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Sixty-eight students take on innovative degree in education

Sixty-eight new and existing Foundation Degree and BA Inclusive Education students started their course in the new location of St Thomas Primary School last month. 

Created for Teaching Assistants, this innovative Foundation Degree in Inclusive Education programme is a three year part-time programme with sessions delivered as twilight sessions and on Saturdays. The foundation degree is a flexible course that’s designed to fit around the students’ work and family commitments.

This particular programme has been running and delivered at UWTSD’s Carmarthen campus for nine years as well as in other locations across Wales – including Monkton Primary School, Ysgol Hafren Newtown as well Aberystwyth and Swansea.

Nicola Edwards is a level 5 student and is one of the first cohort to study the Foundation Degree at St. Thomas, Swansea.  Nicola enrolled on to the course having seen an advert in the staff room in the school at which she works.

“I wasn’t sure which route I wanted to take regarding my future but I knew I wanted to work in education and that teaching was my main aim. I am currently a Teaching Assistant so the modules we study are current to our job roles therefore making them clear to us and allowing us to share our views and experiences with the rest of the class. Also the modules we study keep us up to date with policies and legislations.

“We attend lectures in the evening every Wednesday for four weeks then have four weeks off so it’s never too overwhelming,” continues Nicola.  “With three children, another on the way and two jobs, I am happy and proud to say that I’m managing my study time, work life and family life well.

“This degree opens up so many routes in education, plus it gives you so much more confidence in yourself as well as a greater understanding of children and education allowing you to explore what you have more interest in. I now want to focus on supporting families within schools and am hoping to stay on and study the extra year top up from this course.”

Another student who also studies at St. Thomas, Swansea is Lowri Francis.  Lowri is currently working as a teaching assistant, having changed her career four years ago to better suit her family commitments.  She has now decided to follow this course to build on her current knowledge.

“After completing the CACHE Level 3 course, I started to look for a course that would build on what I’d already learnt allow me to broaden my horizons.  This course offered everything i was looking for.

“The fact that the course is part-time is a great help as it allows for a balance between my studies, work and family life.  At the moment, I’m working as a teaching assistant and what I’ve learnt up until now has really helped me to understand the best ways of dealing with children throughout the school in terms of dealing with their individual needs.  We’ve also learnt a great deal about social issues and political change allowing us to better understand their impact on children and their families,” says Lowri.

“I’m really benefiting from the experience of being on this course and of learning about new developments within the education profession – as well as being able to share ideas and experiences with other Teaching Assistants. The lecturers are also been extremely supportive.”

The Foundation Degree and the BA in Inclusive Education courses are employment-related qualifications at higher education level and provide opportunities for people to develop both personally and professionally.

Work can be completed in either Welsh or English and there is an opportunity to complete the whole degree course through the medium of Welsh.  The course also saw 100% of its students agreeing that staff are good at explaining things in the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS).  The programme involves the development of many valuable skills including analytical thinking, relationship building, team work, intervention, evaluation and reflection.

Cindy Hunt is the Programme Director and lecturer responsible for delivering course and is very pleased with the uptake in Swansea

“The programme has enthusiastic and supportive staff who offer the students a valuable experience in terms of academic work and pastoral care,” says Cindy. “We also provide the students with opportunities to prepare for a graduate career with the key element of this programme being its flexibility to fit around the student’s needs.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Foundation Degree in Inclusive Studies, please contact Cindy Hunt by emailing [email protected]