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Life in the fast lane: studying an accelerated degree


Faculty: Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
School: School of Education
Course: BA (Hons) Primary Education Studies (Accelerated)
Category: Education

28 November 2019

Primary Education Studies Katrina discusses how she manages her time on a two-year accelerated degree course.


Mondays are my longest days on campus, and after getting my two children to school (which is no mean feat in itself) I parked at a space just up from Chelmsford Student Village that I book on a parking app. Sometimes I use the Park and Ride but today I went for convenience.

My first session started at 10am with my personal tutor, Jo, for our two hours of 'Jo Time'. This morning it was a study session, where we could work on our assignments and ask for any support we need.

I’m working on my Primary Pedagogy poster to reflect whether changes to the curriculum are driven by political issues or educational principles, so I got some valuable tips from Jo on presentation.

study pod in university library, with desk and wall-mounted computer screen

After Jo Time it was a break for lunch, and my friends and I sat in the lobby area of the Lord Ashcroft Building listening to a student play the piano while we ate. I tried one of the new Christmas coffees from the campus Costa, and we chatted about our formative feedback.

After lunch it was time for a Key Paradigms lecture, and this week we discussed the philosophy of education.

After the lecture I went to the library for an hour, where I'd booked a study pod for myself, to look through some books for my assignment.

My final session was at 3pm for the philosophy seminar, where we had a good discussion about the hidden curriculum and social control.

By 4pm I was in my car driving home and, once the kids were in bed by about 8.30pm, I completed my pre-reading for the next day’s lectures. I also checked the University's Facebook and Student Room sites as part of my role as a Digital Student Ambassador.


Once I got the kids to school, I was at home with a cuppa, reviewing the lecture slides for that day and copying my slide notes over to OneNote ready to annotate during the sessions. My first lecture was at midday, so I had a nice relaxing start to the day.

There was lots of interesting discussion in pedagogy about the benefits and constraints of personalised learning and, with an hour break for lunch, my second lecture finished at 3pm.

I was home by 3.30pm and at Brownies for 5pm. I’m a unit leader and I love spending time with the girls. This evening we were looking at campaigning for change and how one person can change the world – very empowering!

After some prep work for the following day and answering some Girl Guides emails I was ready for bed.


I started at 10am with an hour of Jo Time: we grabbed some great advice about referencing tools and good academic practice.

We then went into our lecture on Child Development – this session is only the accelerated students, as it’s the module we’re studying at a different time to our three-year counterparts.

After an hour for lunch it was time for our seminar discussing different types of play, and there were a few surprised faces!

After a call from the ARU Employment Bureau to discuss the upcoming University Open Day, I was home by 2.30pm and in time to collect the children from school.


A visual history timeline featuring cars travelling along a road

Thursdays are my day off, so once the kids were at school I settled down to work on my assignments.

I’m currently creating a poster and worked on a history timeline. I decided to get a bit creative...

I popped to a friend’s house for lunch and a catch-up, and then back home for some prep work for the following day's seminars.


Today I was in for 10am, and ready for two back-to-back seminars. By midday I was all done and off home.

On Friday afternoons our local church group gets together for support, prayer and plenty of tea and cake. It’s the best way to end the week!

I collected my kids from school, and we had our 'Friday Dance Party' to celebrate the week. My son always chooses to dance to Crazy Frog, but it’s a great feel-good session.


Desks in a university classroom with the sign 'Primary Education Studies' on top - early years play items in background

With assignment deadlines around the corner, I spent a few hours working on my poster – fitting this in around the usual household chores and catching up on bits missed in the week.

In the evening, my daughter and I popped to a friend’s house to watch Strictly Come Dancing together, and ate far too much chocolate.


Today I worked as a Primary Education Studies course Student Ambassador at the University Open Day.

It’s great being able to do temp work and share how much you are enjoying your course. It was an enjoyable day meeting some prospective students while chatting with our course tutors.

And finally, after some Girlguiding admin and prep for the coming week, it was time for dinner with the family – and some relaxation after a busy week.

Katrina studies Primary Education Studies (accelerated) in Chelmsford. Find out more about this and other degree courses at one of our Open Days.


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