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May - Education Practice: Special Educational Needs and Disability Foundation Degree

May Cruddas

I didn’t choose this course specifically to work in SEN, but because it offers a broad range of skills which I believe are invaluable to anyone working with young people.

May - Education Practice -

For 55-year-old May Cruddas, returning to education was about more than gaining a qualification, it was about proving to herself that she could achieve something and using her degree to make a difference.

A bit of background

Originally from America, May moved to the UK in 1997 and worked in IT up until the birth of her daughter. When her youngest children became teenagers, she felt the time was right to rethink her career and try something new. She began working in a primary school kitchen as a way of re-entering the world of work while she considered her options. It was teaching her son and daughter how to ride a bike one afternoon, that May realised how much she would miss helping children achieve their goals when her own had grown up. May decided to leave the school kitchen to qualify as a teaching assistant.

It was her experiences as a volunteer trainee Teaching Assistant that May realised working with children and young people, particularly those who are vulnerable and need extra support, is her calling.

Shutterstock 388667902 Teaching

Turning a negative into a positive

Through her personal struggles growing up and battling cancer not once, but five times, she wanted to turn her traumatic experiences into something positive.

It's the social, emotional and mental health element that draws me to the education sector. A person should not define themselves by negative life experiences, but rather view them as opportunities to grow and learn. I'd like to be one of the positive influences on a young person, in the same way I recall a couple of my teachers were when I was a young person living in challenging circumstances.

- May

About the course

May is the first in her family to study at degree-level. She first joined the College on a Level 3 course and progressed to the Foundation Degree in Education Practice, specialising in Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability.

She said: “I didn’t choose this course specifically to work in SEN, but because it offers a broad range of skills which I believe are invaluable to anyone working with young people.”

Special Educational Needs and Disability covers a wide spectrum of conditions and needs, from autism and ADHD to dyslexia and genetic differences. This two-year course is designed to prepare you for employment as a specialist or general educator with a high level of competence in addressing a number of specific learning needs.

Future plans

On completion of the Foundation Degree, May hopes to progress to a bachelor’s degree before deciding what area of education she’d like to pursue.

I’m the first in my family to study at university-level which is something I’m really proud of. I’m keeping an open mind about the future but I know that this course will prepare me well for whatever comes next.

It wasn’t an easy decision going back to learning as a mature student but the College offers a really friendly and supportive environment, so I’d say to anyone thinking about a career change, to just go for it!

- May
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