Graham, 64, from West Wickham had very honorable reasons to return to education and study for his GCSE English and maths exams. He wanted to help his son James with his school work and decided the best way to do it was to put himself in the very same scenario himself.

Although James was at school in year 11, Graham enrolled at London South East College’s Bromley Campus and studied in the evenings. Before he knew it, he was captivated by the whole learning experience and committed to achieving as highly as possible in his own exams.

Collecting his English Language exam results this week, Graham was ecstatic to learn he had scored a grade 6 (old grade B). Last year, he achieved a grade A result in his maths. He said: “What started as a very selfless operation to go through the whole experience with my son, soon became an obsession for me to do well myself.

“The last time I’d sat in a classroom was in July 1976 just before I left school. To venture back after so many years required a lot of courage for me. I thought I’d stand out a mile from the other students but I couldn’t have been more wrong. My fellow students were from a range of different age groups, from different backgrounds and cultures and all had very different reasons for doing the course. In most cases, it was to get the core entry qualifications to qualify for higher level courses or training programmes.

“My goal was to help James do well in his school exams, inspire him and enable him to get the most out of revision time. I knew that teaching methods had changed massively in the time I had been out of full-time education and so had the exam syllabuses. In order to be of use to my son, I had to be more clued up on what he was up against.”

James did equally as well as Graham and is now going on to study for A Levels in his school’s sixth form. For Graham, his experience has opened up lots of new career avenues which include visits to his local school to help other pupils with exam revision, and he also hopes to start writing a fact-based book about London’s children and their experience of the Blitz during World War II. He already has his research project underway and is currently seeking a publisher.

He continues: “I’ve reached the age where I really want to keep my mind active and use it to help and encourage other people to make the most of their talents. Doing my GCSEs has revived old ambitions of becoming an author and given me an appetite to continue learning and accumulating knowledge. It’s also lots of fun.

“The tutors, the classroom technology, and learning resources are superb at London South East Colleges. I would recommend it to anybody who has ambitions to start or advance their career or to simply indulge in an interest or hobby. You are never too old to learn.”


If you are considering returning to education after a number of years or would like to improve your GCSE core subjects (English or Maths) results, come and see us now. We are enrolling at our Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich campuses this week and next. Learn more.


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