1 August 2003


A Bootle woman who graduated with a first class degree from Edge Hill College of Higher Education has inspired her brother to return to learning at the Ormskirk institution.

Elaine Idris, 36, studied the Fastrack six week intensive access course for adult returners to education three ago. This led to her achieving the best possible BSc (Hons) degree result in Key Stage 2/3 with Qualified Teacher Status in Information & Communication Technology as well as a new career as a teacher.

Now brother, Colin Strong, also from Bootle, is to follow in big sister’s footsteps and is set to start a degree programme having recently completed the Fastrack course in Biological Sciences.

Colin, 32, who works as a civil servant for the Health and Safety Executive based at Bootle, said: “I’d thought about going back to uni for some time and was prepared to take a year’s foundation course. But I was really impressed with how much Elaine had achieved by progressing from the six week Fastrack course to the degree at Edge Hill, so it seemed the perfect route for me too.”

Colin completed the Fastrack in July, taking a six week break from work to take up the course. He looks forward to starting a degree at Edge Hill in conservation biology in September.

“I’ve been very lucky, as my employer has agreed to me transferring to part time hours so that I can fit in my studies,” said Colin. “They’re also supporting me financially too.
I am a little apprehensive about starting the degree but the Fastrack course has helped to build my confidence. I’ve wanted to do it for years, so I’m determined to do my best. ”

Sister Elaine is confident that Colin will settle in to his studies. She said: “My brother has seen at first hand the rewards I’ve gained from returning to study. I know he thinks that if I can do it, then he can too. Many of my friends have seen me come through my studies and they too have been inspired to return to learning.”

Elaine was one of the first students to gain entry to a degree with Qualified Teacher Status in Information Communication Technology through the Fastrack course. Her success influenced the decision to develop a new Fastrack programme, successfully piloted this year, designed especially for those who want to progress to a degree with Qualified Teacher Status.

Elaine, who gave up her job as a Learning Support Assistant at Bootle High School, to become a qualified teacher, starts her first full time post at Newfield School in Liverpool at the start of the new term. The mum of three is looking forward to teaching children with emotional and behavioural disorders.

EDITOR’S NOTES: All teaching degrees carry a recommendation for the award of Qualified Teacher Status. This status is confirmed following the successful completion of an induction year in teaching. This department for Education and Skills requirement applies to all initial teacher training programmes at any institution.