Life is tickety-boo for former bingo caller Cheryl Spofforth, who at the age of 37 (not 92) has graduated from Edge Hill University with a First-Class Honours degree in Early Years Education with QTS.
The mum-of-three from Southport, who has worked in bingo halls since she was a dancing queen (17), has now called time on her career which led her up the ranks to manager.
Cheryl said: “Bingo was always something I did as a side-line, when I was at school, then while I had my kids, it was never meant to be my career it just ended up that way.
“I loved it, bingo was my life and I worked at various bingo halls across Coventry, Sheffield and most recently Southport. I did all sorts of roles from caller to book sales to manager but the idea of teaching has always been there.
“Having three young children (now five, seven and 9) I always used to be really creative with activities and learning at home, then one day my daughter’s teacher said I should be a teacher and that got me thinking.”
And despite her panic about returning to study after so many years, Cheryl excelled and was awarded a university academic achievement scholarship award in her second year.
She said: “It’s been a fantastic three years. It’s been hard balancing being a mum with studying in the evening and working at the bingo every Saturday and Sunday.
“Once the kids were in bed I’d jump in the car to spend the evenings in Catalyst loosing myself in the academic side of things.
“But having three young children going through early years education at the time did help as it meant I could test some ideas out on them before my placements.”
Throughout her degree Cheryl consistently achieved top grades and wrote her dissertation on how early years education promotes resilience in young children.
She added: “The curriculum is geared up to try and help promote resilience and ensure the wellbeing of young children.
“I realised the importance of the early years for making children feel safe and able to understand and control their emotions.
“This has led me to question how this follows on through the education system and into the teenage years.”
Cheryl now plans to answer these questions having secured a place on Edge Hill’s Masters degree in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Cheryl said: “I’ve realised I love academic study and that I still have questions that I want answered, so I can’t wait to complete my Masters and broaden my knowledge even further.
“I hope I’ve inspired my own children with my work ethic so they know that if they work hard they can get the career they want.”
Edge Hill University runs a number of courses in education and teacher training. Visit the website www.edgehill.ac.uk/education for more information on all the education courses available at Edge Hill.