14 July 2024

Inspirational local tutor recognised for exceptional work with vulnerable learners

Wiltshire Council Family and Community Learning Tutor Jenny Ham has been recognised for her exceptional work with disadvantaged adult learners at the annual Festival of Learning Awards.

The national awards ceremony took place in London on 3rd July.

Jenny is an inspirational tutor who builds meaningful relationships with her learners at Wiltshire Council’s Family and Community Learning service. She develops an exceptional environment of trust with her learners which helps them take positive steps to articulate and achieve their dreams.

Jenny teaches disadvantaged adult learners that struggle to access other more formal learning opportunities due to rural location, current circumstances or previous negative experiences at school.

Her learners range from newly-arrived adults who are looking to develop their language skills, adults facing barriers such as poor mental or physical health and low confidence, to parents and carers (and their children) who wish to build their skills so that they can better support their child’s learning at home. She teaches a range of courses throughout the week, travelling to her learners to teach them in schools and community buildings, and specialises in delivering English for Speakers of Other Languages, English and Wellbeing courses.

Jenny said, “I was inspired to teach from an early age as my mother was a teacher. I gained my ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) double degree in 1998, and now work full-time at Wiltshire Family and Community Learning. We teach disadvantaged adults and occasionally their children too. I love teaching, English, ESOL and wellbeing.

“I’m motivated by my learners, seeing them learn, progress and achieve. When you can make a difference to people’s lives, there is no better feeling. It is a privilege to work with the diversity of adults and families that I meet which include asylum seekers, Ukrainian guests, Afghan resettlers and Wiltshire residents.

“My teaching isn’t all about the knowledge that I share with learners. It is important to understand their journey in life and to support them to dream as big as they can. It is also important that they trust me so that we can work together towards the best outcome for them, whether it be employment, volunteering, further learning or any other goal they may have.”

Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said: “Jenny’s commitment to her learning and development shines strongly. She uses the knowledge and skills that she gains to inform her teaching and the support that she gives her learners. Jenny puts her heart and soul into teaching, and we are very proud of her and what she supports her learners to achieve.”

Several of Jenny’s learners said:

“Jenny is a wonderful, inspiring, supportive tutor. She makes learning fun and helped me feel safe, which is vitally important for someone like me who suffers from anxiety. She was always patting me on the back and helping me believe in my abilities.” Sarah E

“Jenny is a wonderful teacher because she will go the extra mile.  If you still don’t understand, she will not stop until she has found a way for you to learn.  Without having Jenny, I wouldn’t be able to help my children.”  Claire

“Jenny is the most caring tutor. She is kind and generous. Helping people achieve their goals in life makes Jenny happy. Jenny makes courses fun, informative and exciting.” Sarah K

“Jenny is a fantastic, friendly and supportive teacher. She’s very kind and puts so much effort to help her students to learn. We were all very happy to have her as a teacher.” Khadija

The Family and Community Learning service at Wiltshire Council offers a range of single-session and short courses to help get adults back into learning.  Courses are taught by friendly tutors, online or at venues across Wiltshire.  Course topics include:

  • family learning courses to support parents and carers to help their child with emotional wellbeing and learning,
  • confidence and wellbeing courses
  • adult skills courses, such as English, maths, budgeting, and work-related skills, and
  • independent living skills courses for adults with additional needs.
Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns