Some of our staff have decided to take GCSEs / courses in subjects they naturally do not feel comfortable with – in part as a way of understanding the experiences of our students. Mrs Carley, our long-standing Maths teacher, writes…

“Have you ever tried really hard at something and failed miserably? I have.

The women in my family were artists, not just a little bit good, but REALLY good. Me? Not at all, but I could do and loved doing maths. My mother insisted I do art at school, I had to be artistic, all the women in the family were.

Nearly 40 year ago I sat my ‘O’ Level Art exam. I tried so hard for two years, trying to learn techniques and skills and as my exam result of a ‘U’ showed, I failed. Never again, I told myself, I’m just not artistic.

Fast forward to 2020, here I am teaching maths to students who struggle with it. I understand, I had the same experience at school. But…….. do I really I asked myself. Can I really remember how I felt 40 years ago? Well! I had a brilliant idea, or so I thought. I decided to put myself back in that situation where I really struggled. I decided to try my Art GCSE, I’m older now, some life experience, I’ll manage.

So to the start of my first project, there are two to complete this year, YAY. I won’t go into all the details as they are not the point of me writing this. The point is this and for me it was MASSIVE. Since starting this course I have cried, been frustrated, anxious, scared even. I have even told my Art teacher ‘I’m not doing it’ and ‘If it’s not any good I’ll destroy it rather than hand it in’. I have hounded her, pestered with questions, asked for advice but more importantly desperately needed reassurance that what I was doing was okay.

I was really anxious about hand my first project in but I did it.

So here it is for you all to see. The result of not giving up, asking for help and trying my best even though it was the last thing I wanted to do.”