Case study

PGCE Primary (Early Years) graduate — Celia Burnham

Celia Burnham studied PGCE Primary (Early Years) at Plymouth University, and is now a teacher at St Cleer Primary School in Cornwall

What have you done since graduation?

In the first three years of my career, I taught a mixed reception and year one class. I gradually gained more experience and started to take on other roles, such as information communication technology (ICT) subject leader.

For the past two years, I've taught a mixed year one and year two class.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The best thing that I've done so far was participating in a four-day exchange with a school in Germany. Our children's reactions to schooling in a different country were extremely thought-provoking.

Another highlight was working on a whole-school production and performing it at Sterts Theatre in Upton Cross. Seeing how it brought the community together and stirred the children's imagination was a fantastic experience.

What are the challenges of your job?

It's sometimes difficult to balance teaching with an enjoyable home life. You have to learn to switch off and give yourself time to relax.

The most difficult thing that I've faced has been juggling two curriculums - early years foundation stage (EYFS) and the national curriculum - in a mixed-age class.

What advice would you give to those considering the programme?

A PGCE from Plymouth University has enabled me to do what I've always wanted. The institution has a very supportive learning environment, and gives you a thorough grounding in all of the skills that you'll need to teach.