Mum who swapped Chorley for Mango Hill part way through studies lands first class honours from across the globe

Jessica Gaskell really is living the dream.

By Sonja Astbury
Friday, 31st July 2020, 2:04 pm
Jessica Gaskell and her family are living the dream after she landed a first class honours degree ... photo:  Edge Hill University
Jessica Gaskell and her family are living the dream after she landed a first class honours degree ... photo: Edge Hill University

The 33-year-old mum of two had no sooner returned to education to upskill to realise a dream of being a teacher when her husband landed a job on the other side of the world.

Fearing she would have to wave goodbye to her studies, as Jessica prepared to move to Australia staff at Edge Hill University made sure she could continue her studies - despite the massive time difference.

Now, the former dental nurse from Chorley, has passed with flying colours, picking up a first class honours degree in BSc integrated children and young people’s practice.

She said: “I’d only just started at Edge Hill when my husband was headhunted. This was a real opportunity of a lifetime and I thought I’d be unable to finish my degree but my tutors told me I could do it and that they’d make it work.

“I remember I spent New Year’s Eve standing up writing an assignment in my empty house after packing every last bit of furniture into shipping containers that day.

"In less than four months we’d made the decision to move, had found a house in Australia, a primary school for my to children and were all packed up ready to go."

The family moved from Chorley to Mango Hill, near Brisbane, just before the Covid-19 pandemic swept around the world.

Jessica said: "I’m still not sure how I managed to keep up my studies, we moved and got the kids settled in school for just five weeks before everything stopped. I had to home school my eight and four-year-old with a curriculum I didn’t know, we were waiting for all our furniture and belongings to arrive and I was having to study.

“But thanks to the support of my amazing tutor, WhatsApp at all times of the day and night with the time difference, somehow we got there.

"I was even able to change my dissertation to reflect my new home and I studied how indigenous children are disadvantaged within the education system.”

Now her dream of becoming a teacher is coming true as Jessica now has a job in her children’s school as a Support Officer in Pastoral Care and will begin her PGCE on the job.

She added: "We absolutely love it here. It’s the best decision we ever made and the fact I’ve got a first, it’s all just sinking in.

"I absolutely love Edge Hill, my tutors were there 24/7, even over weekends and gave me the pushes I needed when I needed them. It just goes to show you really can get a degree wherever you are and whatever your circumstances."