Finalist

Karen Hanley-Brooks

2020 National Winner

Karen’s learning journey began with an entry level 3 functional skills English course at Adult Education Wolverhampton. Through her hard work and dedication she has quickly progressed to a GCSE course and volunteered with the Talk English programme to help others in the community improve their English language skills.

I grew up in St Kitts and dropped out of high school because all I wanted to do was work. Little did I know that education was the foundation I needed to build on.

In 2016 my children and I had to move to the UK because my son needed urgent medical support for his autism. Being a single mother of two without any family living here was very challenging, and I saw that going back to learning was the only way to better myself and to have a brighter future.

Learning has given me hope and confidence and built my self-esteem. Both my experience of dealing with my non-verbal son and the English language skills I have gained at Adult Education Wolverhampton have allowed me to help other people whose first language is not English through my volunteering role with Talk English.

My greatest motivators are my children, especially my son who never allows his disabilities to discourage him from being the best he can be. Through learning, I have not only developed knowledge and skills for myself but am able to use these to help my children develop their own lives in a positive way.

Craig Watkiss, English teacher at Adult Education Wolverhampton said, “Karen’s dedication to her children shines through when she talks about her improvements in class and she is rightly proud that her skills enable her to better support them. Karen’s hard work and dedication to improving her skills has also resulted in her achieving a Grade 5 qualification in GCSE English Language, including a distinction for her spoken assessment, which is yet another terrific achievement. Karen volunteered on our Talk English programme, and her supportive and kind nature is appreciated by all. She is a credit to herself, her children and this organisation.”