Celebrating
a centenary
of Learning

  • 48
  • by Sarah Hill
  • graduated 2010
  • studied PGCE Science
  • from UK

My proudest achievement since leaving the University of Bristol was being invited to share examples of formative assessment, which were held up as exemplary by OFSTED, with Heads of Departments.

I graduated with a degree in Zoology from the University of Nottingham in 2003. I went on to complete a Master’s degree in Biological Photography and Imaging at Nottingham in 2004. Following voluntary work with the Natural History Museum’s Learning Department in 2008, I decided to complete a PGCE course in Secondary Science (Biology), to gain a formal qualification in education with the aim of embarking on a career in Science Communication within a science centre or museum.

I was interested in a move to Bristol and was made aware of the At-Bristol Science Centre through people I met at the Natural History Museum. The PGCE course in Bristol also scored highly with OFSTED and was therefore an attractive course and institution.

I particularly enjoyed the resource/practical development sessions we attended as part of the course. I was very fortunate to be selected by the Graduate School of Education (GSoE) to be a part of the annual trip to The Gambia. This was an incredible and unique opportunity to experience teaching abroad in a completely different culture and environment.

The sessions we had on teaching and learning Physics stand out for me as being particularly significant and useful. This being the area of science I was least confident in teaching, I found this part of the course invaluable for equipping me with practical solutions, resources and confidence.

I have to thank Jocelyn Whishart for being so generous with the time and support she offered and for encouraging me to develop my creative approach to teaching and learning through multimedia. I am also grateful to Neil Ingram for his tremendous support and practical advice, and for giving me the incredible opportunity to take my teaching experience abroad to The Gambia.

Following an enjoyable placement at Newent Community School and Sixth Form College, as part of my PGCE, I stayed on to successfully complete my Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year. Within the year, I embraced the opportunities to develop department resources and to be part of a team of teachers that delivered classes to Year 7 students to develop and improve their learning skills.

In September of the following year I joined At-Bristol’s Live Science Team to work with public and school audiences, where I deliver hands-on science activities and present both studio and planetarium shows. In January this year, I also became a Formal Learning Communicator in At-Bristol, where I deliver science workshops to school groups and have the opportunity to develop and manage programming.

Having a PGCE degree definitely equipped me well for taking on both current roles in At-Bristol, particularly for my work with school workshops, where a good understanding of classroom management, pedagogy and the curriculum is essential. I am also proud to be able to work as an Assessment Associate for Pearson Edexcel, where I am responsible for marking GCSE Science papers, which would not have been possible without my PGCE degree.

My proudest achievement since leaving the University of Bristol was being invited to share examples of formative assessment, which were held up as exemplary by OFSTED, with Heads of Departments. I am very proud with what I have achieved so far within the realms of science education and look forward to more opportunities for inspiring young people in the future. I tell young people to always study what interests them the most and to follow their heart.