Clear horizon for young teacher

James Gittins

Published on 14 August 2019

New teacher James Gittins thought he had lost his chance to pursue his dream career, until the University’s Clearing Hotline put him back on the right track. Now James is about to start a new life in Dubai – and advises any young person to never give up on their dreams.

James, 22, failed to achieve his grades, but a call to the Clearing hotline changed everything, and landed him a place on the BA Primary Education degree. In 2018 James graduated, landed a role as a primary school teacher in Washington, and now he has moved to Dubai to teach there alongside his girlfriend.

“I’ve just finished my first year teaching at St John Boste RC Primary School in Washington, and I’m just about to start a new job at Fugera Primary Academy, which is about an hour outside of Dubai.”

James’s dad and stepmother are both teachers, and they inspired James to think about working overseas. While in his first year of teaching James brought up the idea of working in Dubai with his partner Nicola – and they decided it was the right move for them.

Influenced by his family it had always been James’s dream to be a teacher – but when he failed to achieve his A-level grades, it looked for a while that the dream might be over before it began.  But a call to the University of Sunderland’s Clearing Hotline got him back on track.

“I only missed out by 10 UCAS points on my A-levels, and I really began to consider that I’d have to do something else, and it would just take me a bit longer to get to where I wanted to be.

“I called Clearing at Sunderland on the off chance, and they put me through to the head of the course. She said they were willing to take a chance on me. I think it paid off!

“Studying at Sunderland was the three best years of my life. It was great learning in lectures, but being able to apply that in the classroom first to an inner city school in Newcastle, and then a rural school in Stockton, and one in Chester Le Street, really helped me meet a range of kids, and really convinced me that teaching was right for me.

“The expression “Shy bairns get nowt” is one you should remember when apply to Clearing! You’ve got to be willing to put yourself out there, and the opportunities will come.

“You can only lose if you don’t try.”