John Toye - City of Wolverhampton College

John Toye – access to higher education

25 Jan 2023
Access to HE student John Toye wearing a whit3ee t0shirt, grey jacket and a University of Wolverhampton lanyard
Access to HE student John Toye wearing a whit3ee t0shirt, grey jacket and a University of Wolverhampton lanyard

“Studying at City of Wolverhampton College has given me a sense of pride and confidence that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to,” said 40-year-old John Toye who has proved that age is never a barrier to learning or achieving your career goals. 

John, who left school with poor exam results, returned to college as a mature student to improve his grades and gain the qualifications he needed to train to become a teacher – and he’s now in his second year of a B.Ed. degree at the University of Wolverhampton. 

John added: “I left school in 1998 and going back to learning as a mature student was very intimidating, but I was able to go to the careers guidance team and find out precisely what qualifications I needed for teacher training. 

“In my first year I enrolled for GCSE English, maths functional skills and the Level 2 diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools to enable me to get acclimatised to working in a school and gain experience in a classroom setting. 

“I passed all of my exams at the end of the first year, but still needed GCSE maths and GCSE science, so I enrolled for these in my second year, as well as doing the Level 3 diploma in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools at the same time, and I was also able to use my Level 2 qualification to gain work as a supply teaching assistant through an agency, which I have been doing ever since. 

“My third – and sadly last – year at the college was the benchmark of what I had hoped to achieve – I was able to sign up for the Access to Higher Education (education pathway) diploma to give me the academic skills and essential theory needed to apply to university.  

“I passed the course with mostly distinctions and applied to several universities, but ultimately I knew I wanted to go to the University of Wolverhampton and I’m now in my second year of my degree with an eight-week block teaching placement due to start in February. 

“City of Wolverhampton College made all this possible – my tutors provided a wealth of information, made the subjects as clear as possible and always took the time to explain anything I was unsure of and give additional support where necessary. 

“My time here was incredible!  I wouldn’t be where I am now without the college – it was pivotal every step of the way and I will never forget those who helped and played a part in me getting here.”