Rubina Bhatti wins Adult Learners' Week Award 2014

Congratulations to Rubina Bhatti, parent of Sulaiman, who has won the 'Learning in Families and Communities Individual Award'.

Read all about her success in the article below:

Surrey Adult Learning team attended the awards ceremony on Tuesday 10th June at the London Canal Museum.

Surrey Adult Learning was proud to attend the South East Adult Learners’ Awards at the London Canal Museum to celebrate SAL Learner Rubina Bhatti’s fantastic achievement of winning the Learning in Families and Communities Individual Award.

In its 23rd year, Adult Learners’ Week is a national celebration of lifelong learning coordinated by NIACE (The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education) and supported by the European Union Social Fund and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. This year’s ceremony celebrated 9 individuals, 3 groups, and 1 employer selected from hundreds of regional nominations to receive awards recognising their achievement.

Rubina attended the event with her husband and two sons, Sulaiman (6) and Hamza (13). Rubina’s youngest son had been struggling at school and his teacher thought that they both could benefit from the opportunity of learning together.

She felt very isolated so she jumped at the chance to join a Family Learning class held at her child’s school. Rubina had not had the chance to do any formal learning since she had arrived in the United Kingdom 12 years ago and her first language is Urdu. 

Cheryl Brown, Curriculum Manager of Family Programmes, explains that:
“We [Surrey Adult Learning] have one set of programmes: Family English, Maths and Language. These are our core literacy and language programmes. Rubina took part in a Family Learning course where she could learn alongside her children. Every course is linked to the child. When we engage with parents, we try to get the same Key Stage as the children so that we can link with the way that they are learning English at school and use that to help the parents to be able to support their children.”

“Our courses are always delivered in the family’s locality, ideally with their children’s school, as we are dependent on partnership learning and this also to makes courses easy to access. This also helps bring parents in to environments that they are unsure of, for example, schools where they need to talk to teachers. They are often nervous about this, so we break down the barriers and build up the confidence of parents.”
Nominated by tutor Mária Szende, Rubina was delighted to win an individual award for the outstanding progress that she made on the course. “I never thought that things like this could happen to me” she said. “I just grabbed an opportunity and never thought that I would be here – it’s an amazing feeling. I do not want to stop. I just want to carry on with my studies, go on to college in September to study for my GCSEs in English and Maths.”

“Without the opportunity to attend a Family Learning course, I may have never had the confidence to learn with my child, start volunteering and pursue a career in education. The experience has been life changing.”
Paul Hoffman, Principal of Surrey Adult Learning, attended Tuesday night’s event. “I am really proud of Rubina and also our staff. Our tutors, like Maria, do such a brilliant jobs teaching in family learning. It is a real credit to them as well as the individuals who have made excellent progress.”

“Last year, NIACE published a very important report on the impact of Family Learning. Part of my job is to convince the local county council about the importance of that message. Stories like Rubina’s are inspiring and important for ensuring the future of the service.”

The Learning in Families and Community Individual Award was presented by Kevin Delf, Partnership Director of Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership who sponsored Rubina’s award. “Rubina is someone that we wanted to sponsor because through learning, she has gained incredible confidence, the impact that she has had on her family has been amazing, and she has an inspiring story. She is a real inspiration.”

It was a double-win for Rubina, as she also won the London Canal Museum award winning a fabulous Canal Boat designed cup.

Watch Rubina’s story on YouTube: