A former City of Bristol College student who completed her Foundation Degree in Early Years at City of Bristol College is now a leading voice in the profession.
29-year-old Cassie Holland enrolled onto the higher education course in 2021, having been impressed by the opportunity to study alongside her job as a Deputy Manager at a local nursery, and share knowledge and experience with other early years professionals.
She said: “My fellow students had relevant jobs in the field too, and that enhanced our discussions and learning. We were able to apply what we were learning at college in our settings and feed that back to each other as well as being able to support each other whilst we worked and studied at the same time.”
Cassie’s expert tutors had big roles to play in encouraging her to be her best, both in College and in her workplace. She said: “My favourite part of the course was the tutors coming to visit me in my setting twice a year. They observed me and gave me the time to deeply reflect on my practice and role in supporting children’s care and learning. The tutors were so passionate and caring, they really understand the difference in studying whilst you are working and do everything they can to support you.”
After completing her foundation course at the College, Cassie studied an extra year at Bath Spa University to gain a full Early Years degree. She said: “Doing this third year in a traditional University setting showed me just how fantastic the opportunities were at City of Bristol College HE Department.”
Cassie is now the manager of an Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ nursery, and has put her passion for early years education to good use as the co-founder of Bristol Beach Schools. She is also a leading voice in the industry, having delivered guest Continual Professional Development at colleges and universities, written articles for Early Years magazines, featured in national newspapers and taken part in filming for the Department for Education to support practitioners with the Early Years Foundation Stage reforms.
Cassie credits the skills she learned at City of Bristol College with helping her on the way to such fantastic achievements. She said: “I would not have progressed to this stage of my career without studying the SEFD at City of Bristol College. The course has meant that I have grown so much in confidence in my studies, research and communication skills. The relationships I build during the degree will continue throughout my career and beyond!”
When asked for her advice to anyone considering her higher education course, Cassie said: “Don’t wait around, study alongside likeminded fantastic professionals and tutors. If you care for your own professional development and therefore your practice in Early Years then go for it.”
To find out more about the College’s University Centre and courses on offer, click here.