Sarah Clark, Childhood, Culture and Education, 2010

Sarah Clark, BA in Childhood, Culture and EducationCurrent role

At the moment I work for Nottingham City Council within their Heritage Sites as ‘Private Hire Assistant’. My role involves organising weddings and corporate events. I am also looking for work experience in schools as I am hoping to continue my studies and do a primary PGCE in a couple of years time.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now

My job is really varied-I can be sitting at my desk taking phone calls and sending emails one day and then be running around making sure a wedding reception runs smoothly the next! I work across three different sites so I am always meeting new people and always on the go which I love. I’m looking forward to getting some experience working with children in the classroom though as well as this is what I’d really love to do in the future.

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham

When I first visited Birmingham University on one of the open days I could really see myself studying there. The grounds of the campus didn’t compare to any other universities else I had visited and I loved the fact that Birmingham is a campus based uni yet so close to the city. Having the train stations right on campus and in Selly Oak was so handy whenever you needed to go anywhere. I also liked it that most of the first year accommodation was all based on the Vale on campus so you are near everyone and close for getting to lectures and the library.

I originally started doing a different degree programme at Birmingham but decided to transfer to CCE after my first year as I felt this course was much more suited to what I want to do in the future and I wanted to stay at Birmingham. Although this meant having a extra year studying it was one of the best decisions I have ever made as the CCE course has been brilliant. I’ve found everything we covered each year really interesting and relevant to current issues.

What were the best bits about your time here as a student?

Looking back I loved the nervous excitement of meeting my course mates on the very first day and seeing those relationships develop. As CCE is a small course you really get to know everyone and form quite a tight-knit group which was nice. Something else that really stands out is all the different activities on offer. Just about every possible thing you fancy doing you can do, especially with all the different societies in the Guild of Students. Having now graduated I think one of my fondest memories of Birmingham University is Gradball which happens at the end of your final year because it seemed to be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate how hard you’ve worked over the past few years all in the centre of campus. I think Graduation Day will be one of the things I remember most as it was a perfect end to the whole university experience which you can share with your family and course friends.

What did you think of the learning experience within the University?

I think the learning experience within the university was really stimulating and varied. Although in our first year all the modules were compulsory, in second year we were able to have a choice over one of the modules and in third year we had complete choice over all our modules from a wide range of options which meant you could decide exactly what you wanted to focus on. If you wanted to you could chose a module outside the School of Education options so you could study something really different such as a language.
We also had some more practical modules which involved carrying out a placement in an educational setting or in an environment working with children and developing the skills required which was valuable for preparing our future careers.

I would really recommend the course for the support from tutors and lecturers. I found that the staff were all really helpful, genuinely cared about you doing well and were more than willing to offer advice whenever you needed it.

As the number of students on the CCE course was small compared to some others the atmosphere was always really friendly and everyone quickly became comfortable talking out loud and asking questions in class discussions.

Did you find the degree programme at Birmingham challenging or easy?

I would say some aspects of the CCE program were quite challenging and made you really think about what you were researching. After some lectures you would come away having learnt so much new information that it was hard to take it all in but I think having a challenging module makes you actually learn more. Although most people dread the thought of doing a dissertation once you start researching and writing it’s not so bad as you first think as you can break it down into smaller more manageable chunks and you have complete choice over what topic you study. I really enjoyed working on mine and you get a real sense of achievement once you’ve finished.

Advice for current students

Make sure you find out properly what each module entails before you decide which ones to choose and try to talk to students in the year above if possible-they’ll be able to recommend the best ones.

Keep in contact with your tutors and lecturers-they’re there to help you and want you to do well, so if you’re struggling with anything its best to ask.

When your looking for a house for your second year don’t rush into finding one-there are plenty of nice ones around all year round. Also make sure you get your contract checked by the ARC in the Guild-the staff will go through it with you to make sure everything is as it should be and you’re not getting into any dodgy clauses!

Find out more about all our undergraduate programmes in the School of Education.