FYI – Foundation Year Investigates

What is your name and what are you studying?

My name is Michelle Hammersley and I am studying BA Primary Education (3-7) with recommendation for QTS (with Fnd Yr)

Why did you choose your course?

I chose this course as it comes with recommendation for QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) and my goal is to become a primary school teacher so it was the perfect choice for me. I chose the 3-7 age range because it is a critical stage in forging attitudes towards learning. It is often the first experience of learning that children have and I believe it is here I can have the most impact. Supporting children to develop a life-long positive attitude towards learning is something I feel very passionate about.

What’s been the highlight of your studies so far?

The highlight of my studies so far has been exploring gender, race and class. The sessions allowed us to discuss these identities, what they mean to us and how others experience them. Debating these important topics has allowed me to have a better understanding of how they affect us all daily. We were asked to think about how they linked with our chosen degree subject. In my final essay, I explored how class shapes identity through educational experiences and discovered that class impacts the quality and richness of children’s educational experiences. I will take what I learned with me through my studies and future career, being mindful of the barriers and opportunities of class that may affect a child’s education. Another highlight has been the Foundation Year tutors. They have all been incredibly friendly, approachable and would always encourage us to ask questions. It’s a good habit to get into and one that might benefit fellow students.  

What do you think is unique to the Newman experience?

The small class sizes at Newman have meant I’ve been able to get to know my tutors and fellow students better than I think I would have been able to if they were larger.  As soon as I arrived on campus, I got a sense that it was a community. During my time on the Foundation Year, I have spoken with a variety of staff from across the support team, which was really helpful.

Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself at the start of your foundation year?

If I could go back, I would firstly tell myself not to worry. I was incredibly nervous at the start of the Foundation Year, but soon found out that a lot of people felt the same. There was a freedom in letting the nerves go. I eventually embraced the new experiences and knowledge I was gaining. I would tell myself to believe my tutor when they say that the next academic year will fly by. Going from week to week, I often allowed myself to believe that there was plenty of time to get things done, but deadlines soon creep up on you. Read as much as you can that is relevant to course material and make good notes along the way. It is a skill that I am still developing now and one I wish I had tried harder to improve earlier. One final thing I would say is to welcome all the feedback that is received. It is all helpful and should not be seen as something to fear.

Where do you want to go next?

I have had time to reflect on my foundation year and understand what I valued from the experience. Now that I am entering the first year of my degree, I would like to be considered for the role of student course representative again and contribute to the FYI magazine as much as I can. I am also a student mentor for the foundation year.  Having had such a positive experience of the foundation year, I wanted to be a familiar face for new students to reach out to with any questions they may have and support them in getting the best out of their time at Newman. My long-term ambition is to become a Primary school teacher. The placements I will attend throughout my course will provide the building blocks I need to succeed. I will continue to take myself out of my comfort zone and embrace new opportunities that come my way.

For more information about our Foundation Year at Newman University, and the many pathways available please visit