Ursula Carver

Year Leader, Senior Mental Health Lead and DSL

From TA to Teacher

I started working in a preschool while completing an NPQ level 3 in working with children. Before completing the course, I was accepted for a job at Charles Dickens in September 2002. I started out as a teaching assistant and, over the years, my passion and dedication opened the door for more responsibilities.

As a child, I struggled academically but excelled in music, sports and arts. I was not given any support and left primary school not reading or writing properly. I decided then that I would support children in school, so they would not have the same experience as I’d had. Throughout secondary school, still not receiving any support, I taught myself to read and write. This continued into adulthood.

I am currently the Year 1 lead. I am also a Senior Mental Health Lead and a Deputy Safeguarding Lead. My journey to this role started because of a thoughtful Assistant Head, Zoe Sumner. After 10 years as an HLTA, an opportunity arose to complete a Teaching Degree. Zoe encouraged me to apply for the degree, and, thanks to her, I faced my fears of being taught once more. It was then that I was diagnosed as having dyslexia which explained my struggles as a child. Although it was a challenge, I was determined to be successful. I completed the degree while still working full-time as an HLTA.

The part of my job I enjoy most is witnessing the journey the children make throughout the year.

For anyone wishing to start a career in education, my advice would be to ensure that working to improve the lives of children is the reason for the change.

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