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At BLC success was probable – not just possible! By Julie Davies

When I began my foundation degree studies at BLC in 2014 I was unsure if I was doing the right thing, indeed I wondered if I was even capable of doing it… I had been out of any form of education as a student for over 10 years, however, I felt stagnant and under-qualified in my role as a primary teaching assistant. Unfortunately, I had also previously lacked the motivation to achieve significant academic success. Yet, I knew I wanted to do more and be more… I was struggling to achieve my full potential, and I knew it.

The principal of BLC Len Tildsley presented me with the outstanding academic achievement award at the BA (hons) graduation presentation ceremony at the Devonshire Dome, Buxton – 10th November 2018.

So, I decided to be brave and apply to the foundation degree course at BLC for Children’s and Young People’s Services, it felt like a huge leap and I was very nervous, but it was now or never. I wanted to try to prove myself.

When I reflect on that decision now, chief among my reasons to enrol was my desire to be a better educational practitioner, I also wanted to make my family proud and (at last) satisfy my intrinsic drive to achieve self-efficacy. I didn’t find returning to study or the course at all easy; at the time, my daughter was 3 and my son 13 – a toddler and a teenager – I must have been crazy! But, with the help of my fantastic family and friends, and utilising the great support from my tutors and classmates provided at college, I kept going.

Then something happened that I never expected…

As I started year three of the foundation degree, I received an email from the University of Derby. Due to my grades in year one and two I had been given the Dean’s Award for Excellence, putting me in the top 10% of the programme. I was stunned, but absolutely thrilled. This gave me the motivation, not only to continue with my studies, but also to strive for the best result possible. It felt like a whole new world of opportunity had been opened to me, I realised that

After completing the foundation degree, I undertook the BA top-up course also at BLC, and graduated with first-class honours, attaining a grade average of 82.4. I am currently enrolled onto the college’s PGCE +14 teacher training qualification, linked with Derby University and am looking forward to graduating again in 2020. Being a BLC student has enabled me to realise my aspirations, encouraged me to think bigger, and their staff have shown me the path to take.

My family and I at the 2018 BA awards ceremony, left to right: my son Ethan, me, my daughter Isla and my husband Lee.

If I could say only two words to a prospective student thinking of enrolling on any course at BLC, they would be – do it! College life is truly what you make it, if you want success it’s there for the taking. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mature student like me, or fresh out of high school, if you are determined and willing to take on board the erudition and advice you’ll be given, you will achieve.

My BLC tutors celebrate with me at the Dean’s Award presentation, December 2016, left to right: Kim Kettle, me, Rebecca Lea.


I am an entirely different person now than when I started this journey, I know I’ve still got a long way to go, but the distinction is that now – I know I can do it. And, if I can do it – anybody can!

For further information about the Foundation Degree courses for education visit here.



























The Duke of Devonshire presents the Foundation Degree Awards – 11th November 2017