Did you know that adults (19+) who do not have GCSE’s grade 4/C or above in either English or Maths are entitled to retake them for free? No? I didn’t know either until last year.
I never thought I would go back into education voluntarily but it wasn’t until Emily started to fall behind in Maths that it really motivated and encouraged me to apply.
Applying was easier than I thought. I went onto my local college website and looked through the part-time courses for both Maths and English GCSE’s. You can apply online and someone will then get in touch with you to book in for an assessment.
Maths was never my strong point and I knew that I would fail my assessment, the questions were hard and I left a lot of them empty because I didn’t know how to attempt them. I was then offered the function skills course which is 9 weeks long and can be done at home.
You still need to do an assessment but this is only for the tutors to see what you know so they can enter you in at the correct level, you can then work your way through them. I went in on an entry-level three and I am now coming to the end of my first block and have my exam soon.
Looking back now from when I was at school I know the reason why nothing stuck was because of how I was being taught. Functional skill is a digital course and all the topics are video’s with everything being broken down and simplified, this has helped me to understand and learn a lot easier. Once you have completed it you can then continue straight on to the next level if choose to.
Functional Skills are recognised GCSE alternative qualifications. I am aiming to complete level 3 and would really like to get a 1 (A)
I also applied for GCSE English and was asked to come in to do an assessment for the course. I have no idea how I managed to secure a place there because my grammar and punctuation is rubbish however, this was one of the reasons why I wanted to go for it.
For this course, I attend weekly lessons in a small classroom. We started out with around 12 pupils and over 6 weeks we are down to around 8-9 of us. Our tutor told us from the start about how intense the course was going to be and I was excited about it.
We are now on week 7 ( I think) and I am finding it much harder than I thought it would be and then last week I felt like I had a breakthrough. We had a lesson on ‘structure’ and it really helped me. We still have a long way to go but we are being taught the hardest bits first so that when the time comes we would have had plenty of practice.
Our lesson starts at 9.15 am and finishes at 12.15 pm and we have a fifteen-minute break. You are given a GCSE workbook to write in during lessons which you can keep at college or take it home, I take photo’s of my work and leave it there so I can get my work marked ready for the following week.
Each week we have homework set online that is not mandatory to do but I like to do it. My blog really helps me practise what I have learnt in English lessons and over the weeks I have been experimenting with my vocabulary and trying to find alternative words to use. I am also learning about different ways to start my paragraphs instead of ‘I’ and ‘we’ which you can probably see in this post.
Both courses are really helping my confidence to grow and I have been able to use what I have learnt so far in maths to teach Lydia how to do long division and help Emily with some of her math work, something I have always felt embarrassed about not being able to do.
I am a very anxious person so to do something like this was a big deal, especially as I don’t cope well with change. If you have been thinking about going back to college to retake your GCSE’S I’d say go for it, you won’t regret it.