Adult Learners join the GCSE celebrations

Posted on: 30 August 2017

As GCSE students in Devon celebrate their results, adult learners have also been jumping for joy having made the grades.

Duncan Cousens is one of many adult learners who returned to the classroom last year to study GCSE Maths with Devon County Council’s adult learning service, Learn Devon.

Learn Devon provide a wide range of adult learning courses, including GCSE Maths and English. Both of which are free to eligible adults.

43 year old Duncan, father of two, took the course at Honiton Community College. He’d previously attained professional qualifications in engineering and as a plumber, but until now, Maths GCSE had alluded him.

“I really enjoyed the course. We all did,” said Duncan.

“I’d realised that I wanted to get my GCSE Maths for several reasons, having missed out at school.

“I’ve two young children and I’ve wanted to be able to support them more with their maths homework.

“I’ve also volunteered as an assistant at my local primary school and would like study for my PGCE to enable me to become a teacher, for which I need a maths qualification.”

Councillor Stuart Barker

Councillor Stuart Barker, the Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Learn Devon service, said:

“One of Devon County Council’s main priorities is improving opportunities for all and supporting people in our community to learn the skills they need to change their lives, careers and at the same time be economically active and independent.

“We recognise that it can be hard to find ways of gaining the qualifications you might need for a career change and our Learn Devon service has many ways to help and stay in work.

“Duncan has great reasons for wanting his new qualification, which will benefit his children and hopefully the education service when he completes the PGCE.

“The service can also provide extensive support and a bursary for disadvantaged learners and that’s why we offer free courses, with experienced staff.”

In addition to gaining his qualification, Duncan also enjoyed the social aspect of learning with the group. He said:

“Besides the qualification, the experience in having achieved it has been wonderful. I’ve met some great people, and the fact that it’s got us away from our day to day work for just a few hours in an evening per week to learn new skills has been great. I’ve really enjoyed the social side of learning something new.”

Cheryl Gibbs, GCSE Maths Tutor working with the Learn Devon service in Honiton, said:

“People often say that they’ve really enjoyed the experience of learning with other people. They’ve come to us voluntarily, because they want to achieve, and they leave us with the grades but also the friendships that they’ve developed over their time with us.

“All sorts of people register with us to improve their skills. Some because it helps them find employment, for others it might be so that they can help their children with their school work. Or it might simply be because they want to.

“My congratulations to Duncan, and to all of our adult learners this time around. They have all worked incredibly hard and have done exceptionally well in achieving their qualifications. It goes to show that you’re never too old to learn!”

Duncan added:

“My thanks, and that of all our group, to our tutor Cheryl for all the support she’s given to us, and for making learning an enjoyable experience.”

There are Maths GCSE courses starting soon at Learn Devon locations across Devon. The next Learn Devon GCSE Maths course in Honiton starts on Wednesday 6 September, from 6pm to 8:30pm. It runs until 27 June 2018.

For more information about this course or any of the Learn Devon courses, visit

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