Recent graduate Gemma Batchelor tells us about her journey studying on our Education MA course.
“My Masters in Education journey started when I was working full-time as a reception teacher during a school meeting. The topic focused on sharing ‘best practice’ in supporting ‘disadvantaged’ children in the classroom, an area that I am passionate about however the discussion left me with a lot of unanswered questions and a need to want to challenge current practices further.
It was a little daunting looking at masters’ degrees at first so I made a checklist of things that were important to me and did my research based on this. I choose to study for an Education MA at the University of Brighton after attending an open evening. I had previously studied here for my degree in Primary Education (3-7 years) BA(Hons) with QTS and had fond memories of being well supported and the MA seemed very promising.
I have many highlights during my time on the course including establishing and developing a Critical Study Group, in which we were able to critically discuss things that had happened in the lecturers, our own areas of study, and created a support network.
I also particularly enjoyed a lecture at the start of my studies with guest speaker, Professor Pat Thomson, who very early on in the course helped me to identify the importance of looking at and understanding others’ research, even if it’s not in my own area of focus.
During my studies, I took part in a Postgraduate conference, where I was able to present as part of a small table discussion. This was amazing to make connections, confidence to defend my research, but also to hear areas that others thought I might need to think about or develop further.
I loved the flexibility of this course, as it allowed me to juggle my other commitments whilst studying for a masters. The lecturers were available to talk to, not only about the academic aspects but also how to approach the course with other commitments from your personal life in mind.
This course allowed me to have my own interests and has helped me shape my ideas by developing research techniques as well as drawing upon lecturers’ knowledge and expertise. My final project was titled: “A case study exploring reception teachers’ perceptions of the enactment of the Pupil Premium policy”.
I had times that were difficult and times where I learnt a lot about myself. But, in the end, I finished with a piece of work I am proud of, life-long friends and colleagues, and a new thirst for learning.
Since graduating, I have been accepted to study for a PhD/Studentship at the university with one of our lecturers on the course. We identified a similar area of interest, and I felt that this would be a good move for me as I wanted to carry on learning, debating and challenging myself and ideas in education.