Meet Our Students

Meet Our Students

Find out more about how some of our current students and alumni found studying with the School of Education!

Kieran Smyth | PGDE History 

"As a student currently residing in Glasgow, I have to personally thank Aberdeen University and the School of Education in particular for how incredibly hard they have worked to create an inclusive and flexible learning environment for the Central Belt students. The classes are dated to create an appealing schedule for students outwith Aberdeen whilst the content of these lessons has also been top class to give all PGDE students the greatest preparation and knowledge ahead of what is hopefully a long career in what is a rewarding profession.

When it comes to the staff and tutors involved with the School of Education, they have all come together to create an engaging and informative course which is fantastic but the biggest compliment that can be paid to the entire School of Education is how approachable, how helpful and how wonderful they have all been to every student on the PGDE course. A special mention also has to be given to Stephanie O’Reilly in Social Subjects for the fantastic high-quality work she has put in to help students in 3 different subject areas (History/Modern Studies/Geography) and for the wonderful support and advice she has offered.

The PGDE course is successful in creating strong foundations that are built on inclusive practices and theoretical knowledge, provided by the wonderful team at Aberdeen University. This is complimented with the wonderful chance of gathering school experience on placement across different schools in Scotland as well as create career-lasting connections with peers and life-long relationships with friends. Overall, the School of Education in Aberdeen has done a fantastic job during a global pandemic of creating an open and welcoming introduction into teaching for prospective students."

Lisa Emmett | MSc Studies in Mindfulness

"I found the experience of doing a Masters in Mindfulness Studies at Aberdeen university very enjoyable. Coming back to studying after 20 odd years away from academia was not exactly easy, however, the setup of the course, the support of the university admin staff and the knowledge and expertise of the teaching staff made it a very pleasant experience.

While studying online, I got the much-needed chance to improve my technical skills, which was very useful. I particularly enjoyed the face-to-face study weekends at Samye Ling, and of course, the Holy Isle, where we got to meet our student cohort and our various teachers, both from Aberdeen and the Mindfulness Association. I found that the teaching staff went above and beyond my expectations in their support of me and my fellow students, and this created an inclusive and aspirational atmosphere in my course. Professor Graeme Nixon was particularly helpful in his role as dissertation supervisor, providing a patient ear and lots of invaluable guidance for my work.

I would not hesitate to encourage anyone who is considering studying in this way at the University of Aberdeen, to just go for it!  It has been a life-enhancing experience, in which I have learnt so much and made some great like-minded friends from my course along the way."

Babalola Akiode | PGDE Physics

"I am in my late 50s and originally from Nigeria. I had considered myself an unlikely candidate for the PGDE program. But with one career coming to a close during the pandemic I had the opportunity to reflect on a possible next career, one I believe I can actually enjoy. Teaching came to mind. My application to University of Aberdeen was straight forward and I was able to fit the online PGDE program around my other activities and family commitments.

I have enjoyed the two-day weekly workshops and lectures which introduced new teaching ideas and a network of fellow students and tutors that I have found quite approachable and supportive. I must say it has been a challenging program and you do get as much from it as you put in, being very much student led. School experience is an important part of the program where you get to put your learned theory into practice.

Overall, it has been a rewarding experience for me, making great strides toward my next career. But you must be prepared for the rigour - the physical and mental challenge that come with the steep learning curve involved. Staying fit, being focussed and organised is how I manage this. Accessing the STEM bursary can also help focus, offering some financial relief and allowing you more time for your studies."

Georgina Pinson | PGDE Mathematics 

My name is Georgia, I am 24 years old and currently completing a PGDE Secondary, Mathematics. 

The experience I have had at the University of Aberdeen has been invaluable for my personal development as a new teacher. Opportunities for networking are available in a variety of forms, from curriculum studies (other Mathematics students), professional studies (all PGDE Secondary students) and school experience. The diversity in the cohort is brilliant and everyone is treated equally regardless of whether they completed their undergraduate degree last year or decades ago. There is an embedded sense of community formed between programme staff and students. 

The programme staff are incredibly supportive and knowledgeable. Questions are addressed promptly and accurately, and the student body has a collective voice. Feedback is routinely given in good time and in detail for assessments. All programme staff are approachable and make a conscious effort to meet the needs of students on the course. 

This course is jam-packed with career-enhancing information, delivered in a variety of methods. A significant chunk of the learning is interactive, yet there is a reasonable amount of independent learning. This helped me to manage my time effectively and fit the course around my life. 

David Steedman | PGDE Modern Languages 

"The PGDE is certainly an intensive course, but well worth the effort. There really is a lot to learn and the volume of theory covered can seem overwhelming at times, but the theoretical input of the course gave me a good footing for the school placements. At university we were given the opportunity to engage in some micro-teaching sessions and were led through reflective practice techniques throughout the workshops, which was beneficial once I went into school.

The administrative and the lecturing team at the University of Aberdeen couldn’t have been more helpful. Colin from the Modern Languages department quickly created a welcoming learning environment among my peers and me and if ever I had any questions, they were dealt with very quickly by email.

The course entails a lot of asynchronous online learning, which made it easy for me to organise my time. I have a great rapport with my peers, we are all so supportive of each other and are all happy to share our resources with one another. This has helped everyone engage with the material and succeed in the course. I cannot fault UoA and their delivery of the PGDE programme. I would advise anyone thinking of embarking on a career in teaching to start that journey here."

Hemalatha Kesavan | PGDE Primary

"My name is Hemalatha Kesavan, I am from Chennai, India. I am a 30-year-old mum to a 19-month-old boy and have recently been employed by Aberdeen city council.

I was introduced to the programme by one of my peers and I really liked the way the course was structured, the duration, the flexibility and the offers available after the course. The pandemic proved that a lot of things are possible because I was quite worried about how the course would change due to the restrictions. But it could have not been better, staff were very friendly, kind, understanding and helpful from the beginning of my teaching journey to the end. Every individual’s circumstances were taken into consideration and maximum effort was taken to help us finish the course successfully. Flexibility is the key, and this programme is best example!

This is one of the best decisions I have ever taken. It has changed my whole career and has given me a new perspective to life! I came in as a different person and I am leaving as a better person so I would like to thank the university, staff and all my peers."

Kimberley Dickie | PGDE English 

Kimberley Dickie"Faye Hendry, David Johnston and all of the other course leaders have put in an immense amount of effort to ensure that we get as much understanding and experience as possible out of our course this year. They have provided us with a wealth of information regarding how the MyAberdeen platform works and how we can best utilise it.

The lectures have been informative, engaging and packed with relevant content that I am confident will help me through the various stages of my career. The lecturers at Aberdeen University show devotion to their subjects and their students by creating an open and welcoming online community. This is a community I am thrilled to be a part of." 

Stuart Murphy | PGDE Geography and Modern Studies 

Stuart Murphy"The PGDE course at the University of Aberdeen is an exciting course. The classes are so inspiring and give you loads of ideas and practices which you can implement in the classroom and on placement.

What attracted me to the programme was the emphasis and priority on Health and Wellbeing in schools as well as the flexibility the course offers as I am able to qualify in both Geography and Modern Studies.

The tutors and the staff at the University are really approachable and are on hand if you need guidance and support."   

Lynne Erskine | MA Primary Education 

Lynne Erskine"I’m Lynne, I’m 40, and I’m a probationer in Aberdeenshire Council, having successfully completed the undergraduate MA in Primary Education.  

I would have to admit that being a teacher wasn’t a lifelong vocation of mine, although I’ve always had a love of learning. I first became interested in the Curriculum for Excellence when it was implemented in schools, as at that time I had young children in the lower stages of primary. That interest grew as I began to volunteer at school, and I came to realise that whilst teaching is a demanding job, it’s also so rewarding, and I explored entry into the profession. With four children, I felt that the barriers would be too great to return to study. When we relocated from Fife to Aberdeen for my husband’s job, I contacted the teaching staff at Aberdeen University, and decided to enrol. 

The course was challenging both academically and logistically, but the support I received from the staff, both tutors and support services alike, meant that I was able to successfully navigate the demands of both course work and placements. I was pleased and proud to have been awarded the Kay prize for achieving the highest grade point average in my cohort. 

Not only have I now been able to embark upon a career that I once regarded as an impossibility, but I have made lifelong connections and friendships. The course has given me an excellent foundation of both theoretical knowledge and practical skill that have enabled me to enter my probationary year with the confidence to continue to grow as I gain experience in teaching." 

Dawn Parry | MEd Pastoral Care, Guidance and Pupil Support 

Dawn Parry"My name is Dawn Parry and I work as a college counsellor at an international boarding school in Thailand. 

I wanted to do something related to guidance and support that was available online and the MEd in Pastoral Care, Guidance and Pupil Support at the University of Aberdeen was perfect. The course is very specialised and this makes you stand out as an applicant for senior roles in schools. The work you undertake on the course is interesting, current and relevant. Within one year of starting it I was able to get a job in a highly competitive IB private boarding school. I was given a role in the senior management team because of the work I had already done on the MEd.

Thee support from everyone involved in the course and university was amazing and the modules were interesting and very useful. The lecturers and tutors were knowledgeable and never overwhelming. I felt supported at all stages and enjoyed writing the dissertation because, although it was difficult, I felt that I learned so much through the whole process."