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News University experience inspires mature student to teach

A mum-of-two who quit her job to go to Staffordshire University is celebrating after graduating with a first

Cathryn Hurd quit her job to pursue a degree at Staffordshire University
Image: Cathryn Hurd quit her job to pursue a degree at Staffordshire University

The support that the university gives has been immense and the support from the lecturers is fantastic. There is a great support network for all ages not just for freshers.

Cathryn Hurd, BA (Hons) English

Cathryn Hurd, 45 from Newcastle-Under-Lyme, worked as a legal secretary with a local solicitor for more than a decade before deicing to follow her dream of going to university.

She said: “I talked about it over the years, about doing something different. Then one day decided to go on an Open Day and it rolled from there!”

Cathryn enrolled on the BA (Hons) English degree course and soon settled into university, juggling family life alongside full-time study.

“The support that the university gives has been immense and the support from the lecturers is fantastic. There is a great support network for all ages not just for freshers.

“Even the younger generation, the 18 to 21-year-olds, have been great. I’ve made such a large circle of friends, from the 18 to 21-year-olds to people older than me!”

Cathryn threw herself into her studies and flourished in confidence, becoming an enthusiastic participant in the intellectual life of the department.

Her experience on the course has inspired Cathryn to share her passion for English by becoming a teacher herself.

She said: “That’s only come from being at university. I started off saying that I don’t want to teach but the three years’ experience opens so many doors and your outlook changes on where you want to go. It’s been an amazing journey to find out what I want to do.”

After excelling on placements, Cathryn was offered a place to stay at Staffordshire University to train as an English teacher and she plans to complete a Masters (by Negotiated Study) in English before doing a PCET to teach at college level.

Dr Mark Brown, Senior Lecturer in English, said: “Cath will go on to inspire generations of North Staffs students with her love of English. If my kids came home and said their new English teacher was Miss Hurd, I'd be over-joyed.”

Cathryn also hopes that her journey will inspire others to consider coming to university as a mature student.

She said: “To be quite honest, when I started in the first week I didn’t think I’d understand a degree class!

“It’s never too late! I would say to anybody thinking about it please go and find out some facts, do your research and go for it. Definitely!”

Find out if you are eligible for an offer through Clearing by using our offer calculator, have a ‘live chat’ with Clearing experts at or call our Clearing hotline on 0800 590 830.

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