Twenty-two-year-old Ben Ferguson will soon be one of Queen Margaret University’s first primary teachers to graduate from our dedicated primary education undergraduate degree. Ben took an interesting journey to QMU. Completing an HNC in Social Science at Newbattle Abbey College – a course run in association with QMU – helped give him the qualifications he needed to join the Education Studies (Primary) course. With the opportunity to learn a host of useful practical skills like British Sign Language and go on extensive placements at local primary schools, Ben feels the BA (Hons) Education Studies (Primary) course has given him the best start possible to his career as a teacher.
We caught up with Ben, who told us more about why he chose to come to QMU, the highlights of his time here and his hopes for the future.
What were you doing before you came to QMU?
Before I came to QMU I completed a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Social Science at Newbattle Abbey College and worked in a primary school as a pupil support assistant.
Why did you choose QMU?
I chose QMU because I love the modern feel of the campus. It is a very forward-thinking, inclusive and fun environment with great facilities and staff. I had some friends who had attended QMU and loved it, so I wanted to give it a go for myself.
Why did you choose this course?
"I chose the BA (Hons) Education Studies (Primary) because I have always wanted to be a teacher. I thought it would be an exciting opportunity to be a part of the first generation of teachers to graduate from QMU. It’s great that we gain 30 weeks of experience teaching in a variety of schools before becoming qualified primary teachers ourselves."
What have you enjoyed most about education studies (Primary)?
I have really enjoyed the practical elements of the course. For example, learning British Sign Language (BSL), completing the Forest Outdoor Learning Award (FOLA) and, of course, getting to go out on placement and teach in primary schools.
What have been your highlights at QMU?
The highlights really have been the people. I have made friends for life from all over the world at QMU. I think friendship is a key factor to your success at university and having a close support network is really important in allowing you to achieve academically.
Did you access any of the support services?
I have visited the Effective Learning Service which was great in supporting me and helping to ensure my work was as good as possible. The team can provide 1-2-1 support and is great at helping you learn how to write in an academic style. It is a great service!
Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities or clubs?
I am part of the music society which is great fun! Joining societies is a fantastic way to meet new friends and try new things, I definitely recommend it!
Did you find enough support from your lecturers over your studies?
We are really lucky to have such a broad range of expertise across our lecturing team. They are very supportive and are always solution-focused and want the best for you.
As the first cohort of primary teachers from QMU, we got to know our lecturers really well, which is something I don't think happens at some of the bigger universities.
What advice would you give to someone coming to this course?
Make sure you have had a chance to get into a school classroom prior to coming to QMU and make the most of all the opportunities that are offered to you here.
What are your plans following graduation?
I am planning on travelling around Greece for the summer before coming back and teaching my first class during my probation year!