Lewisham's adult learners celebrate GCSE successes
This year’s GCSE results in English and Mathematics – gateway subjects for many employment, training, or further study opportunities – were higher than average for comparable institutions. Changes to how grades were awarded has meant a fall in achievement rates nationally, and that is the case for Adult Learning Lewisham.
Of the 40 adult learners who took Mathematics GCSE this year, 53% scored grade 4 or above, compared to 28% nationally. Of the 29 adult learners who took English GCSE, 48% scored grade 4 or above, much higher than the national figure of 33%. Scoring at least grade 4 – comparable with the old ‘C’ grade and generally acknowledged as a ‘pass’ – has transformed the outlook of many of this year’s learners.
These results are a great achievement for the learners who often need to balance their studies with a job or care responsibilities – sometimes both. For most people returning to education is a daunting prospect. Many arrive to a course unsure of their chances of success, perhaps because they struggled at school, or because it has been many years since they last took on formal learning.
Ashlene Barker, GCSE Maths Learner, said, “I chose to study maths and English as I know they are two of the most important subjects in academics. I did my GCSE’s back in 1993, I took five subjects but did not pass maths or English. That rested on my conscience for years. My maths teacher told me that I wasn’t going to pass it, and that scarred me for life. I was that little girl that didn’t have confidence. The people around me even convinced me that was the truth. I started believing in myself after I had my daughter and I wanted to set good examples for her, but most importantly I did it all for myself. Learning something new shows that it’s never too late to start and its ok to start where I started. I thought at times I wasn’t ready, but the more I learn, the more I apply myself. My next step is to finish my English, computer, and cake decorating courses. I would like to pursue my own business - I’m definitely ready!”
Cllr Walsh, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Communications said: “Well done to all of our adult learners on behalf of Lewisham Council, we’re very proud not only of achievements but their grit and tenacity, and we hope with their new qualifications they more confident to take on bigger challenges. Lewisham’s Adult Learning Service continues to open new and exciting opportunities for adults returning to education. Whether it be to progress at work, access further education, to feel confident managing personal finances or help children with their homework. Learning does not stop at school; it is never too late in life to learn new skills”