Adult Education Success Stories

Follow up from former Varndean students

Robina Jabar

Robina Jabar

Studied: Working with Children

My name is Robina Jabar. I am a Teaching Assistant and an Individual Needs Assistant at St. Luke's Primary School in Brighton. I am a valued staff member and also help children who have speech & language difficulties.

Being an average or below average student at school or college doesn't mean doors for opportunities are closed to you forever. There was a time when I couldn't imagine being a member of staff at such a reputable primary school in Brighton.

My journey started when I began volunteering at the Roundabout Childrens Centre in Brighton. I have always had a passion for learning and that is one of my strengths. One of the staff at Roundabout suggested I do a childcare course at Varndean College. I joined the Level 1 'Working with Children' course and soon after I joined Level 2 'Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools'.

It was a real challenge to accomplish the course during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to my day and night efforts for learning and especially due to the great support and sincere hard work of my course teacher, I successfully achieved my qualification.

I am currently working in one of the best primary schools in Brighton as a TA and Individual Needs Assistant. I am so lucky to have earned this role and to be respected and appreciated for my roles at the school.

Jayne Sebry

Studied: Pilates

I love Gemma’s Pilates classes. She is an amazing tutor, incredibly knowledgeable & her experience shines through. Her instructions are detailed & she explains exercises in an easy to understand way.

Gemma is such an enthusiastic & patient teacher, I really enjoy her class & come away feeling invigorated. The classes are such good value too.



Studied: GCSE Maths Foundation 2021-22

I last studied Maths in the 1970s and returning to the classroom in September 2021 was a big step. I am really pleased with what I achieved over the year, not simply with the final grade (and I was very pleased with that) but the confidence I regained in the subject. This course is a commitment; there's a lot to cover in a short time, and our teacher was really excellent - setting and marking homework every week and always expecting us to give our best effort. I was very impressed with the college; the classroom support available and from the administration (allowing extra sessions for exam practice) went above and beyond what I expected. Thank you for a great experience.

Past Student

Studied: ESOL - March 2022

Thank you so much for a very interesting and educational class. I Thoroughly enjoyed your class and it was never a chore to attend a class. Thank you, again for such a wonderful learning experience and I hope to learn from you again in the future.

Past Student

Studied: Level 2 ESOL

Level 2 ESOL student finds work: "Thank you very much for your email, I really appreciate it. I could not attend the class last week because I was very busy. After my training I’m going to start a new job as a health care assistant. I would like to thank you for everything that you do for our class L2 students. Thank you for your help and because of you I can speak with native speakers without embarrassment".

Billy-Jo Button

Studied: GCSE Maths 2021-22

It's been a funny few years with studying during a pandemic! I celebrated my graduation last week, I managed a 2:1 (2 marks off a first) in Primary Mathematics Education with QTS and am now a qualified teacher. I am also celebrating a job offer teaching mathematics at KS3, 13+ curriculum. I am equally excited and nervous but grateful of the experience. Thank you once again for the part you played in reigniting my passions.



Studied: Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties Level 2

For many years I have been working in higher education, working directly with students. I decided to have a change in direction and wanted to work as a Teaching Assistant with a much younger age group such as school age children.

Since the summer I have studied with Varndean College and taken CACHE Level 2 in ‘Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties’. Since then I have enrolled on 'Understanding Behaviour that Challenges' and ‘Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools’, both Level 2 courses with Alison Wakeford, the tutor.

Alison has been an excellent teacher who is very encouraging and really gets the best from us all. She balances the course with a range of teaching styles including short video clips, group discussions and course work; the class feels very supported and also empowered. We always have the opportunity to share ideas and experiences, I definitely recommend both Alison and the courses.



Studied: 'Understanding Behaviour That Challenges' Level 2

I used to be a teacher back in Pakistan, my home country. I moved here 8 years ago and I missed my time with children; I was desperate to join teaching again so I decided to start my career and I enrolled on the CACHE Level 2 course 'Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools' (STL).

I also started voluntary work at my daughter's school. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed both my course and work placement. I learnt a lot from my tutor and the placement and felt proud of my decision. The excitement of working with children led me to continue my TA training and I enrolled for the Level 3 STL Diploma.

These courses enhanced my abilities and I learnt how to deal with children in different situations in their school life and their welfare. I got a TAjob with an agency during my Level 3 course and I started working in different schools including SEN, Primary and Nursery. During the pandemic it was very stressful to study from home whilst looking after my children but because of a very helpful and nice tutor, I was able to do every task easily and I enjoyed every moment, even in lockdown. The awesome environment of the college encouraged me to carry on with my studies so I enrolled for the Level 2 course 'Understanding Behaviour That Challenges'.

This two year journey has totally changed my life. I had the pleasure of meeting kind teachers and lovely class mates. I gained a lot of knowledge and skills and have achieved enough to fulfil my TA dreams. I plan to do more courses to further develop my skills and add more to my knowledge. I really appreciate being a part of this college. I feel proud of myself. Thank you Varndean College.



Studied: From level 1 'Working with Children' to Lead Teaching Assistant

I started my Teaching Assistant journey back in 2018 when I joined the Level 1 'Working with Children' course. Joining this course was really fun so I decided to move onto the Level 2 'Supporting Teaching 6 Learning (STL) in Schools'. I met some lovely supportive women on this course who really did support me throughout the year; I then decided to do the Level 3 STL course. At times level 2 and 3 were difficult; with level 2 I found putting pen to paper challenging and with level 3 it was ICT. But I overcame these challenges with persistence and I'm glad I stuck at the course.

When I finished level 3 I went for a job interview at the Downs View organisations; I got a job as a TA at the college, supporting students with learning difficulties. I started in September 2019; it hasn't been an easy year, with the virus. 3 weeks ago, almost a year into being a TA I got accepted to work for the college as a Lead Teaching Assistant (LTA).

The Varndean College courses taught me so much and I use what I have learnt from them in my job role. Whether it was what I learnt in lessons or in my placement observations or even at the school I volunteered for, the courses have been a massive support to me. I am so thankful to my tutors and assessors. I'm very excited about my new role; it has been a big goal for me.



Studied: My experience as a Level 2 Teaching Assistant student in Adult Education

I started my course 'Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools' Level 2 in September 2020 after working lirstly as an Ofsted Registered Childminder and then as an Ofsted Registered Nanny. I had always thought I would like to be a Teaching Assistant but every time a child in my care left, another would swiftly come along! Then the pandemic of Covid 19 reared its ugly head and the parents I worked for were suddenly working from home and did not require my services! This freed up my time allowing me to begin the course. Having worked and learned with children for over 20 years I do know a fair bit about them but when I started working as a volunteer in a local school I realised there are many differences including following rules and regulations, having knowledge of policies, more teamwork and individual educational interaction with the children. Being in a school requires knowledge and the course provides this in a pragmatic and useful way; it gives you insight into the job and I feel confident to carry out tasks and more qualified in my actions. There is a lot to learn but because it is done in sections with an excellent teacher it feels manageable.

We had to have some time away from the college due to the pandemic but we soon got the hang of lessons on Google Meet - in fact my computer skills have improved immensely. The IT department were so patient and I'm quite savvy now!

I would recommend this excellent course for anyone who likes to work with children and is keen to learn. It has led to me getting a job as a Individual Needs Assistant at the school where I volunteer even though I've not quite finished the course yet - so it definitely leads onto employment!



Studied: ESOL Entry 3 & Caring for Children Level 1

I am from Syria. I came to the UK with very little English. After living here for two years I started my journey in learning English. When my language skills started to improve I wanted to combine English with studying for a career. I was very happy when I heard about the course 'Level 1 Certificate in Caring for Children combined with ESOL Entry'. I knew that this is what I wanted because I love to be with children. I started the course with Varndean College, and really enjoyed it; it's a great course. I learned a lot about children and my teacher Martina was amazing; we all loved her and I appreciate the way she helped and supported us. As well as studying, I have been volunteering in a nursery for one and half years. This has helped me to practise what I learned from my course.

When I finished the course I was very excited about the next step. I applied for CACHE Level 2 in Caring for Children and was very happy to carry on with my journey. I started the course online because of lockdown. Even online we learn very well, our teacher Sybille is very kind and helpful; her feedback always supports us and gives us the stimulation we need to carry on.

When I have finished the Level 2 course I hope I can find a job with young children. I would love to take level 3 as well but will need to gain more English qualifications first. I am so grateful for all the knowledge that I have gained from the course at Varndean College. Thank you!



Studied: Level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning

I'm originally from India and moved to Brighton in 2008. I was a teacher in my home country and I really missed my time working with children; I was always passionate about working in a teaching environment. This inspired me to start studying again and I started the Adult Education course 1 Level 1 Award in Working with Children' with Varndean College.

I would like to say a huge thanks for all the support and the amazing opportunities that I received. I successfully completed the course and with my tutors help and advice, I joined the 1 Level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning' course. It is a great experience, both with my tutor and my classmates. As part of my course I'm so pleased to start volunteering at West Hove Infant school. I am excited to start working with children in a school again.

I really enjoyed both of my courses; I enhanced my skills and I learned how to deal with children in different situations with effective communication and being approachable.

I'm so happy and proud of my decision to start studying again and I have received great support from all my tutors. I have developed a lot of knowledge and skills to achieve my dream of becoming a teaching assistant. I will continue to enhance my knowledge and experience to achieve my goals. It is a pleasure to be part of this college. Thank you Varndean College!



Studied: Level 3 Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools

"I originally enrolled on the Level 2 Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools (STL) in 2019. I had been a stay-at-home mum for the previous nine years and when my youngest child started school, I wanted to return to work but had no idea what I was good at. I saw an advert for the STL course and thought it looked interesting; I was used to taking care of children so thought it would be something I would enjoy. I asked my children's school if I could do my placement there and they readily agreed. The course was more than I expected it to be. I learnt so much, not just from my tutor, but also from the other students and the teaching assistants I worked with in school. As the weeks went on, I knew I had made the right decision in choosing this career path.

I went on to study Level 3 STL and the course really helped me prepare for working as a teaching assistant (TA). Studying whilst in lockdown was very strange at first, but my amazing tutor really took the stress out of it and I learnt new computer skills. One of the great things I really got from both courses was meeting people from different cultures and learning about each other; I now get to call them my very dear friends. I have made lifelong friends whilst studying at Varndean.

I have been working as a TA since finishing my Level 3 course and I absolutely love working with the children and feel honoured that I get to support them in every aspect of their school life and well-being.

Completing both courses at Varndean gave me the confidence to study a degree with the Open University in Childhood and Youth Studies. Varndean offers many courses in childcare and I am sure I will study with them again to enhance my knowledge and increase my chances of career progression."



Studied: Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools

I started my 'Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools' course in September 2020, after having spent a year as an au pair looking after two lively children. During the first lockdown I learnt that I get on easily with children even in such challenging times.

I chose this course to get experience in a teaching environment; I was under the impression that a primary class was a merry place to be. I have had the opportunity to volunteer in a school where I soon felt part of the process thanks to all the teachers and experienced TAs who supported me by involving me and giving precious advice.

The Varndean College course demanded reflection and study on the different tasks about aspects of children and schools, but the effort has paid off. Applying the theories in the working situation has made me more confident and aware of how to act to get better results. During the months of the winter lockdown the sessions continued. The online teaching had been planned in advance and it has been faultless. My classmates and I have been able to continue our worthwhile habits of working together and exchanging our ideas.

As the only male on the course, I was worried about being out of place but this has passed due to the positive experiences, such as the children, their questions and their little necessities. I have got a lot of experience which is also useful in everyday life. I am now sure that a primary class is not only a merry place to work in, but it is also incredibly rewarding.