Students’ Union as their Disabled Student Network Lead, where she held talks, built connections with the University’s senior leadership team, and improved the experiences of disabled people at Herts. She says, ‘I believe I wouldn’t have had these opportunities at a different university. The support I’ve had from everyone at Herts has been amazing – it has had an instrumental impact on the person I have become.’
Building on her experience at Herts
Elise says that working with disabled people will forever be a passion of hers. She is taking a break from education for now, but in the future, she is hoping to complete another master’s course or PhD.
Her advice to current and future Herts students is to have fun. She says, ‘I know this can be hard at times, especially when you’re facing deadlines, but you will miss your time at Herts. Make the most of it when you’re there.’