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Elaine Parry

Juggling studies with looking after a family full-time is no easy thing to do. But for mother-of-two Elaine Parry it proved a huge success as she graduates today with a First Class Honours degree in Primary Initial Teacher Education.

Elaine, from Headless Cross, Redditch, worked in a bank before becoming a full-time mother. It was when her children were at school that she decided to fulfil a life-long dream to become a teacher herself.

“I did some work in my children’s school and decided that I was enjoying it so much I wanted to get some proper training,” she said. “I joined the Foundation Degree and then when I completed that, decided to top-up to the full degree.”

Elaine threw herself into the degree, achieving top grades in her assignments, earning her a £1,000 Academic Scholarship.

“Receiving the scholarship made me realise the level of achievement I was capable of and it gave me a boost and spurred me on,” she said. “In one way, I put even more pressure on myself to maintain high grades but it's definitely paid off and I am really proud of how far I have come; it is a great accomplishment as a mature student.”

She added: “When I began my Foundation Degree in 2008, becoming a teacher felt like an aspirational dream and I wondered whether I would be capable of rising to the challenge. I won't deny it has been a really hard graft as an older student with children; the majority of the cohort was nearly half my age. It has taken a huge amount of commitment and dedication because at the end of the day it really is down to how much effort you are willing to put in. Completing the degree has increased my confidence and I am immensely proud. I have definitely exceeded my own expectations.”

Elaine has secured a permanent job as a Year 3 teacher at Hawkesley Church Primary School in Kings Norton, Birmingham.