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Alumni profile

Rachel Bradley

PME in Primary Education



St. Garvans National School, Caroreigh, Co. Wexford


Business Studies Degree, Waterford Institute of Technology

ACA Chartered Accountant, Chartered Accountants Ireland


  • Research Award

  1. Why did you choose teaching & why  Hibernia College?

Teaching and working with children was something I was interested in from an early age. I had also inherited a keen interest in business from my father. So when faced with choosing a career path, I opted to complete a Business Studies degree as I felt it gave me more options for the future. Throughout my career as an accountant following this, I had many experiences of teaching others, both in a classroom and work environment, and I always got a huge sense of satisfaction when I succeeded in teaching someone something new or assisting them to figure something out themselves. Primary school teaching was always at the back of my mind and in 2017, I finally bit the bullet and applied to Hibernia College. I chose Hibernia College as it offered me the flexibility I needed to complete the course while living at home with my young family.


  1. What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME?

I initially completed a 4-year Business Studies degree at Waterford Institute of Technology and then went on to qualify and work as a chartered accountant for 13 years in Dublin and Kilkenny.


  1. Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area?

My research project sought to investigate infant teacher perspectives on the transition between preschool and primary school, and what role, if any, Aistear plays in this transition. I began my research by exploring the factors which may influence a child’s transition to primary school. I then sought the opinions of infant teachers on ways in which they felt the Aistear framework positively contributes to the transition and also any challenges they experienced with implementing Aistear in their classrooms.

I chose to focus on this area for a number of reasons. The topic of transition to primary school was relevant to me at the time as my first child was about to start school. I also had a keen interest in Aistear and the concept of children learning through play. I felt that Aistear was an emerging area and I wanted to educate myself on the benefits and challenges of the framework. I was keen to bring aspects of Aistear and learning through play into my practice as a teacher in the future.


  1. Now that you have graduated, what are your plans?

I am currently working as a Special Education Teacher in a rural school in Co. Wexford and look forward to learning more about the ways in which special educational needs can be met in schools.


  1. What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME.

I would advise anyone about to embark on the PME to take it one day at a time. The workload and deadlines can be quite overwhelming at times so it’s important to take each assignment as it comes. Take help and advice from as many sources (family, friends, colleagues) as you can. It is a challenging but also rewarding 2 years and the sense of achievement at the end is huge. When trying to decide on a research topic, I would advise people to choose something that interests you and that you think will be relevant and useful in your future career as a teacher.

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