Mature Students Prove First Class at University

Back to news listings

Being a mature student is no barrier to achieving a top class degree, as two Worcester women have found out.


Alison Barratt and Val Turner, who are both in their 50s, have achieved First Class Honours degrees from the University of Worcester and will graduate during a ceremony at Worcester Cathedral in November. Both women joined the University through the Clearing process.


Alison, age 57, has completed a degree in BA Honours Social Welfare (Child and Adolescent Mental Health) after completing a Foundation degree at the University.


“I am extremely proud and honoured to have received a First Class Honours at the University, which reflects both the grounding and support alongside my very hard work,” said the 57-year-old, from north Worcester. “I have really enjoyed studying at the University of Worcester and have received wonderful support throughout my studies from course leaders, tutors and peers.”


Alison said she decided to return to education after a career change from secretarial work and over a decade of working with vulnerable families. “I wanted to enhance my understanding of the mental health and development of those that I work with, aiming to achieve the best possible outcomes for all families,” she said.

Val, age 54, started her professional career in nursing before moving to Worcester and becoming a Legal Executive. When she was made redundant, just before she was 50, Val decided to go back to education and learn something new.

She has just completed a degree in English Language and Screenwriting. “I am unbelievably proud of achieving First Class Honours and hopefully an example to women of my age that 50 does not mean you have less options but so many more,” she said. “This is just the beginning of a whole new adventure and I can’t wait.” 



Val, who lives in St Peter’s, Worcester, added: “Being able to creatively draw on my life experiences now made me feel that my age was a distinct advantage. I worked alongside my studies as a Student Academic Representative, a member of the Students’ Union Council and as an Outreach worker. I participated in writing workshops, open mic poetry reading sessions and volunteered at the British Film Institute in London for a women’s film production company. I also volunteered for the newly established Worcestershire Film Festival, writing film reviews and organising workshops. I would not have done any of that had I not gone to university.


“The icing on the cake was that my Independent Study final project was shortlisted for the Steven Knight Award for Best University Film Script.”