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Case Study

Suzanne Porter

Sunderland, UK

BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS


Suzanne Porter had always dreamed of going to university, but it wasn’t until years later that she finally gathered the confidence to apply as a mature student onto our BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS.

Although I’d always wanted the experience of going to university, I lacked confidence and drive when I was younger. However, my ambitions never left me and I finally found the courage to submit my application in 2019. I couldn’t believe it when I found out I’d been successful and that I was finally on my way to fulfilling something I’d dreamed of for so long. I knew university would boost my confidence, enhance my academic skills and allow me to qualify with a degree to enable me to have a more rewarding career.

Prior to starting university, I was bringing up my son and working part-time in a coffee shop, but I knew I lacked direction and was desperate for a challenge. I’m proud to come from Sunderland and over the years, I’d always hoped I’d be able to study at the University of Sunderland one day – I love the location of the campus and feel a strong connection to the city. The BA (Hons) Primary Education course appealed to me too as it has a proven track record of excellent results.

My favourite part of the course so far has got to be meeting and getting to know all the other students and lecturers. Walking into the auditorium on my first day was a big moment which will stay with me forever. The course is a mix of on-campus and online learning and I’ve just completed my first placement in a local primary school, which was amazing! I was grateful to be given the opportunity to work alongside experienced teachers and meet the children.

If you were thinking of coming to study at Sunderland, I’d say go for it and don’t look back! I’m a mature student and I’m so glad I finally plucked up the courage to apply. It’s hard work juggling studying with family life, but it’s completely worth it. You’ll meet some fantastic, like-minded people and gain so much from the experience.

The financial side of studying can be difficult, so it’s vital that you make sure you’re aware of all the grants, bursaries and other benefits that might be available to you. I was eligible for the StudyPLUS bursary which has been a huge help. I receive the money in the form of an award every three months and can cash in a small amount of this to put towards living costs. The remainder is available to spend at the StudyPLUS online shop, which is where I buy all the books I need for my course. The bursary has been so beneficial and it’s great that it’s available to students who really need it.

My experience at the University of Sunderland has been challenging, but life changing. When I graduate, my goal is to pursue a career in education, although I’m sure once I reach my final year I’ll have a better idea of which area I’d like to pursue and be able to make an informed decision about my next steps.”

Published 9 March 2022

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