Karen is first class at looking after pupils who need extra help

Published: 14 November 2008 at 11:29

Student who earns first class degree focuses her attention on 14-16 year olds who have had a tough start to life

A Cambridgeshire student is celebrating gaining a first class degree from Anglia Ruskin University and finding her vocation as a result of her studies.

Karen Tyers, from Somersham, left school with 3 A levels but felt that it was not the right time for her to go to university as she was undecided about the direction I wanted to take in life. 

In the years that followed she worked in various administrative roles and it was while she was working for the NHS her path crossed with one of the Directors. 

Like Karen, she had been a single mother with a young son and had returned to university to study. Looking back at the time, Karen explains:

"This sparked a realisation in me that it would be possible for me to do the same, and within a month I had sent my application to Anglia Ruskin University to study for a degree course in Criminology and Sociology."

Karen was accepted for a place and during the three year course she studied hard, determined to make the most of the opportunity of furthering her career.

While she studied, she worked as a volunteer for the Huntingdon Probation Service, providing support for a literacy class. She continued:

"This opened my eyes to the experiences some young people have of the justice and education system together with economic deprivation."

Now, having graduated, she is working in a Pupil Referral Unit, in March, called Fenland Junction which provides education for 14 – 16 year olds who, for varied reasons, have had difficulties at mainstream school. 

The opportunity of working with these students, providing them with inclusive education and emotional support, with the ultimate aim of improving their life chances, is immensely fulfilling."

"It was the degree that ignited this passion and I am now, for the first time in my working life, in a job which I know is right for me."

As far as the future is concerned, Karen is keen to continue her education.  She is now considering studying psychotherapy to further enhance her knowledge.

Her degree study was made possible with the help of government funding, without which, she concedes, that she would not have applied to undertake the degree. 

She had other financial help, from family including that provided by her ‘Granddaddy’ who, with his late wife, set up an education fund for his grandchildren. And she acknowledges the ‘invaluable’ help of others who have been there for her while she studied, namely her son Rufus, boyfriend Reuan, and her parents.