Dream to become a teacher finally comes true for Burnley mum of two

Cathie with her husband Mike and sons Jacob and Harry.
Cathie with her husband Mike and sons Jacob and Harry.
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'You have ruined your life.'

Those were the harsh words that greeted Cathie Lakeland when she told a friend she was pregnant.

And although she was only 18, Cathie took a very different view of her situation and it certainly wasn't the attitude that her life was over.

Far from it, and she clung on to her dreams of becoming a teacher.

Now, aged 46 and on the cusp of launching a whole new career as a teacher Cathie recalls the day when she found out she was expecting her eldest son Jacob who is now 28.

She said: "It certainly wasn't ideal as I was in the middle of taking my A'levels."

Cathie sat her exams and won a place to study to become a teacher at Liverpool Hope University, specialising in Human and Applied Biology and English.

After completing her degree she decided to study for a PGCE to gain her teaching qualifications but moving around the country for different attachments proved to be very difficult with a toddler in tow for Cathie.

She said: "I was studying a four year teaching qualification Bachelor of Education but had to cut it down to a straight forward degree (BA) when I couldn’t get Jacob in a school near Uni."

Cathie put her teaching ambitions on the back burner and instead applied for a job with the police.

She secured a post working in the Crime Scene Investigation unit with Greater Manchester Police, commanding a salary of £43,000

Cathie said "I loved the job and ended up doing that for 17 years. I worked on a variety of cases, from murders to car crime and everything in between.

"It was challenging but highly rewarding."

When Cathie heard about a new scheme called Transition to Teach those dreams she had put to one side resurfaced and she decided to take a leap of faith.

Transition to Teach encourages career changers to make the leap into teaching and provide a welcome boost to local schools looking to recruit the best talent in key subject areas.

The Transition to Teach (transitiontoteach.co.uk) support programme funded by the Department for Education and led by global education company, Cognition Education, is primarily designed to help professionals recognise that their skills and experience can really benefit the classroom at any stage of their career.

Cathie, who is from Hapton where she lives with her husband, Mike Hadfield and their son Harry (15) said: "It was a big decision to make to change my career after so many years and I really enjoyed my job,

"But I had always wanted to be a teacher and the opportunity was too good to miss."

And while Cathie has been pursuing her dream Mike is following his as next month he plans to run the London Marathon... 10 years after he was fitted with a new artificial heart valve due to a rare inherited condition he has.

Mike will be raising money for the charity Shelter where he works as a paralegal advisor for the Blackburn branch.

Cathie, who is on placement at Accrington's Mount Carmel Catholic High School as part of the programme, has also been attending a series of interviews to find a permanent post and recently secured a job teaching Science at All Saints’ Catholic High School that begins in September.

Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers in Burnley can join this ambitious programme by partnering with Cognition Education, as one of the key aims is to recruit top talent to raise the quality of teaching and level of education locally to outstanding levels.

For those people in Burnley unfortunately facing redundancy or looking for a change of direction, Transition to Teach also provides light at the end of the tunnel and can

open doors to new opportunities.

For many people, teaching is seen as central to greater job satisfaction and tailored to changing lifestyle circumstances.

ONS* data reveals that 37 per cent of over-35s are seeking greater work-life balance when considering a career change. In addition, those with young families feel that teaching is better suited to the demands of parenting and family priorities.

Although there is still major demand for teachers across Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the campaign highlights the need for professionals to teach across all subject areas. For example, those with a passion for music, languages, art or history now have the opportunity to incorporate their hobby or pastime into their job - by making the career-swap into teaching.

The Transition to Teach programme offers support and guidance throughout. It follows a simple four-stage process, with help given to individuals during their application and to assess their eligibility, through to initial teacher training and further support when qualified in the first year of teaching.

Mel Sproston, regional director for Cognition Education, commented: “Whether a person in Burnley is nearing the end of their career or just starting out, teaching offers so many positive career and lifestyle benefits.

"We fundamentally believe that individuals with real-world experience across a wealth of industries, sectors and job roles have so much to bring to the classroom.

"As we start the new year, what better time to ignite that passion for teaching?”

Anyone thinking of making the switch into teaching can start their journey, by simply inquiring online atwww.transitiontoteach.co.uk.