14 May 2001
For immediate release
Twenty years ago Pete Reynolds left school with just two 'O' levels. Now he intends to go back into the classroom - as a fully qualified teacher.
Pete, 35, is finishing a BA in cultural studies at the University of Sussex and intends to take a postgraduate certificate in education at the University to equip him to teach English to secondary school children.
His commitment to learning has earned him a nomination in this year's Adult Learner of the Year awards, organised by Brighton and Hove Council, on May 17.
"It has been a struggle at times," says Pete, who lives with his partner Sue and their two small children in Hove. "But I kept going because it was something I really wanted to do. I left school with just two 'O' levels and went to work in a shoe factory, because that's what we did in my family. I never thought I could get a degree."
Pete considered himself academically unable until he won an essay-writing competition when he was 21. This boosted his confidence and inspired him to return to learning. While working in a variety of jobs, from cinema projectionist to script writer for a cable TV company, Pete went on to take A levels in English, politics and media studies. Five years ago he began the part-time BA in cultural studies at the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) at Sussex.
"I've squashed a six-year course into five years to get through it more quickly," says Pete. "And now I want to become a secondary school teacher because I feel I have a lot to offer school children. I think I can make classes interesting. I know teachers are unhappy with their profession, but I've been on the other side, working in jobs with short-term contracts and very little security. I feel confident about my reasons for wanting to be a teacher."
Peter was nominated for the Adult Learners' Award by his course tutors in CCE. Gerry Holloway, course convener, says: "Pete is a truly gifted adult learner. He has made it clear from the beginning that, ultimately, he wanted to become a teacher. Studying at the University has allowed him to realise this ambition."
Notes for editors
For further information, please contact Jacqui Bealing or Alison Field, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678209, Fax 01273 877456, email J.A.Bealing@sussex.ac.uk or A.Field@sussex.ac.uk.