Peterborough mum-of-three goes back to her old school - as a teacher
Zoe Chamberlain is nearing the end of her teacher training journey so she can teach at the same Peterborough school she went to as a child.
Mother-of-three Zoe never dreamed of becoming of a teacher when she left school at the age of 16. It wasn’t until her eldest daughter joined Sawtry Junior School that she was asked to help out in the classroom after staff noticed she had a real affinity with the children.
This was in 2014, and Zoe has taken huge strides ever since to train to become a fully qualified teacher at the school, which was renamed Sawtry Junior Academy when it joined Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) in 2016.
Prior to this, the 35-year-old was working at the Boots store in Hampton. The switch from selling meal deals to learning maths arrived at a time when she had a young family to look after. Becoming a teaching assistant allowed her more time with her family while developing her interest in a teaching career.
The first step for Zoe was to get her A level qualifications, which she completed before enrolling on the Primary Education teaching degree at Anglian Ruskin University which she completes this summer.
From September, Zoe will be a teaching apprentice at the school and the following year will be a fully qualified teacher with her own classroom.
Zoe, who lives in Sawtry, said: “I never thought I’d be able to do it having left school with just GCSEs.
“I’ve proved it’s possible and it’s all thanks to the support of the school and my family.
“It’s fair to say the school has changed quite a lot since I was here. It is a really great school and this was proven by how they calmly met the challenges of Covid-19.
“The friendships I have built at Sawtry Junior Academy while I’ve been here as a teaching assistant are really important – they are friends not just work colleagues.
“My journey to become a teacher has even given my eldest daughter the confidence to do her A levels and she hopes to go to off to university.”
Being a mum of three alongside building a career has been challenging and Zoe credits the school and the trust – particularly the guidance of school principal Sarah Flack and CMAT’s Trust education project director Julie Chong
Sarah Flack, principal at Sawtry Junior Academy, said: “It has been a pleasure to watch Zoe’s career flourish. We are proud of how far she has come.
“We strive to encourage our pupils to pursue their dreams, no matter what stage in life they accomplish this. Zoe is a talented, popular member of the team and we wish her all the best in her teaching career here at the school.”