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Ramatu follows her teaching ambition

Ramatu Mustapha is an OU in Wales PGCE student from Cardiff. She is a mum-of-three leading a busy schedule but is now training to become a maths teacher thanks to the OU's new flexible training route.

Ramatu studied at university in Nigeria. Five years later, after moving to Cardiff, she began volunteering at a homework club and became a teaching assistant shortly afterwards.

Teaching has always been a passion for Ramatu, but she never thought she’d have the time to study to become a full time teacher because of her busy schedule. The OU in Wales’ new Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course has allowed her to follow her ambition. She continues to receive a salary from working while studying part-time for her qualification.

‘Originally, I come from Nigeria where I completed a degree in geology,’ explains Ramatu. ‘I have always had an interest in teaching, and when I moved to Wales in 2005, it was a completely new environment.

‘My friend told me about the OU. They were insistent that it would be the best route for me as I have a family and need my studies to be flexible. The application process was straightforward. On the day I received a call to tell me I had a place, I cried with tears of happiness.’


Ramatu has always wanted to teach. Moving to Wales exposed her to a new culture, and becoming a mother changed her whole perspective.

‘Everybody tells me how warm I am with the kids and how receptive they are to me,’ she says. ‘I also have a passion for maths, so teaching that subject seemed like the perfect fit.’

‘One of my inspirations has been my fantastic colleagues. We support and help each other in any way we can. I’m also inspired by my family who’ve been such a great support. My husband encouraged me to do the PGCE and my kids are so understanding when I need to study. They’ve helped me get through challenges and remind me to keep going every day.’

The next generation

Like many future teachers, Ramatu is passionate about the difference she can make to pupils’ future, believing that teaching can help her give something back.

‘Teaching is everything,’ says Ramatu ‘You have to be a good listener, a good communicator, you have to be a role model to them. I’ve learnt that being a teacher is not just about teaching at the front of a classroom: It’s a lot more than that.

Although the population of Cardiff is becoming more ethnically diverse, there are not enough teachers from ethnic minorities. I want to help represent the ethnic minority community within the education sector.

Ramatu Mustapha, PGCE student

The OU in Wales PGCE course

Like other OU courses, the OU in Wales PGCE course is studied online, and much of the learning can be done at a time that suits each student  . It takes two years, allowing learners to focus on other commitments such as work and family.

The PGCE leads to qualified teacher status (QTS) at either primary or secondary level and can be studied in either English or Welsh.

There are two routes into the PGCE route: a salaried route for people like Ramatu who already work in a school or have a school willing to sponsor them, or a part-time route where learners get on-site teacher experience in one of the OU in Wales’ partner schools.

On both routes, students are able to put theory into practice, supported by their specialist curriculum tutor and a personal in-school mentor.

‘Our mentors are brilliant’ says Ramatu. ‘We have regular meetings to talk about how we can improve our teaching practice going forward. I feel part of a strong support system, which is great.’

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