TWO young graduates have been put on the path to becoming teachers thanks to an education bursary from the Wiltshire Community Foundation.

Cassidy Hill saved for two years throughout her sixth form at Matravers School in Westbury, where she grew up, to take up a BEd degree in teaching at Winchester University.

But her single mother, who has two other children, couldn’t afford to help with the extra expenses needed on top of what was covered by the student loan.

The 21-year-old was awarded £1,500 for each year of the three-year course.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Cassidy Hill from WestburyCassidy Hill from Westbury

“The grant was an absolutely massive help because my mum just couldn’t afford to give me anything towards university,” she said.

“I had worked for two years while I was in the sixth form but it still wasn’t enough to cover my housing and food as well.

“Having the grant meant that I could travel home to see my family and it sounds so silly but being able to afford food and not worry about it was really important for my mental health.”

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She still worked while studying, teaching dance at a stage school at weekends, but the bursary meant she didn’t have to take on more jobs.

“It was a big relief not having to worry so much about money. I think I would have still gone to university without the bursary but it would have been really difficult and I would have had to work longer while I was there so it made a massive difference,” she said.

“I had placements at Sparsholt in Winchester, Tidworth and Shipton Bellinger. I had to travel an hour to get to my third placement so the grant helped with that too,” she said.

After graduating she started her first job teaching the reception class at Shrewton Primary School near Salisbury.

“I’ve always wanted to do something with kids and every time I go into school I think ‘yes, this is my place’,” she said.

“It has been a really different year. In the first lockdown I was still a student so I was learning online and now all of a sudden I was teaching online. It was really tough but I got on with it okay. I pre-recorded some lessons but I had to do some live, which was a challenge with four and five-year-olds.”

She has six observations of her work before she qualifies as a teacher. “What a year to do my NQT, its has been challenging but if I can get through this year, I can get through anything,” she said.

“The bursary has been brilliant and I wouldn’t have enjoyed university nearly as much, or done as well, without it.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Joyce Seabrook from PewseyJoyce Seabrook from Pewsey

Joyce Seabrook’s love of teaching was borne out of a placement in China teaching English while studying for a degree at Queen Mary’s College in London.

“I wasn’t sure about teaching before but it really gave me the confidence that I could do the job. I came back much more positive about it.”

She is from a single parent family in Pewsey and needed extra help to study in London.

“The grant made a big difference because it meant I could enjoy the experience. It was a buffer when I was between jobs and it gave me peace of mind to know it was there,” she said.

After graduating with a history degree, the 23-year-old has begun teaching in Newham, East London.

“It is a very challenging area but I love it,” she said.

“The lockdowns have made it difficult but it is a good learning experience.

“I am so grateful to Wiltshire Community Foundation for the bursary because it gave me opportunities I would never have had otherwise.”

Wiltshire Community Foundation has awarded more than £1.6 million in education bursaries since their launch in 2008. In 2020 it awarded £305,000 in bursaries and vocational and education support grants to 125 beneficiaries.

This year’s funding round, with grants of up to £1,600 a year, is now open for applications. To find out more and apply go to