How the lecturers support helped me through university

Joe Coyle, BA (Hons) PE in the Primary Years graduate

I’ve always wanted to work with children which the BA (Hons) PE in Primary Years course really suited me, my brother is also a primary teacher and I look at him as a role model.

I really enjoyed how practical the course was and the placements I took to confirm that primary teaching was for me. After graduating in 2020 (with a mini-ceremony thrown by my mum in our garden!) I became a Teaching Assistant in a local primary school and ended up leading the majority of their PE lessons due to my degree.

I’ve since accepted a place on a Schools Direct to become a Primary teacher in September which I’m really excited about and will open so many doors for me! I’d love to specialise in Primary PE and take the experience I’ve learnt in the past year and from my degree into my next school.


“Without Melissa Mantle and Ed Christian, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to make it through my degree. I’m really grateful for all of their support.”

Joe throwing his mortarboard at graduation

When I originally applied to university at 18, I was at a different university studying Sports Development. The university itself felt very big, the lecturers didn’t really know their students and the course was heavily theory-driven. I quickly knew it wasn’t for me or what I wanted to do.

I also found it difficult living away from home as my dad had just been moved into a care home so it was important for me to stay local whatever I decided to do next.

I decided to apply to university the following year and my mum swayed me towards Chichester, she had recommendations through family friends that it was a good university and it was on my doorstep which was a bonus!

Joe with a family member at graduation

My dad was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s when I was 12 years old. Over the three years I was at university there were a few times where I felt it get too much and that I couldn’t complete the degree but my lecturers really helped me through and gave me the support I needed to complete the degree.

Without Melissa Mantle and Ed Christian, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to make it through my degree. I’m really grateful for their support. If I had stayed at the other university, I don’t think I would have received as much support as I did here.

Joe with family at graduation

Since September 2020 we were unfortunately informed his condition was end of life, we want to remember the good times so we organised a 500-mile cycle from Glasgow to Littlehampton in my dad’s honour to raise money for Alzheimer’s.

The cycle route is the same route my dad hitch-hiked when he was my age, he had no idea what he was doing! His mum lived in Littlehampton so he hitch-hiked from Glasgow, where he was living, to Littlehampton, where he met my mum and never looked back.

The ride is from 9 August – 16 August… so hopefully I’ll make it back for my graduation ceremony on the 19 August!

Joe at 500-mile cycle from Glasgow to Littlehampton


Since this article – Joe has completed his 500-mile cycle for Alzheimer’s raising over £5,000!

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