A Hereward College student, Martin Berisford has spoken passionately about how a specialist college has changed his life. Martin admits that his school experience was poor, but Hereward College has had such a positive impact he wants to make a difference to others by teaching adult learners.
Martin says that his school was unfortunately ill equipped to support his needs. He was not always able to communicate well and to understand instructions from his teachers and the tuition he needed could not always be given. All in all, his educational experiences up until joining Hereward College had been very negative saying “I felt quite detached from everything”.
Hereward College, located in Coventry, is very different from most secondary schools and other colleges. In addition to offering a range of academic and vocational courses it prioritises independence skills in its curriculum, so that students can become more active members of society and can manage future challenges.
Upon starting at the college, Martin immediately sensed that Hereward was very different from his school environment. His new class contained only six other pupils, compared with over 25 at school. This provided a much better place for him to learn because he received more support from teachers “The staff were friendly, approachable and quick to offer a hand” and a calmer environment allowed him to focus on his work.
Like many students at other colleges across the country, Martin has also been given valuable work experience opportunities. Once a week he works in the technical resource department at Hereward College and has supported its Human Resources staff.
These placements will help him in landing his dream job in education but in the meantime he has secured a place on the PTLLS course (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector). Reflecting on his achievements on training to teach adult learners, Martin says “In a few short weeks, I will be doing a micro-lesson to a class. I’m nervous, yes but excited. It is another achievement. I can’t believe I have come this far.”