A student from Duns who transformed his life through university education has won the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Education’ award at the Fostering Excellence Awards ceremony in London.
Daniel Pauley, 25, a final year podiatry student at Queen Margaret University, left school at 15 with hardly any qualifications, no self-belief and no career plan.
Daniel explained: “When I was at school there was really no support and it was very disheartening.
“I’d had a lot of difficulties at home and I didn’t get any encouragement from the teachers, so I had no self-belief. It was no surprise that I didn’t do well academically.
“But I eventually realised two things – I loved helping people and I enjoyed health and fitness. So I picked myself up, went back to college and got an HND. That helped me get a place at QMU on the BSc (Hons) Podiatry, and I’ve never looked back.”
The boy who had been written off in his teenage years achieved the highest clinical grade in his year group (Level 3 Clinical Studies prize in 2016-17) at QMU.
“As a foster child, you can be easily cast off,” said Daniel. “If no-one believes in you, then you don’t believe in yourself. But my experience at QMU has completely transformed my life. I have people who are 100% behind me and are helping me achieve my goals.
“I am particularly grateful to my lecturer, Evelyn Weir, who made me believe I can do it!”
Evelyn said: “Daniel is working hard to achieve his goal of becoming a podiatrist. He is an absolute inspiration to me, to my foster children and to all of our other students at QMU. We are all delighted that his hard work and positive attitude have been recognised by the Fostering Excellence Awards.
“I could not be more proud of or pleased for him.”