Joy for mature students as hard work pays off

July 2016

Twenty mature students have proved it is possible to juggle a career, family life and studying – with the help of UCB.

A celebration ceremony was held this week to recognise the hard work of teaching assistants who returned to education to complete a Diploma in Professional Development (Special Educational Needs).

UCB delivers the course in partnership with Pupil and School Support at Birmingham City Council. The students studied part-time for a year.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Gary Wood congratulated the students on their “impressive set of grades”.

He added: “I know personally what it is like to return to education as an adult. You really should be very proud of yourselves for combining work, family, all other life commitments and holding down study.

“There is no stopping you now. I hope you go on to complete a foundation degree, a degree and postgraduate study. Congratulations on behalf of UCB.”

Heather Wood, from Pupil and School Support, was delighted with the 100% pass rate.

She told the group: “You are our largest cohort of students to complete this course. Thanks to you all, we now have 20 extra teaching assistants working in schools with our most vulnerable students – and that’s what this course is all about.”

Student Sharon Pitfield, of Acocks Green, Birmingham, was proud to collect her certificate. The mum-of-two, who previously worked for John Lewis, decided to retrain as a teaching assistant after having children. For the past three years, she has worked at Yorkmead Primary School.

She said: “I hope this qualification will enable me to be better at my job and repay the investment the school has put in me.”