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Alumni Profile

Danielle Dakers

Danielle Dakers

BA English Education with QTS 2008

A passion for English and a desire to teach meant Danielle Dakers had a clear career path from a very early age – and by choosing to study at the University of Sunderland she discovered the best of both worlds on her journey to success. 

Already aware of Sunderland’s outstanding reputation for teacher training, Danielle paid a visit to the university campus during an Open Day where her mind was firmly made up and she chose to study an English Education with QTS degree. 

“Being able to become a fully qualified English teacher within three years suited me perfectly. 

“The course modules were a perfect mix of English, drama, literature and language components. There was so much information we were given access to and in my second year I got to choose lectures that would benefit me in a school setting, I opted for subjects from Children’s Literature to Chaucer. 

“The course truly fuelled my passion for English and made me realise that it was in secondary education where I felt I could make the biggest impact on young people. 

“The tutors were behind us every step of the way, motivating and inspiring, especially in our final year. We were offered support around the clock, even during our teaching practice. But this wasn’t just about the work we did in the classroom, our tutors also focused on our continued professional development, helping to prepare us for employment. 

“This encouragement was reinforced when all of the students on my course had secured jobs before they’d even graduated. 

“I wanted to make sure the university got the best out of me and I got the best out of the course.” 

In her final year, as part of her QTS, Danielle took part in two teaching practice placements, the first at Hartlepool College of FE in their A-Level department. She then spent five months at Dene Community School in Peterlee. This placement led to her being offered a full-time job as an English teacher. 

Within four years she has progressed rapidly through the ranks to become Head of English and has been instrumental alongside her teaching team in achieving some of the school’s best ever GCSE results with the pupils making huge progress. 

“I think the placements were a great part of my motivation and an excellent grounding towards becoming a teacher. I worked with a range of students, from all backgrounds, to those who were underachieving to those attaining A*. 

“Achieving 75 per cent at A*-C this year has been one of my proudest moments so far and 41 per cent of our pupils are exceeding their progress. I have no doubt it’s down to the team in the department around me who all started their training to becoming a teacher at Sunderland. The school, the staff, the pupils and their parents are all amazing, and I absolutely love this job, the best part is standing in front of a classroom full of young people, teaching them about the subject I’m most passionate about. 

“Thanks to Sunderland I’m fulfilling my career ambitions and would encourage any student to do the same. 

“This is a vocation and you have to be committed from the start, dedicate yourself to your studies and Sunderland will support you every step of the way.”

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