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Zayla Beecham

Zayla Beecham completed her eighth year at the University of Worcester in 2011 having ploughed her way through four courses to achieve her dream job.

Zayla joined the University’s Foundation Degree in Learning Support back in 2003. She had been working as a part time teaching assistant at a pupil referral unit and decided to get qualified.

And from there her journey started and in November 2011 she graduated with the National SENCO Award.

“I started the Foundation Degree at Hereford College of Technology,” said the 34-year-old mother-of-two. “I never would have signed up for a full degree, as I didn’t think it was for me. But the Foundation Degree helped me to take that first step in to education and I just carried on.”

After completing the Foundation Degree part time, during which time Zayla gave birth to her second daughter, she signed up to do a top up degree.

“I never thought that I would become a teacher when I did the Foundation Degree,” she said. “I had always wanted to work in youth offending but someone said to me that I could make more of a difference as a teacher and I changed my mind and decided to do the top up.”

From there Zayla went on to complete the Primary PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) at the University of Worcester, before securing her first full teaching job.

“I was taken on part time at a school and worked my way up to be the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO),” she said. “I was thrown in at the deep end a bit and the first year was a big learning curve, but I loved it all the same.”

Zayla, who works at Lord Scudamore Academy in Hereford, has now completed the Special Educational Needs Coordination PG Cert - National SENCO Award at the University of Worcester and has signed up to do the next part of a Masters in Special and Inclusive Education.

“It has been difficult but I just kept on going,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the Foundation Degree at the start I would not be where I am today. That gave me the grounding I need. I would never have signed up for a full degree, so the Foundation Degree was a good start and made me realise that I could do it.”