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Jo Woodward standing in front of Edge Hill University crest.

News story

Trainee teacher praised for giving disaffected pupils the opportunities and encouragement to shine

November 17, 2023

A trainee teacher has been awarded an Edge Hill University scholarship for helping improve the life chances of disaffected students in a Pupil Referral Unit.

Secondary Education with QTS student Jo Woodward from Liverpool took her initial teacher training placement in a PRU, passing with flying colours and judged to be immediately employable.

The positive impact she’s had on her pupils has been fuelled by her belief that “if given different learning opportunities, all children can succeed”. One pupil is now back in mainstream school with 100% attendance, and Jo’s patience in sharing her love of reading led one boy to finish Treasure Island – the first book he’d ever read.

On graduation, Jo intends to continue helping marginalised pupils see that a brighter future is possible:

“I intend to work in the Alternative Provision sector of education that provides schools for young people dealing with social, emotional, and mental health conditions or those who display behavioural issues that have resulted in them being excluded from mainstream environments.

“The scholarship award will support my long-term career goals, providing financial security so I can focus on my studies and giving me the drive to maintain high academic standards in my final year.”

The practical element of Jo’s course has opened doors to opportunities that will make her highly employable:

“After completing my first placement, I was offered employment as a teaching assistant. I remained at the school for over a year, alongside my studies. It allowed me to learn from colleagues in the profession and gain valuable experience in a school environment.”

And while helping pupils see past disadvantages and discrimination, Jo has faced her own challenges before and after becoming a mature student. These have included living with life-altering medical conditions as a result of contracting COVID-19. She is full of praise for the support she’s received:

“The best thing about student life has been the sense of community and peer support, especially through challenging times. I’ve benefited from the University’s free counselling service and the unwavering support of my personal tutor when my health has been an issue – both providing a safe space to talk.”

University Scholarships are for students who help raise Edge Hill’s profile through an exceptional contribution to equal opportunities and diversity. We have a broad programme of scholarships for prospective and current students, recognising practical and academic excellence.

Edge Hill’s Faculty of Education offers a variety of degrees and courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, from early years to further education.

November 17, 2023


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