"I am an occupational therapist by training and have worked mostly with children and young people with special educational needs. Although I maintain my OT registration, I now work in education having studied my Masters in SEN, PGCE (PCET) and Diploma in SpLD (which allows me to teach children with Dyslexia) at the University of Wales Newport, now USW.
"My PhD by Portfolio allowed me to bring all my previous projects together as a cohesive whole. It helped me to make sense of my professional practice and inform and influence the way I work, both as an OT and as an educator. As a senior lecturer, undertaking a PhD has strengthened my role in teaching and supporting postgraduate students. Evidence-based research underpins both areas of my work, and this experience has heightened my interest in move active research as part of my role.
"The PhD journey was full of ups and downs. Finding the time to balance the work with my job was often challenging, and it was important to ensure I made time for my family and myself. We all work differently, but I found that I needed to plan in blocks of study time and have a dedicated work-space so my resources were close to hand.
"While I very much enjoyed the reading and developing my knowledge and understanding around my topic, there were times when I went around in circles! My supervisors were very helpful in guiding me through this quagmire of thinking!
"I am naturally pleased to have achieved my PhD. Most of my study has been completed since turning thirty. I didn’t achieve academically at school, but as an adult learner, where I have been able to explore things which were of interest and motivated me. Learning was therefore enjoyable and rewarding rather than a chore! I think I have been able to show that it’s never too late to learn and in doing so have a wonderful career in the process."