> Sandra Bullen
Sandra, who lives just outside of Berwick-upon-Tweed, decided to
return to education at the age of 40 to study for a teaching
assistant's course. Prior to this she hadn't studied since
completing her Scottish Highers.
While doing her teaching assistants course Sandra gained a job
within the early years team at Longridge Towers, a near-by and
prestigious independent school.
Sandra enjoyed her work so much, she decided to enrol at
Northumberland College for a part-time Foundation Degree in Early
Years Practice at the college's Berwick centre and take her
learning to a higher level.
After successfully completing her Foundation Degree, Sandra
opted for the one-year top-up course offered by the college through
its university partnership, where she achieved a First Class
After this, Sandra went on to do a graduate teaching programme
at the university, for which she was awarded outstanding.
Sandra's achievements saw her receive a promotion at work and
she now manages the early years unit.
She says: "The knowledge I gained through my Foundation Degree
gave me greater understanding and helped me to progress towards a
leader role, rather than being a teaching assistant.
"Having three children meant studying was tricky at times,
however, I don't regret a minute and I feel really fortunate to
have been able to achieve all I have. My college tutors gave me
excellent support throughout and I'm still in touch with them