It’s top of the class for two trainee teachers who have landed jobs in prestigious schools as they graduate from Edge Hill University each with a first class honours degree.

Nicola Briggs and Stuart Thomson had double reason to celebrate at their ceremony on Wednesday (20th July) for passing their BSc (Hons) Science Secondary Education with QTS because not only did get the highest marks but they have secured teaching jobs despite the gloomy economic climate.

Twenty-eight-year-old Stuart from Leyland, who starting at Blackpool’s Montgomery High School in September, said: “I would recommend Edge Hill University to anyone thinking of going into the teaching profession. The support is fantastic and the tutors are so helpful and encouraging. It also has a really nice atmosphere, which is important because when I went to university the first time round I didn’t get that same homely feeling, which is one of the reasons I ended up leaving before completing my course. Starting again at Edge Hill was the best move I made.”

Stuart worked in the leisure industry for six years before decided to come back to higher education. He explained: “It was during this time and progressing into management from sports coaching that I realised I missed the teaching side, which pushed me towards a career change. I’m so glad I did it because it has paid off, I’ve got a first in my degree and I’ve got a job, which I can’t wait to start.”

Nicola was also unhappy with her career in the retail industry and decided to return to education.

The 30-year-old from Northampton said: “I took a break from retail and decided to go into teaching. I’m delighted that I’ve secured a job and now I just want to focus on being a really good teacher. I’ve just started working at a really nice school and I hope that I will be able to progress, perhaps to become a head teacher one day.”

She is based at Northampton School for Girls, where she will teach science to pupils ranging from 11 to 18-year-olds. Offering tips to graduates searching for employment, she said: “Sell yourself as much as possible, don’t think that you can’t achieve, and always try to be confident at interviews.”

Edge Hill University recently achieved Grade 1 ‘outstanding’ results across all 33 possible graded areas covering every phase of initial teacher training in its glowing OFSTED inspection. A centre for teacher education since 1885, the University is the second largest provider of teacher training in the country and the largest provider of secondary teacher training.