"I’M CONFIDENT ABOUT LEARNING NOW BUT I WASN’T WHEN I STARTED. I THOUGHT I WAS
STUPID. I COULDN’T SPELL AND I COULDN’T READ, BUT I KNEW I COULD LEARN."
Tammy is a 27 year old mother of 4 who left school at 13 without any qualifications. She is now a successful parent who is a positive role model for her children.
Taken into care at a young age due to a troubled home life, Tammy had little interest in education and found school
challenging. She had no self-confidence and believed that her life wasn't going anywhere. Tammy retreated into herself. At the age of 15 Tammy had her first child, a little boy, who was taken away from her and put up for adoption. At 16 Tammy was married into a destructive relationship like the ones of her childhood.
After her marriage break-up, now with a small child to care for, Tammy realised that she needed to make changes to her life. With the help of Social Services Tammy moved to a new area so she could start again. This was when her learning journey began.
"I came to Basildon so I could have a new start. When I first went to my children's school, Briscoes Primary School, I got involved in a parents' group. Debbie from BEST got to know me and she encouraged me to join in the group and to go on to do courses. I did pampering and grooming and I joined a parenting course. From there I went on to do English and maths and to learn how to help my children with their school work. Laraine has been my tutor in English and on some of the parenting courses. Laraine has been one of the biggest influences on my life. I feel comfortable with her. I don't feel silly, I don't feel stupid, I know she's not judging me."
Tammy found that there were other people with a range of life experiences, some as challenging as her own. By talking with others and by learning on equal terms with supportive colleagues and teachers, Tammy learned that she had strengths which she had never had the chance to know. She enjoyed the courses and the people, learning as much from informal situations as from the structured parts of the programmes.
"My motivation comes from my kids; I want them to have a better life and more chances than I had. All the learning I have done is because I want to give my children a better life. My learning boosts them to want to improve their education. My children see me learning and gaining qualifications and I say to them that this is what I want for them too. I want them to have choices."
Tammy is a successful and inspiring learner. She has achieved an impressive array of qualifications, including Level 1 certificates in English, maths and supporting children to learn. As importantly, Tammy now has the confidence to look people in the eye, to talk with them and get to know them and to help them to feel comfortable with learning.
Recently Tammy has been volunteering in her children’s school. She supports within the classroom and has helped to set up a ‘Friends of the School’ group to assist with fund raising and organising after school events. Tammy is also planning her route into working with children and eventually achieving her dream job, to become a midwife. Along the way Tammy is enjoying the experiences and opportunities which are opening up to her as she works alongside others to support them and to learn from them. The distance which Tammy has travelled so far means that she has every likelihood of achieving her ambition.