The teachers who inspired the little voices

Claire Jackson, Primary Teaching student

Claire Jackson

The University of South Wales asked some of the children in trainee teachers’ classes what they think of the grown-ups, and filmed the responses. Here, the teachers who were in the spotlight tell us a bit about themselves.       

Claire Jackson

WHEN Claire Jackson left school at the age of 16, she believed she wasn’t clever enough to go to university.

Now 38, the mum of four has just started the final year of her degree at the University of South Wales (USW) to become a primary school teacher, and with one message to others – you can do whatever you put your mind to.

Claire’s journey to teaching has been unconventional. Leaving school after her GCSEs, she worked for a major supermarket for several years during her late teens, got married in her early 20s, and then was a full-time mum to her four children – Elise, 16, Ryan, 14, Hannah, 11, and Ethan, seven.

However, she never felt that she had achieved all she could academically, and wanted to show that she could offer more beyond her home life.

“When I was in school I felt I had no encouragement and never thought I was clever enough to go on to do further study,” Claire explained.

“So when I left school and went to work for the supermarket, I felt I had done quite well for myself.”

After being promoted to the position of section manager, and then getting married, Claire devoted her time to looking after her family. But the break from work just made her more determined to prove that she was capable of achieving more.

“I had always wanted to be a teacher, but doubted my ability,” she added. “But my aunt, who had completed a degree with the Open University, kept telling me that I was more than clever enough to get the qualifications.”

After completing courses with the OU in maths, science, creative writing, and psychology, and qualifying as a teaching assistant, Claire got a job at a school in Newport.

“It was while I was here that I met some USW students who were training to become primary school teachers, and got really interested in doing the course,” she said.

“After speaking to the school head and realising I had built up enough credits to get on to the degree, I decided to apply, got through the interview, and haven’t looked back.”

Now in her final year, Claire will soon find out if she’s achieved Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)… and realised her dream.

“I’m doing my final school placement and am just waiting to see if I’ve passed,” she said.

“Whatever happens, I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter where you come from, your age, or background. All that matters is that you have the determination to succeed and you can be whatever you want to be.”

Paula Watts

Paula Watts wanted to go to university close to home, and USW fitted the bill perfectly. Paula Watts, Primary Teaching graduate

From Pontyclun, near Llantrisant, Paula completed her degree in Primary Studies with QTS earlier this year, and now has her own class at Langstone Primary school.

“I really like the feel of USW, and like the idea of a three-year course with QTS,” she said.

“The open day really sold the course, with all the placements well organised and really helped me to get the right experience.

“And it was really good to be close to home. I looked at a few other universities a bit further away, but USW was ideal and I’m glad I went to study there.”

Open Day 

An Open Day is being held at the University of South Wales’s Newport Campus on October 22 to give anyone interested in studying teacher training more details of what’s on offer.

For those interested in working in the education sector, USW offers courses in Primary Teaching, Secondary Teaching, and Early Years and Education, alongside Youth and Community Work, Social Work, Working with Children and Families, and Counselling and Therapeutic Practice. Other courses include Business and Management, Hotel Management, and Applied Cyber Security.

Open from 8.30am until 1.30pm, the event offers a chance to speak to tutors and current students, take a tour of the simulated Primary Teaching Classroom, Science Labs, and Early Learning Space, and visit halls of residence.

For full details, visit or call 03455 76 77 78.

#education #teaching #primary teaching with QTS #primary teaching