Mum-of-two Sarah Riley who left school with no good GCSEs and never thought of herself as academic has inspired her children with a first class degree.

Sarah, 37, who was working shifts in a call centre and never thought she’d ever set foot in a university has achieved her dream of a first class degree in Health and Social Wellbeing at Edge Hill.

After taking a Fastrack course to ease her way back into education, Sarah decided to pursue her long-term dream of becoming a social worker and enrolled on a degree.

Despite juggling the demands of family life and the added stress of coping with a family illness, Sarah gained a First class honours and now plans to take a masters.

Sarah, from Kirkby, said:

“I was never very academic and went straight from school to work in an office job then I ended up doing shift work but it was never what I wanted to be doing.

“I never thought university was an option for me but I heard about Edge Hill’s Fastrack course and enrolled.

“I absolutely loved it and enjoyed every minute of it. There was stuff I’d not done for a long time and it was hard getting in the swing of academic study again but it left me prepared.

“During my degree I tried to take the broadest options; politics, social policy, female genital mutilation, international health then I focussed on safeguarding in my second year.

“It was hard balancing the degree with the needs of my children and then my partner was ill and couldn’t work for a while.

“He has a first in Law and always joked he was the only one with the brains in the family but now I can tell him ‘not anymore you’re not’.

“The best thing about gaining my degree is that my daughter is already planning on coming to university and has the belief that she can work or study. Whatever she wants to do she knows she can achieve with hard work and determination.”

She added:

“I’m now employed as a support worker at a mental health hospital and I’m hoping to do a Social Work Masters at Edge Hill.

“It’s funny as education was never on the agenda for me and I never thought I had it in me but attending the graduation ceremony with my partner and children will be one of my proudest moments.”