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Course ends on high note


A mother with a love of music and who was inspired to become a teacher after helping at her son’s school is set to achieve her aim after completing an Open University degree.

Mrs Debra Bradley (32) of Griceson Close, Ollerton, hopes to be a fully-qualified teacher by the summer.

She intended to go to university after taking A-levels at Dukeries College but deferred her entry for a year after the death of her mother.

During that year she got a job in a law firm and trained in European law — but never achieved her university ambition.

But when she was made redundant after her firm moved to London and she did not want to relocate, she was given the opportunity to return to her studies.

Having always had a music background, she started her BA (honours) humanities music degree with the Open University in 2003 after realising she had a flair for teaching from helping at Maun Infants’ School, Ollerton, where her son, Kurt (8) was a pupil.

Mrs Bradley said: “I knew it was going to be hard, I had got a family. The only way to get a degree was to study in the day and work at night.”

She combined her studies with a job as a night time camera and security operator at Tesco in Ollerton.

Mrs Bradley is halfway through a postgraduate degree in teaching at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln.

She is due to complete the course in June to become a secondary school music teacher.

Two other women in the area have also gained degrees through the Open University this year.

Mrs Nicola Howe (35) of Larch Road, Ollerton, started a literature BA (honours) degree six years ago after being encouraged by her husband, Mr Stephen Howe, and her friends.

Before starting the degree course she was a housewife and worked in administration.

She was looking after her three children, Matthew (20) Ryan (14) and Trulie (10) throughout her degree and relied on family and friends for support.

Mrs Howe has nearly completed her postgraduate Certificate of Education course and intends to work as a primary school teacher.

She dedicated her success to her mother-in-law, the late Mrs Eileen Howe of Ollerton, to whom she had made a promise to graduate.

Mrs Howe said: “This is something I had always thought of doing but I did not think I was clever enough. I can’t wait until I have qualified.”

Mrs Audrey Vann (64) of Eakring Road, Wellow, also gained a BA (honours) degree in literature after six years of studying.

Mrs Vann took A-levels at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Mansfield, in 1960 and had intended to go to university but her family could not afford to send her.

She started work as a civil servant and, after her retirement in 1994, decided to fulfil her ambition.

She said: “I was just catching up on a life time’s ambition. It’s a bit of self indulgence. The fact that I won’t be using it for employment doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference.”

She may even return to education next year but is undecided about what to study.

Mrs Vann said: “I would very much like to do more — it is very addictive. You can take a completely different direction in life.”

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