A student who came to Edge Hill in September to do a top up degree before heading down under to Australia is celebrating her new life with a job and a First.

Jessica Gaskell, 33, who moved to Queensland in January with her husband and two young children, has (today) been awarded a First Class Honours degree in BSc Integrated Children and Young People’s Practice.

She said: “I’d only just started at Edge Hill when my husband was headhunted to a job in Australia.

“This was a real opportunity of a lifetime and I thought I’d be unable to finish my degree but my tutors told me I could do it and that they’d make it work.

“I remember I spent New Year’s Eve standing up writing an assignment in my empty house after packing every last bit of furniture into shipping containers that day.

“In less than four months we’d made the decision to move, had found a house in Australia, a primary school for my two children and were all packed up ready to go.”

The family moved from Chorley to Mango Hill, around 30 minutes north of Brisbane, just a couple of months before the Covid-19 pandemic swept around the world.

Jessica said: “I’m still not sure how I managed to keep up my studies, we moved and got the kids settled in school for just five weeks before everything stopped.

“I had to home school my eight and four-year-old with a curriculum I didn’t know, we were waiting for all our furniture and belongings to arrive and I was having to study.

“But thanks to the support of my amazing tutor, WhatsApp at all times of the day and night with the time difference, somehow we got there.

“I was even able to change my dissertation to reflect my new home and I studied how indigenous children are disadvantaged within the education system.”

And it was all worth it, as the former dental nurse who dreamt of being a teacher now has a new job in her children’s school as a Support Officer in Pastoral Care and will begin her PGCE on the job.

Jessica added: “We absolutely love it here. It’s the best decision we ever made and the fact I’ve got a first, it’s all just sinking in.

“I absolutely love Edge Hill, my tutors were there 24/7, even over weekends and gave me the pushes I needed when I needed them. It just goes to show you really can get a degree wherever you are and whatever your circumstances.”

To find out more about Edge Hill courses related to working within the children’s workforce sector, visit the website.