Leeds West Academy


My Lifelong Learning Journey


Ms Guy shares her recent graduation story 

Article by Janine Guy. 

Four years ago, I decided that I wanted to fulfil the dream I had desired whilst at school, but had failed to achieve, I wanted to go to University.

However, when I researched this, a few obstacles stood in my way.  Despite working in a school for the past 14 years, I did not possess a G.C.S.E qualification in English nor any Level 3 qualifications, I worked full time and had a family to support.

I approached the Academy for guidance, spoke to my family and so my journey began.  That first year I sat my G.C.S.E in English along with my Level 3 BTEC qualification.  Thankfully I passed, and with the support of the Academy I applied to Leeds Trinity University to undertake a foundation degree in “Supporting Learning and Additional Needs in Education”.  I attended university in the first year on a Monday and the second on a Tuesday afternoon from 1.30pm until 7.00pm. It was hard work, learning how to complete work to Level 4 and 5 academically, after leaving education so long ago, and teaching a full time timetable when I was not at University posed some issues.  However I caught the bug and after graduating last year with a 2:1 Foundation Degree, I decided to go one step further and applied to undertake a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Practice, specialising in Education.

Once again the Academy supported me and I attended University one full day a week for seven months, whilst continuing to work for the other four days.   The difficulty level had increased tenfold and the support given by the lecturers decreased, with only guidance on what we needed to do. However, once again I persevered, my evenings and weekends taken up with research and reading before writing the assignments I had been given. Luckily the degree I had chosen linked well into my current teaching practices at the Academy.   

After what has seemed like a very long road and a mammoth task, I achieved the dream I had had all those years ago and graduated in July 2018.  However, the cherry on the cake, was when I realised that not only had I graduated 32 years after I initially left school, but I had done so in style, achieving a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Practice: Education, First Class Honours Degree.