From the Megabus to mega success

With many of our previous scholars completing their degrees and preparing to graduate this July, it seemed like a great opportunity to find out how and why receiving a scholarship had made a difference to their time at Edge Hill University.

We asked one of our graduating scholars Stephanie Marsh, who has just completed her PGCE in Secondary English with QTS (11-16) to reflect on being awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Prospective Students in 2013. This is what Stephanie had to say!

“After applying to do my PGCE in Secondary English at Edge Hill University and accepting an offer of a place, I was over the moon. However, I knew that the demands of such a course may interfere with my commitments to voluntary work. This wasn’t something I wanted to happen, since both before and throughout my time at The University of York studying for an undergraduate degree, I had dedicated a large portion of my time to volunteering with children and vulnerable people. Some of my volunteering involved me helping at a residential camp for children in the social services system, as a youth worker with vulnerable teenage girls and as a teaching assistant at HMP Askham Grange. During my undergraduate degree, I was also Vice Chair for the Volunteering Society. Volunteering this much was fine – when I had the time! I quickly realised that juggling a part-time job to fund myself, a PGCE and continuing my volunteering work may not be a viable option! That’s why I was so glad when I stumbled upon the Excellence Scholarships page on the Edge Hill website, although I must admit I didn’t really expect my application would be considered worthy of an award.

Fast forward a few months to a hot day, sat on a Megabus to London and my phone rang. It was Zoe (the Scholarships Administrator at Edge Hill) and to my surprise she was congratulating me on being awarded the Excellence Scholarship. I was pretty amazed and obviously my weekend in London for a friend’s wedding involved a little extra celebration.

In every day terms, the scholarship has meant that financially I could afford to only work one shift a week in my part-time job whilst completing my PGCE studies, something that wouldn’t have been possible without the funding.  The knock on effect this had was simple; the extra time I was gaining meant I was able to pursue voluntary opportunities in my area, albeit on a more ad-hoc basis but I could still get involved all the same.

Now I’m at the end of my course and finally a qualified English teacher with a job lined up for September I can see clearly how the scholarship has benefited me. I am currently still involved with West Lancashire Young People’s Service and liaise with them often to volunteer at events. I’m also currently in the process of becoming an Independent Visitor to children in care through the charity NYAS. A year ago I was wondering how I could continue my voluntary work without the time or money, yet now I am pursuing it further than ever before and planning it into a new chapter of my life as I begin work as a teacher.”

We wish Stephanie the best of luck with her teaching career!