Its double celebrations for a mother and daughter who graduated together at Edge Hill University on Monday, with both gaining promotions.
Part-time students Lynn Challinor and her eldest child Helen have both achieving their Foundation Degree in Professional Development and as a result they have progressed even further up the career ladder.
48-year-old Lynn, from Middleton, who was a Pastoral Manager at Kaskenmoor School, has been promoted to a Learning Community Leader in the new academy, looking after a larger number of pupils and heading up a small team of staff. Helen, 22, from Middleton, who was an outreach worker, has got a new job as an Emotional Well-being Coordinator at Castlebrook High School, Bury.
Helen said: “Taking the Foundation Degree has really helped us both in our chosen career paths and it was nice to lean on each other for support throughout our studies. At first it seemed a little odd to study with my mum but we get on great and we are very different in the way that we tackle things. My mum is really organised and she would finish all her assignments really quickly, while I’m a bit laid back, but together we complemented each other and it has brought us closer together.”
Lynn added: “It was Helen who spotted the course first and when I looked at it I felt that it would be really beneficial for my own job role although I was a little worried about the level of commitment I could give it at first because I have a younger daughter with learning disabilities. However, once I started I loved every minute of it and I’m proud to say I was the only one in the group with 100% attendance. I found that it fitted perfectly with my job and the course made me realise how important my role is in the school and the level of responsibility I have.”
Lynn’s route into education was a very personal journey. Her background was originally in retail management but having a daughter with disabilities encouraged her to become more involved with the local school. As a result she became a school governor and realised she wanted a career change into education. She began volunteering before she was eventually given the role of Pastoral Manager.
She said:” I had no formal qualifications so when I first started the Foundation Degree I did it just for me – it’s something that I wanted to do for my own personal satisfaction. Once I got into the course I realised how I could use it to my advantage within my career. As the school is becoming an academy I applied for a promotion and because of my Foundation Degree I was offered the new role.”
Despite the age gap between the two women who both studied at Edge Hill University’s Outreach Centre at Holy Cross College in Bury, they both enjoyed the student experience.
They said: “We would regularly have girly nights with the others in our group and would de-brief once a week at the pub or we’d all chat to each other online while studying on a Sunday. It was a great experience and we have made some real friends for life.”
The icing on the cake was being able to graduate together. Lynn said: “The most exciting moment was having me and Helen pictured together in our cap and gowns, it made me feel so proud.”