Rhianna Levi

Professional Doctorate in Education EdD

Having a tough upbringing inspired Rhianna to work in education, so she could provide a safe space for people like her. Now, she’s working towards becoming a Doctor of Education and doing ground-breaking research that will improve mental health education in schools.

“As a child, my home life wasn’t great and I’ve always struggled with my mental health, school was my safe place and I loved learning. I knew from an early age that I wanted to work in a school and support children who may be struggling at home or with their mental health. I was determined to prove that a not-so-great childhood doesn’t define you.

I’ve always had a love for literature, so I studied that for my undergraduate degree and then went on to do a PGCE and become a teacher. As soon as I started teaching, I realised I wanted to do a Master’s, I’m passionate about learning and didn’t want to stop developing my knowledge. As I’m a cover teacher, I’m lucky enough to choose the days I work so I could plan my schedule around the course.

As I was already a qualified teacher when I started my Master’s at BCU, I classed myself as a pretty confident, ambitious person, but actually, studying the MEd has boosted my confidence so much. I have so many things going on and it’s taught me that I can push myself and succeed in many things.

I work part-time as a teacher, and as a social media manager for a thriving independent bookshop in Worcester, and I’m a published author, in both prose and poetry. Plus, the MEd helped me recognise my ability to do a PhD.

I’m the youngest in the Doctor of Education cohort, which is a huge achievement and soon I’ll be a published academic too! I’ve been working on a paper using research that I did during my Master’s. I submitted it to a journal recently and it’s currently being peer reviewed. In a few months, it will be published and out there for people to use in their research. My supervisor has been a huge help in helping me put this together and work through the process.

The staff at BCU have made me feel that my research is important and meaningful in the education system. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from the staff and different students on my course, because they’ve all worked in education in some capacity. The education sector is so large and varied so getting insight from different people has improved my understanding of the education sector and things that I need to consider in my research.

After my PhD, I’d like to go into the pastoral side of education. Mental health is so important, and I believe that looking after our well-being is something we should be taught to do from a young age. I’m specialising in PSHE (Personal and Social Health Education) throughout my PhD and how PSHE lessons can give students the tools they need to look after their mental health. I believe that education shouldn’t just be about academia. If students don’t have the knowledge and resources to get through their everyday lives, how can they thrive in academia or their future careers? The staff at BCU are already helping me get my research out there and make a difference in the education sector.

‘I am BCU’ is such a powerful statement to me because it means community. Even people that you might not know at BCU are friendly and want you to succeed. There’s such a good vibe here and I very much feel part of a big family.”