A 43-year-old mum from Sutton who came to Britain from Poland 11 years ago has passed her GCSEs at Vision West Nottinghamshire College.
Kate Jaworek beamed with joy as she opened her results envelope to find she had achieved level 7 qualifications in GCSE maths and English - equivalent to grade As in the old system.
Ms Jaworek arrived in England in 2008 after moving from Poland with her son Greg, who is also celebrating having achieved good grades in his A-levels.
She combined her studies with working full-time in the legal team at King’s Mill Hospital, and worked to achieve the grades after her Polish qualifications did not translate over into English ones.
Kate said: “My general qualifications were achieved back in Poland and I didn’t have a transferrable English qualification, so I wanted to study the GCSE here.
“Whenever I’ve studied NVQs at work, I’ve always had to do functional skills courses each time, so I thought it made sense to get my GCSEs.
"I didn’t have to do maths but I really like the subject so I thought I might as well try it.
“I began working in the housekeeping team originally, then I got a placement in the complaints and litigation team, and later in the legal team. I’m going to be studying some legal training now I’ve got my GCSEs – it’s helped me to be able to progress.
“I’m looking forward to going home and sharing my news. Greg and I studied together, now we’re going to celebrate together.”
Ms Jaworek was not the only person celebrating GCSE success at Vision West Notts.
Elliott Parker, 18, was ecstatic to pass his GCSE English at the fifth attempt – gaining the grade 4 he hopes will unlock the door to an apprenticeship.
The teenager, from Mansfield, studied the GCSE alongside his main course – the Level 3 Electrical Installation.
After leaving school with a grade 3, Elliott went on to achieve the same grade in three successive re-sits at college – before finally passing at what he insists was “almost the last chance.”
He said: “I’ve always struggled with the subject. Everybody I know has a GCSE in English and I didn’t, which made me want to push forward to get the grade.
“As I’ve got further into my two-year college course, I’ve put more and more effort into getting the GCSE. This was almost the last chance for me.
“After four attempts, it felt like I had no hope of ever passing. But I decided to re-sit it for a fifth time to see how it went – and it’s lucky I did! Now, I don’t have the shadow hanging over me anymore. This means everything to me.
“I can now go on to do an electrical maintenance apprenticeship, if I get through the interview next week. Now that I’ve passed, I have the grades to go for the jobs that I want.”
Seventeen-year-old Nathan Hicks, from Mansfield, has studied the Level 3 in Public Services alongside GCSE English language at the college.
Today, he smiled as he opened his results envelope – revealing a grade 4.
He said: “I only got a grade 3 in GCSE English at school so I’m delighted to pass. I’m looking forward to coming back to college for my final year in September. My ultimate goal is to work in the army as a medic. I hope to apply next year when I turn 18.