“When I visited the prospective universities I fell in love with Cheltenham,” she said. “It was big enough to have everything a student desires from a university town but small enough that the sense of community was still there. I put it down as my first choice that weekend. It was a choice I didn’t regret as I had three of the best years of my life in Cheltenham.”
Those three years of study set Clare up for a career that many of our current students are considering embarking upon right now: “I started my PGCE in Secondary History in 2006 and loved it. Within 2 years I was Head of History in a small school. I have since moved on to Head of History in a large ‘outstanding’ school on the Wirral which was voted TES Secondary School of the Year in 2010.
“I spend two thirds of the week teaching pupils aged between 11 to 18. I teach about a variety of eras across 2000 years from the Romans to modern day terrorism. A typical day may see me solve the murder of Thomas Becket with Year 7, analyse paintings of Henry VIII with Year 8, simulate the trenches with Year 9, deliver a lesson about the Cuban Missile Crisis with GCSE pupils and mark 2000 word A level essays about US Civil Rights. No two days are the same and I am still constantly learning more History so that I can deliver the best lessons I can to pupils. As a Head of Department I also have responsibilities in addition to teaching; I analyse data and create reports, manage staff, set targets, devise strategies to raise attainment and plan for the future. “
For those of our present-day undergraduates – and prospective students! – considering a History degree as a route through to teaching, Clare’s path offers a lot of helpful hints. She particularly mentions her independent study, transferable skills, and dissertation modules here at Gloucestershire as key to what she does now: researching effectively and summarising information in order to teach it efficiently. “I have been able to incorporate the key historical content I learnt at University of Gloucestershire into my lessons,” she adds: “I still have all my old notes and refer to them from time to time!”
We’d love to hear from more ex-students, and discover what else their present-day counterparts might learn from them! Please do get in touch.