Annemarie Timmins may have left school with no GCSEs, but now she's well on the way to fulfilling her dream of being a primary school teacher.
The 27-year-old credits her children with motivating her to do more and De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) with providing a welcoming learning environment that has helped her to flourish.
Picture: Northams Photography Studios
After graduating with a 2:1 in Education Studies this summer, Annemarie has started her teacher training. And she has a message for everyone in her class - "education is for all".
Annemarie said: "DMU has helped me so much and I would love others to come to DMU and feel part of the community and be able to achieve just as I did, no matter what their circumstances or background."
Born and brought up on a council estate in Leicester, Annemarie didn't consider school a priority. "Although I took my GCSEs, not attending very often impacted on my grades," she said.
"I managed to get onto a BTEC Level 2 in Media and then moved onto Level 3. I never thought I could go to university, I didn't think I was 'what a student should be'.
"So I didn't see getting pregnant at 19 as a hindrance to my education. I had been to college and would raise my daughter and then get a job like everyone else that I knew. And that's what I did."
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Annemarie started volunteering at a local primary school and soon landed a job as a teaching assistant, having found a passion for working with children.
"I can now say as a mum of two it is because of them that I found my ambition in life and they gave me the motivation to do more," she said.
Annemarie realised she wanted to be at the front of the class and that's when she applied to DMU.
"After coming to an Open Day and meeting students and lecturers, I thought I may be able to do this."
The course lived up to expectations. "All the modules were great and the staff were amazing, particularly Talitha Bird. If I had any issues they were quickly resolved and they were so accommodating in regards to my childcare needs," said Annemarie, the first member of her family to go to university.
"My family and friends were also really supportive. I think it's important to have that, especially at low points such as approaching deadlines, and I wouldn't be where I am today without my partner's continuous support."
Her university highlights include the friends she made. "I know I will be friends with them forever," said Annemarie. "University also gave me a whole new outlook on life. I was a student rep and a course ambassador.
"But I must say graduation was one of the greatest days of my life."
Annemarie is now in the third month of her School Centred Initial Teacher Training course with Inspiring Leaders, which will give her PGCE status, having resat the required GCSEs at DMU.
She hopes to inspire the children she teaches, along with anyone who thinks they are not a "typical student".
"I can show children that it doesn't matter where you come from. If you want to succeed in life, go for it," Annemarie added.
Posted on Monday 12th November 2018