Young mums Julie Moss and Rhiannon Lord were among the happy students picking up their GCSE results from Buxton & Leek College on this morning.
Both aged 25, they were accompanied by their young sons as they called in at the Leek Campus to pick up certificates which they hope will prove passports to a future career and a better life.
Rhiannon, who lives in Congleton, failed to sit her Maths and English GCSEs when she was pregnant with her eldest son, Harry, now nine. Now also mum to Caiden, aged three, and two-year-old Bailey, she has the vital certificates in the essential skills that will prove her passport to a career as a teacher.
She said: “These passes mean everything to me. I want to go to university to read Biology and, eventually, work as a teacher.
“I will be continuing at Buxton & Leek College with an Access course as my next step towards Higher Education. I am determined now to achieve my ambition.”
For Julie Moss, who works as a teaching assistant at Leek’s Woodcroft First School, the decision to take her Maths GCSE was also borne of an ambition to eventually enter teaching.
She said: “I left school with ten GCSEs but I failed my Maths. I felt that I didn’t really get on with the teacher and Maths was never my favourite subject.
“Here in college, things were different. I listened and I got on with it. I knew I could pass the exam if I was determined enough and now I’ve done just that.
“I started studying because I feared that, without Maths, I’d never even get an interview for my dream job as a teaching assistant but now I have that job and think that I could take things further and go on to work in teaching when my boys are older.”
Tutor Harry Richardson, who teaches English at the Leek Campus, said: “All of our students have done remarkably well this year with 67 percent passing English with top grades – significantly above the national average of 61.7 percent achieved by all students in England.
“Students thrive here despite failing to achieve at school because it’s a different environment with a different approach to teaching.
“We are proud of what our learners achieve and those who have picked up GCSE passes today in these vital subjects are now equipped for either moving on to higher level study or into the jobs market.”
There are opportunities to call into the Leek Campus of the college on August 27 and Buxton Campus on August 28, both between 9am and 5pm, for students who would like to discuss their options following their GCSE results.