A FORMER Selby school girl has graduated top of her year at university.

Charlotte Gaunt gained the highest average mark of 89.33 per cent in primary education at the University of Huddersfield, qualifying for a Chancellor's Prize from the university's head, the X-men and Star Trek actor, Sir Patrick Stewart.

Charlotte, 21, who is the first member of her family to attend university, said that her score came as a shock.

She said: “But I am a bit of a perfectionist and I always want to achieve highly in everything that I do.”

Her degree in primary education means that she is now a fully-qualified teacher and she has landed a first job at Keresforth Primary School, in Dodworth, near Barnsley. Charlotte said she had achieved a career goal that she set when she was a youngster.

She said: “I have wanted to be a teacher since I was five, because I have always admired my teachers and have always loved school and children. I have always wanted to make a positive difference to their lives."

Charlotte who went to Brayton High School, went on to Selby College, where she studied for a BTEC in child care. This was the stepping stone for her university degree course, which included a large number of placements that she found especially valuable and stimulating.

She said she had always set her sights on primary schooling, rather than specific subject teaching at secondary level.

“Primary teachers don’t get enough credit," she said. "People think early years education is all about play, but the basic skills learned at primary school underpin everything that follows.

“If children are not properly taught the basics then they are really going to struggle further up school. If you get the foundations wrong, then the whole structure will collapse.”

Charlotte said she was excited to be launching her teaching career, but in time she has plans to add to her qualifications with part-time postgraduate study at the University of Huddersfield.

She said: “I just want to be able to put 100 per cent into my job and then, when I get a work-life balance, I will probably come back to studying."