Brighton Student bloggers

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Matilda Bircham, primary teacher trainee

What I’ve found: studying a primary maths education degree.

I’m Matilda and I’m training to be a teacher on the Primary Mathematics Education degree with QTS BA(Hons). Here is what I’ve experienced on the course, studying on a beautiful campus, developing my teaching style and benefiting from exciting placements.

This course is my path into teaching

I was working in high schools for three years prior to university as part of the support team. I discovered through this job that I wanted to become a teacher. However, I didn’t have a degree and I was nervous about going to university at 26. The Primary Mathematics with QTS course appealed to me as I would be able to gain the degree I needed and complete my teacher training within three years.

The uni campus is beautiful

The Education School is taught on the Falmer campus, which has really beautiful views of the Sussex downs. All the classrooms of the School of Education are modern and well equipped. The tutors were incredibly friendly and able to answer any questions I had.

My uni tutors are incredibly supportive

It is by far the most supportive learning environment I’ve ever experienced. I found the academic demands of the course a little overwhelming to begin with. However, my tutors were supportive and understanding. I could always ask for some advice if I needed it. It took me a couple of weeks to find my feet and get used to studying again, but I was well supported and feel confident now.

The primary maths education degree develops us as teachers

On my course, there’s a lot more diversity in the way we are taught than A levels. I’ve found it a lot more engaging and interesting. I feel the course is preparing me to go straight into teaching. We learn a mixture of theory and concepts as well as developing our practical teaching skills.

We do lots of school placements 

By the time we finish the degree, we will have had experience working in multiple different school settings. Our specialist maths module also offers us an opportunity to go into schools and work with students on a problem-solving module. I have already been lucky to spend two weeks working in a year 2 class in a primary school. Initially, a lot of our placement is observation and getting to know the class. As we gain more experience, we will work towards planning and delivering lessons. I don’t feel as if I am ever thrown in at the deep end.

Group work is great

There is a lot of group work in Primary Education courses and most of our sessions are taught in smaller groups. I’ve been able to get to know fellow students on my course really well. There’s a great culture of supporting each other and we are encouraged to work together. Learning feels collaborative and fun. When we are on placement, we get put in pairs with other students on our course. This meant that we were able to support each other if we felt nervous.

I’m excited about getting into teaching

I want to go straight into teaching in a primary school. I’ll be a fully qualified teacher by the end of my degree and will have gained enough experience through placements that I will be ready for the demands of a workplace. Through placements, we get to speak to lots of teachers in schools. It’s very easy to get inspired and excited about the prospect of doing that soon. I feel more confident in my academic abilities. I have rediscovered a real passion for learning and enjoyed the moments where I have been challenged.

Student looking at their phone

Word from the uni…

For more information, check out our teacher training courses or visit our School of Education for our full range of education courses..

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mathematicsPrimary Mathematics Education BA9Hons with QTSprimary school teachingTeacher training

Matilda Bircham • 27th January 2023

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