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Case Studies

Case studies

Vanetta graduated with a BSc in Biological Science and then trained as a teacher under the Graduate Teacher Programme. She is now an Assistant Head Teacher.

Originally, I wanted a career in science. I did not consider teaching until I was at university. My mother was a nursery nurse, and I spent many summers working with children and young people. However, when choosing a career, teaching seemed to be out of the question. In the African-Caribbean community, my experience is that teaching is not considered to be role taken by choice, although teachers are highly respected. It is seen as a difficult and stressful profession, without much reward, and was never discussed as an option when I was growing up.

I studied science at university, but following my degree I was uncertain whether to undertake it as a profession. I found that laboratory work could be quite isolating, and I wanted more variety in terms of working experiences. I had previously volunteered with young people in my local community, and really enjoyed the interaction with them, but teaching now seemed to be out of the question as I could not financially afford another year at University. I think that, after paying for their degree, the additional costs of a PGCE year often deters potential trainees, especially if, like me, they come from poorer inner city backgrounds.

At this time my local secondary school advertised for a science graduate to join the department and to train to become a teacher. I had not heard of the Graduate Teacher Programme before, but it sounded perfect for me. I had the opportunity to work with young people from the same inner-city background as me, train as a teacher, and earn a wage at the same time. I have never looked back.

Since completing my training, I have worked as the head of the Ethnic Minority Achievement department, in an inner city school, where I specialised in educating bilingual students. I then progressed to Associate Assistant Head Teacher, and am currently an Assistant Head Teacher.


Fatoum graduated with a PGCE in Primary Teaching (Early Years). With guidance and support, Fatoum successfully progress from an LSA qualification to QTS.

I came to this country in August 1998. I went to a further education college to improve my English for a period of 2 years. I gained a Level 3 English Certificate (First Certificate in English) and an Information Technology Certificate (CLAIT).

As I had been a primary school teacher in Djibouti for 12 years and wanted to carry on this career. I took a Teaching Assistant Course and found a job with Ethnic Minority Acheivement Service (EMAS). While working in schools, I did an HLTA (High Level Teaching Assistant Status) course which enabled me to take a Foundation Degree at UWE. I took me 2 years to have my Foundation Degree and then I was told that I could progress to gain a full honours degree if I undertook extra modules (some of which were funded by PATH). I successfully completed my course, I realised that with my degree I could do a GTP (Graduated Teacher Programme) but needed GCSEs in mathematics, English and Sciences. It was like playing a jigsaw puzzle.

I received support from PATH into Teaching to do my GCSE tests; and with support from my tutors, I decided to do a PGCE in Primary Teaching (Early Years). I am now proud to say that I gained a 2.1 and have Qualified Teacher Status.
  PATH into Teaching South West, University of the West of the England, Coldharbour Lane, BS16 1QY, UK.