Karen has taken several of our Level 2 Certificate distance learning courses, including Understanding Safeguarding and Prevent which she is doing currently, which lead her onto our Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (STLS) course. She is now a full time Teaching Assistant!
“I worked as a Food Service Assistant in a school for 7 years. When various staff told me I was great with the Special Needs pupils I wondered whether I could help them in class. I thought this was probably a step too far but got some volunteer hours and I absolutely loved it!
But I needed some qualifications to apply for a Learning Support Assistant job. I had heard about Aspire Sussex’s Distance Learning courses, which meant I could do my work at home so I wouldn’t have any childcare problems. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do the work but my assessor gave me the courage to have a go. My girls and I did ‘our homework’ every evening and I passed my first course within 3 months. 19 months later, I have just started my fifth distance learning course as well as branching out to the STLS course and I can’t see me ever wanting to stop learning!
After taking the STLS course, I can hardly recognise myself from the person I was 19 months ago. It is the support I have had from the school and my assessor as well as the understanding I have gained from the courses that have given me a belief in myself. I am sure it is this confidence that helped me get through a difficult personal time this year. My husband is delighted to see me aiming for a better-paid role and my younger daughter always found settling to homework difficult, but having Mum do her homework beside her has motivated her to do better. In school, I find it easier to relate to staff as course knowledge gives me courage to offer my opinion.
When I started the STLS course I had already taken three Distance Learning courses and felt more prepared than some of the other students. I found I could express myself better in assignments, relating the volunteering work I was doing with pupils to the understanding my courses gave me. I was able to help my fellow students in many ways. The more courses I take, the more I learn and the more the pieces of the Special Needs jigsaw fit together.
I am pleased to say that I have been offered a full time Teaching Assistant position at the school I am at, starting in September 2020.”
Her tutor Margaret says, “Over the past 19 months, I witnessed Karen on all stages of her journey as she grew in confidence and became the outstanding student she is today. At our first meeting, Karen was almost apologetic for daring to enrol on a course. She admitted to finding the workbook format daunting, but Karen never faltered in her target to complete the course within 3 months, asking relevant questions and re-wording her answers tirelessly until she achieved acceptable standards.
When I met her daughters, they were visibly in awe of their mum, sitting down each evening to do her own homework alongside them, and of the contribution she was making to the Special Needs department of their school. A few months into her learning journey, Karen met personal difficulties to which she showed remarkable strength and perseverance as she vowed to continue the learning.
In school, Karen was given more volunteer work with Special Needs students as her understanding of their needs increased and they began to pay for some hours whilst encouraging her to apply for the Learning Support Assistant job. During her STLS in-school assessment, I saw a confident Karen supporting a variety of children with learning difficulties, the highlight being when she introduced me as ‘her teacher’, telling them about her learning journey and how they should never give up on their dreams. Colleagues told me about the valuable work she was doing as she built relationships with vulnerable students and how her feedback to staff enabled new pupil targets to be set and achieved. Carrying out observations on STLS students on the same course as Karen, I was delighted to learn that Karen had spent time with them, motivating them to persevere and giving them the courage to succeed.”
If you would like to achieve a qualification like Karen contact us on 0345 601 0161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org