Sarah Taylor, Sociology graduate from the University of Leeds.

Sarah Ellen Taylor

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am currently studying Sociology and have recently been accepted onto Teach First to begin training to be a Primary School Teacher in the North-East 2017 Cohort. I am from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and live with my parents.  

What motivated you to apply for your course at Leeds?

I chose my course due to the fact that a lot of the issues researched are current and relatable to my experience within society. I want to be a teacher and so I felt that this course could provide me with the choice to obtain a wider background knowledge of young people within society, alongside other topics.

I have always known that the University of Leeds is a highly respected institution with a long legacy of success. With regards to excelling in my career, truthfully I felt that a degree from this University would look highly credible and benefit me. The University also has amazing resources, and I loved the fact it was a campus University, and everything I needed was in one place at my finger tips in a wonderful, lively city.

What do you think of your course?

I have really enjoyed the ‘Contemporary children, young people and families’ module in Semester 1 of my fourth year. I succeeded highly in my assignment and I am really proud of myself. I loved the content involved within the module and my essay concerning ‘lad culture’ was extremely interesting for me to write due to the fact it was something I have personally encountered in the University setting.

How would you describe the guidance you've received?

I have always had the best support from my School staff. In my second year, I was massively struggling with being away from home with my dad being unwell and constantly in and out of hospital (most of the time in) and I was able to speak to staff whenever I needed. I have always been informed of the best way for me to have the necessary support, be it the use of mitigating circumstances in assignments, or even just having a chat with a member of staff to release some emotion and feeling.

What do you think of the facilities?

The Edge is a particular facility which I enjoy using, the gym is literally a two minute walk from my school building, which is perfect at the end of my studying for me to walk down and work out.

Have you been granted any scholarships or won any awards?

I have received Leeds Financial Support due to my family’s financial situation with my dad recently becoming unwell. This has absolutely benefitted me and I am exceptionally grateful. It’s good to see that the University recognises students who need help, and work towards achieving that.

Tell us about your year in industry.

I completed a year in industry in the year 2015-16, working as a Teaching Assistant in Newcastle in both a mainstream and special educational needs primary school. Although my work was unpaid, I was able to be financially stable through student finance. I can honestly say it was the best decision I have made as to be a primary school teacher, experience is absolutely critical. I was able to take a break from studying and reflect on my work, as well as gain new experience and settle into the working environment.

Being accepted onto the Teach First scheme was something I dreamed of, and didn’t think I would be able to do, however my year in industry enabled me to gain skills and experience that propelled me into the job and I was able to apply all my experience to their requirements, ultimately obtaining me a place in the 2017-18 cohort.