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Laurie Davies

MA Education and SEN

A headshot of Laurie Davies

The MA is supporting me in my critical thinking and analysis skills, which has enabled me to look at disability through a different lens. I find that I have started to question everything now.

I am a full time parent carer for my adult daughter and younger son. Both have autism and other additional needs. I also have a voluntary role with an autism charity. My experiences as both a parent and advocate for my children – navigating the complexities of SEN support has been the catalyst behind studying both my undergraduate in Education and SEN and now a MA in the same field.

Why were you interested in an MA?
Once I finished my degree, I felt lost – like I still had so much more that I wanted to learn. I realised I hadn’t finished on my academic journey just yet!
What inspired you to study the MA at Holy Cross?
I had been waiting to find an MA I was interested in. Ideally, I wanted to continue my studies in SEN. I did my undergraduate in the same subjects so when I found out about this MA at Holy Cross – I knew it was the perfect time to apply.

Why did you choose to study the MA at Holy Cross College?
I studied at Holy Cross previously for my undergraduate degree. It enabled me to have the flexibility to study in the evening. This fit in perfectly with family life. The university team at Holy Cross are extremely supportive and understanding, this was also a factor in why I returned to study here.

What are the top 3 skills your MA course is supporting you to develop?
1)The MA is supporting me in my critical thinking and analysis skills, which has enabled me to look at disability through a different lens. I find that I have started to question everything now.
2) My ability to discuss and develop well-structured arguments within my work.
3) Developing my research skills

What insights are you gaining from your current studies and how is this supported by your course tutors?
The insights I am gaining from the MA are realising the importance of collaboration in education between teachers and parents/carers and professionals, this is of particular relevance in SEND.

The importance of the voice of the child and how underrepresented it is. This really resonates with me.
These insights are supported through the weekly face to face lectures that we have, the tutors have a great deal of knowledge and expertise to bring to the course. There is also a virtual learning environment with a great deal of content and reading lists provided to support each module.

What are you most enjoying about your MA studies, and what are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
SEN is an area that I have a real interest in for both personal reasons and for future career aspirations. I’ve really enjoyed class discussions with the tutors and fellow students, and it’s been interesting to gain different perspectives on SEN. The challenges have been getting back into academic writing; however, Edge Hill offer Uniskills courses throughout the year to support this.

How has the degree supported you in balancing studying and working / working in school or setting?
It did take a little time to get into a routine, but the degree is set out in a way to support a balance in studying that works with home life.

What’s the best thing about Edge Hill University to you?
The tutors are understanding, if we have had any issues, we have had the opportunity to discuss these and have felt we have been listened too. Without that support then it would be difficult as a parent carer to continue with my studies.

How have/will your MA studies support your career progression?
As a parent carer I’ve experienced firsthand just how challenging it is to get the right support and services for children with additional needs. The MA has not only given me the knowledge and understanding of education and SEN it has also given me the confidence to discuss issues around special education needs. In the future I would like to pursue a role which will enable me to support families who like ours face the challenges navigating SEN brings.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying and Edge Hill University MA at Holy Cross College?
This course is a great way of progressing on your academic journey, whilst still being able to work or fit it in around family life.

How has Edge Hill supported you during your degree?
Due to my home life situation, there have been occasions where I’ve needed extra support. Edge Hill have been fantastic. We were assigned personal tutors from the beginning of the course, and we’ve always had a point of contact.

Anything else you’d like to add?
My academic journey has been far from plain sailing but I’m so glad that I have continued in my studies. I’m grateful for the support that I receive from the tutors at Holy Cross and Edge Hill, without them this journey would not be possible.
I’m really looking forward to where the MA takes me.