Antony completed the Foundation Certificate in English Literature before going on to study at the University of Warwick, achieving a first class degree in English.
'I retired in 2011 after 30 years as a Detective Inspector with Warwickshire Police but a year later I was still working full-time managing the Sexual Assault Referral Centre for Coventry and Warwickshire, a role I still fulfil. After leaving school at 17 I cancelled my university application, a decision I always regretted, and thought the opportunity to put it right would never arise. However when I met my wife she was just finishing a part-time degree in English at Warwick University and I was inspired to do something myself. At the time I wasn’t sure whether it would suit me, or if I’d have the time to commit to a full degree course so, after some research, I stumbled across the Foundation Certificate and thought it would be a useful and achievable option.
The most challenging aspect of the course was coming to terms with the rigours and structures of academic argument and essays. Capturing the right blend between original thought and expression and reflecting existing criticism.
Whilst the weekly commitment to travelling to Oxford for a couple of hours might have been daunting after a full day’s work, I found, on the contrary, that visiting Oxford was a delightful experience. Feeling in some small way a part of such a venerable institution was deeply rewarding and I took great satisfaction in my own developing critical skills.
After gradually developing my literary knowledge and analytical skills over two years it seemed a great shame to leave the unfinished business unfinished. I would have dearly loved to have been able to apply to an Oxford college and throw myself heart and soul into college life but work commitments supervened. It was fortunate that the University of Warwick, which is close to where I live, also runs a part-time degree course in English, and so I applied and was accepted there.
After finishing my studies at first I felt a bit of a sense of anti-climax. Six years of reading ahead, preparing material for essays and exams, with deadlines always hovering, had dissolved into thin air. However, throughout the time of study I had identified so many other texts to read that I very much doubt if there will be much of my time spent bookless.
If anyone is considering undertaking a Continuing Education course all I can say is do it! Whether you just do the initial course to experience study at university level, or complete a degree it is so very worthwhile. I know that I have changed dramatically as a result of this. The way that I look at everything is now so much more critical, in the best sense. I am alert to so much more nuance in literature, theatre, film and television, and I get so much more out of them as a result. I am more analytical generally, whether watching sport or listening to politicians.'