Education studies and teaching courses at Brighton news

Tracy Lambert

From student teacher to head teacher in six years

Tracy Lambert trained to teach at Brighton through the Troops to Teacher programme and gained a 1st class honour. Tracy’s passion for helping children started during the last few years of her career in the armed forces.

Despite a slightly less traditional route into teaching, Tracy’s passion for the field with a ‘no child left behind’ lens has seen her impressively appointed a Head Teacher within just six years of graduating!

Tracy tells us about her impressive career trajectory and her important work supporting children with additional educational needs.

Tracy’s background

“I left home at seventeen years old after attending grammar school and only achieving three good grade O-levels. I lived in a single parent home with my dad on the local council estate. Unfortunately, expectations were low and as such none of my immediate family has ever been to university.

“I joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1988 and never looked back. After a very successful career of twenty-two years, I left the RAF as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer and became a foster carer.”

Inspired to get into teaching

“I have always been in service of some kind and my last four years in the RAF I worked in schools helping children build their confidence and self-reliance. I knew I wanted to continue to work with children and young people, but the more I advanced in my teaching career, it was clear to me that I wanted to specialise in mental health and special educational needs and disability (SEND); and those children in care who struggle to access and engage in education.

“I have given 100% to making sure that children feel safe and have their basic needs met, enabling them to be in a good starting position to learn. I celebrate every success, however small and I treat every child as an individual. Building positive and trusting relationships is the key to helping those children who have been forgotten about or left behind in their education.”

Her time at Brighton

“I attended the University of Brighton through the Troops to Teachers Degree Course in 2016 and without this being available, it is unlikely I would have been able to apply for university to become a teacher. This was the starting block of a love for learning and career progression in education and am pleased to say I qualified with first class honours in 2018.

“I have great memories of my initial selection day. It was very intense and I was surrounded by fellow veterans all wanting to become teachers. We were made to feel part of another family, our alumni family now, something most veterans need in their lives after leaving their Service family.”

Journey to becoming head teacher

“My journey to becoming a Head Teacher has been a whirlwind. I was teaching full-time throughout my university degree, and this has been both rewarding and exhausting. I have been a teacher, a lead teacher of the English Curriculum, a Designated Safeguarding Lead and a Senior Mental Health Lead. I then chose to complete my National Award for becoming a special educational needs coordinator (NASENCO) and then a regional SENCO covering six schools across the North of England.

“All of my schools have been found good or outstanding by Ofsted and all of my experience, knowledge and tenacity to help disadvantaged children access the best quality of education has led me to my most recent appointment of Head Teacher, which I start in Easter 2024. I am very proud of what I have achieved in a very short period of time in the world of education.”

Proudest moments

“I am very proud of many achievements but particularly gaining an MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health in 2021, my PG Cert NASENCO Award in 2023 and the best of being appointed Head Teacher of my own school for children with additional needs.

“Success means being in a position to realise your vision for helping children with additional needs close the gaps in their education and achieve their full potential, celebrating every small step of success with them along the way.”

Lis Bundock, Principal Lecturer and Academic Subject Lead at the University of Brighton, said: “From day one, Tracy was committed to making a difference to disadvantaged learners and her career progression has demonstrated this at every turn since graduating.

“I am so proud of her and her extraordinary pathway to headship. I have no doubt that Tracy will continue amplify marginalised voices in every decision she makes in her new leadership role.”

Advice to future student teachers

“Do not set yourself a ceiling for achievements. Learning is a lifelong journey that brings great joy and limitless opportunity if you keep a growth mindset and demonstrate resilience.

“Being a teacher is a huge responsibility and all children deserve a quality education where they can reach their full potential. I would ask all graduates moving on to teach to look upon these children struggling with education through a trauma informed lens; know their history and build relationships where those young people feel safe enough to learn. Sometimes school is the only haven of safety. This is a huge responsibility which needs to be taken very seriously.

“Above all else, enjoy every minute and be creative. Children need to have fun in their learning and will remember you for ever if you take the time to get to know them; their needs and their aspirations.”

Find out how you can get into teaching with the University of Brighton.

Kerry Burnett • March 12, 2024

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