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Learner Spotlight – Maths and English, May 2021

Before the end of the year, we caught up with Kevin Boateng, a Maths & English GSCE learner who has spent the last year studying towards his exams.

With opportunities in his previous field of work as a labourer drying up because of the pandemic, Kevin used this time to come back to education and focus on his studies to give himself a brighter future.

Hi Kevin! Tell us about why you applied for this Maths & English GCSE course?

I just decided that I wanted to progress in life. I’d been in and out of education for 10 years and had been in a dead end job, not having any qualifications or skills, I decided that I wanted to do my GSCE Maths & English again.

What were you doing before you started this course?

I was working for an agency doing labouring work and it just wasn’t really going well for me, so I decided I wanted to do my Maths and English again, obviously to progress in terms of career choices.

I chose to do it because I realised that I was going nowhere with my job, and I thought to myself “I don’t want to be doing this for the next 5 or 10 years”, so I decided coming back to school would be the best option.

Why did you choose WAES?

Good question! As for doing my GCSEs again, I thought that ship had sailed, but I was on google and I came across WAES. They said they did free GCSE classes in Maths and English, so I thought “hey, a new start for me”, and I decided to go for it.

Tell us about what you study on your courses and whether you have any favourite bits you particularly enjoy or feel more confident in.

In Maths I like the number syllabus but algebra, not so much. On the English course, I like the language part of English and the transactional writing.

I’ve realised in coming back how important it is to have those skills and that I’m quite behind academically as well. It’s shown how important it was for me to come back and brush up on those skills.

How has it been studying during a pandemic?

I’m not going to lie, it’s been pretty difficult because I’m obviously not used to doing my learning from a laptop, I prefer to actually be in class because I’m more of a visual learner. So it’s been kind of tough from that standpoint, but I’ve dealt it. It’s been weird but I prefer being in class.

What do you want to do when you’ve finished your course?

Good question! I haven’t decided yet – I’m kind of in a grey place in terms of what I want to do next, but I just know being in education will open more doors for me. Obviously, being out of education for so long, I thought “ah, I’m probably too old to come back into education”, so being back has been really good for me.

I am considering further study. Years ago, I spoke to my sister when she had just graduated, and I said “Ah, I could not do four years of university”, but I’m considering it now because I do want a decent standard of living and I know how important education is. If you don’t have the skills or the education, people are going to be making decisions for you, so I have realised that, especially through being in the working world, doing labouring jobs that are not fun at all. Being back at school has definitely given me a second chance.

If you could give any advice to anyone thinking about studying Maths and English, what would it be?

I’d say do it! If you were in my position about three years ago, leaving school with barely any qualifications or any skills, I would advise you to consider it, because it will open doors for you and you will realise that you are better than your past situation, and you can progress.