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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Teaching science after graduation

Biochemistry student Ella Mengham knows what she's doing after graduation. The third year has signed up to study for a postgraduate teaching qualification and will then become a science teacher.

"I've always kept in touch with teachers at my old school and went back there to get experience of working in a classroom. I was helping to teach aerobic and anaerobic respiration in a practical lesson and really enjoyed the experience," she says. "Science is moving so quickly, I was surprised to see elements of some of the work we cover at university is already making its way into the GCSE syllabus."

During the summer break after her first year at Southampton, Ella taught children about health, hygiene and nutrition in a remote village in Madagascar with the charity SKIP. "This was the best thing I've done in my life so far and confirmed to me that I ought to become a teacher," she says.

Ella is the first in her family to go to university and the first to go into teaching. Before starting her training in September, she will brush up her knowledge of Chemistry through an intensive subject knowledge enhancement course offered by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA). Her PGCE at the University of Sussex will start with two weeks study of the theory of education and continue with two placements at different secondaries.

For Ella, part of the appeal of teaching is the chance to combine her enthusiasm for science with her passion for dance. She took A levels in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Dance at Havant College and won an award for helping to organise the college's entry in the regional Rock Challenge competition. Ella also plans to keep up her links with her old school, Purbrook Park in Waterlooville.

Working with Madagascan children inspired Ella to pursue a career in teaching
Ella in Madagascar
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