Studying education at Brighton
Final year student, Carly Bleach, tells us about her experience studying the Education BA (Hons) at Brighton…
After working as a teaching assistant and an individual needs assistant for almost three years, I decided I wanted to develop my skills further by studying for a degree. At this stage, I was pretty certain I wanted to become a special educational needs co-ordinator or work as an inclusion assistant but I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to train in Primary or Secondary education.
After speaking to the course leader, I knew that the Education BA was the course for me. Not only does the course focus on the theories and practices of education, it allows students to explore the policy and legislation that influences many of the practices used in schools, as well as comparing the education system in England to international education. The course also provides an opportunity to study specific areas of education such as Special Educational Needs, which is an area I have become particularly interested in.
What are you enjoying the most about your course?
The course focuses on so much more than just teaching. It opens up many career opportunities for students to consider such as a careers advisor, counsellor, play therapist, SENCO, community education officer, and criminal rehabilitation. I have also been fascinated by the different age ranges the course focuses on. Instead of having to choose either primary or secondary education, I have been able to study the theories of education from 0-25 years, considering the nature/nurture debate and also discussing social mobility and social opportunities beyond higher education.
I think this course has made me really conscientious about the type of practitioner I want to be by thinking about the social, political, and historical occurrences that have influenced the teaching practice we see in classrooms today.
How have you found the teaching staff and support available?
The staff have become more like friends, they always have time to talk to you about any worries or concerns you may have. They are experts in their field, so they have plenty of advice and guidance to offer, whether that’s with assignments or life in general.
Being a student parent has its challenges, but every member of staff has gone above and beyond to try to be as flexible as they can with tutorials, lectures, seminars and also online learning.
How have you found your placement and what experience have you gained?
The Education BA is fantastic because you have placements in the first and second year. If you are unsure about which age range you would like to focus on once you graduate, having two placements is a great opportunity to explore your options. I had my first placement in a secondary school and my second placement in a primary school. I absolutely loved both, however, primary education was more familiar because of my employment history so it felt like the right choice for me.
The placements are manageable because the hours required to be completed are over a set period of time. Contacting placement hosts is the perfect way to gain experience for those future job applications! Your placement tutors will support you throughout this process, helping you build a good rapport with your placement host. I am so grateful for the connections I made through my placements, the professional relationships I built during my time at each placement have continued.
How do you think the Education BA will support you in your career?
The Education BA has helped me in my current job as a relief TA. I have recognised many of the theories I have studied in everyday practice, helping me to understand why phonics or maths are taught in a particular way.
It has also made me a more reflexive practitioner, considering wider influences from educational policy for issues surrounding Education, Health and Care Plans. It is amazing how much you question different areas of education once you start this course, you become equipped with the tools to become a critical thinker rather than taking things at face value.
My plan after finishing the course is to continue my studies. I am hoping to enroll on the Autism PGCert at Brighton which will allow me to work full-time. I still hope to work in an Inclusion Team supporting vulnerable students and students with SEND.