Case study

Masters graduate — Mica Coleman-Jones

Mica studied BA (Hons) Science KS2/3 Education with QTS at Edge Hill University before returning to complete a postgraduate teacher training education certificate. She's now the managing director of The Happy Lighthouse Training and Consultancy Company

Why did you choose to study at Edge Hill University?

The opportunity to study at Edge Hill was transformational. When I first started my teaching degree in 2009, I had little self-belief and found myself often questioning whether I belonged at university. I wanted to study a Masters at Edge Hill because I felt like the university was with me at each stage of my career progression. I wanted to continue my journey with the same institution when I was ready for the next step up.

Why did you decide to pursue a postgraduate course? 

I was keen to find a course which would enhance my professional learning and leadership skills. I wanted to do something  different when I started my first role in senior leadership at a large specialist school as head of autism research and development. I contacted Edge Hill University to see what would be of interest to me and was helpfully guided towards a MA Education course. The modules were of huge interest to me and so I immediately signed up.

Tell us a bit about the course and what it involves?

My favourite thing about the course was the alignment with my own interests. I liked that I was able to weave my own experiences and thinking into each module, which gave me opportunities to develop thinking in the areas I felt most passionate about.

Working as an independent consultant and public speaker, I enjoy critical thinking and debate, which was embedded into the course. Academic writing has historically been a weaker point for me but since starting my Masters I am much better at it. Using the feedback provided and the resources available to me, I gained my first ever distinction. Receiving this grade still feels like a pivotal moment in my life, because it made me realise what I was capable of.

Completing this course has not only improved my critical writing and ability to lead positive change in my own places of work, but it has  given me opportunities to reframe the problems I have identified in education as opportunities to find improved solutions. One of the most memorable moments of my degree was finding out that I had been nominated for a Festival of Learning Award for my commitment to learning. I was even more shocked to be informed that I had been awarded the Patron’s Award presented by HRH Princess Anne.

What support did you receive as part of the course?

The expertise of the teaching staff on my course was inspirational and I also benefitted from the wellbeing support on offer. I'd recommend all students to find out what additional support is available. After starting my course at Edge Hill my stepfather sadly passed away. The university quickly ensured that I had support in place, which included counselling.

During my MA course, I benefitted from one-to-one  meetings with my tutor who helped me to share my progress and identify actions. I found it helpful as I would leave each meeting feeling reenergised and clear about what I needed to do next.

What are your career ambitions? 

I have recently established an educational trust in memory of my sister who sadly passed away following treatment for leukemia in 2019.

Lilya was autistic and an advocate for other neurodivergent people. We hope to create a neurodiverse-inclusive school and workplace, working in collaboration with children and their families.

As part of our trust philosophy, we aim to become evidence informed by creating environments that are underpinned by a commitment to academic research and learning as a core component of the way we do things. We want to then share this learning with the wider world.

What advice can you give to those choosing a Masters degree? 

My advice would be to choose a course that is aligned with your personal interests. It makes it easier to engage in critical thinking and writing when you are motivated by the topics that you are studying.

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