Our Learners

Our Learners 2017-06-12T08:21:53+00:00

Celebrating the success of our learners

Kim Huggins

ICT and Administration

Kim started studying with CALAT and the end of 2015 and has since gone on to pass 4 courses; ICT levels 1 and 2 and Administration levels 1 and 2.
Having worked in a Doctors surgery and as an Estate agent I would do anything I could to avoid working with computers. I was too embarrassed to admit to people that I had dyslexia and felt stupid because I couldn’t do even the most simple thing on a PC.

After CALAT was recommended to me I finally found the courage to sign up and I am so glad I did, it really has changed my life.

I had a bit of a wobble on my first course and nearly gave it all up but the teachers were so
engaged with me as a person as opposed to just a pupil, they saw my needs without me
having to express them and made me, for the first time, feel comfortable about my dyslexia which gave me the courage to truly open up and learn. I wanted to do it for my teachers as well as myself, Lesley, Maxine, Judy and Elaine were absolutely amazing.

We all worked as a team in the classes, we all had our strengths and helped each other out with the things that we didn’t understand, it was a real family unit.

After so many years of denial I realised that no matter how tough it was, and believe me it was really tough, I had to face up to my learning problems and deal with them. I used to think it was easier to fail…now I think you have to try your hardest even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.

I am so proud of how far I have come. You don’t have to write yourself off. There are places, like CALAT, where you go and learn and grow in an amazing environment and I couldn’t praise them more highly.

Kim is now applying for jobs as a receptionist or administrator and also in the Child care sector.

Sherine Nooks

Entry Level 3 English and Maths

In 2012 Sherine knew she had to make some radical changes in her life, this realisation led her to CALAT where she has been studying ever since.

Growing up in Jamaica, Sherine did not receive the kind of education we all deserve and it was not until she had two daughters of school age that her own education became a stumbling block to helping theirs.

Since enrolling with CALAT she has passed English and Maths Entry levels 1 and 2 and is currently studying for English Entry level 3.

Studying with CALAT has really improved my confidence and has made me push myself to the next level and continue improving. The staff are brilliant and have never let me give up when I have a rough day, I have made lots of friends with the other learners, we are like a little family and we all enjoying learning together. I am now able to help my daughters with their Maths and English homework and filling out forms and things is not scary anymore which gives me real joy .For that I could not recommend CALAT enough.’

 ‘Next I want to go on to study more advanced courses so I can find a good job in Health and Social Care. I have to keep pushing myself so I can learn more and so my daughters can see that if you want to achieve a goal then you must work hard.’

Leanne Gomes


When I first started learning Portuguese at home on my own in 2012 I found it really difficult. It was hard as many apps or websites only cater for Brazilian Portuguese and I wanted to learn European, it was also hard without a teacher there to explain things to you and other learners to practice with.

 I searched around London for classes and was so delighted to find CALAT, I’ve now been studying Portuguese once a week at CALAT for almost 3 years and I absolutely love the support from my tutor as well as the comradery and support from my classmates.

 My language skills are always improving and I love putting them into practice when I visit my husband’s family in Lisbon. Last year I even managed to get some practice in whilst visiting Rio de Janeiro.

 It’s not just my skills that have grown, it’s my confidence too. When I was learning by myself I would be too scared to attempt to try and communicate with Portuguese speakers in case I made a mistake or wasn’t understood. My CALAT tutor has given me the confidence to always try and have a go, and it’s improved my fluency so much.

It’s been really important to me to be able to have the confidence to speak and communicate in Portuguese as my husband’s family speak very little English. Being able to communicate with them has been a dream come true and I still love learning and progressing.

 In June 2016 I sat my Portuguese GCSE exam and achieved an overall grade A which I am so proud of! In August of the same year, my husband and I got married in Portugal and not only was I able to communicate to the florist, the venue and the photographer in advance of the day to help organise everything, I also managed to get through the entire wedding ceremony in Portuguese!

 I am looking forward to continuing to learn and improve at CALAT with the support of my tutor and my classmates. I would recommend learning a language to anyone, it helps exercise your brain but also opens up an amazing new perspective on other cultures.

Yadigar Garner

Our Learners 1

Maths & English Student

Yadigar came to the UK from Turkey 10 years ago to work as an au-pair. After marrying and having two children she went to university to study for an arts degree and it was here that she realised she wanted to become a teacher.

To do this Yadigar was advised that she would need to improve her English and Maths which is when she first came to CALAT and enrolled on an ESOL course. She studied hard to improve her English and achieved her Level 1.

Having taken all the right steps to achieving her final goal it was necessary for her to gain a Level 2 qualification in English and Maths and immediately she knew where she would go to get what she needed.

‘CALAT have been so helpful and understanding. They could see what I was capable of achieving where I could not and welcomed me on to the courses with open arms. I have also been working as a volunteer for the Learning Support department to get experience and develop more skills while I finish my teacher training which has been such a rewarding thing to do.’

Yadigar would not hesitate in recommending CALAT to other people saying, ‘I have met and made friends with people from all over the world while studying with CALAT, the classes are fun and the tutors are so kind, nothing is too much trouble for them as they really want everyone to achieve their potential. Some people have said I couldn’t do what I have done so I am very happy that I am going to realise my dream of being a teacher and pass on what I have learnt to other people’.

Rebecca Davies

Our Learners 1

Small Business Owner

I was already running a business that decorated cakes for dogs, crazy I know, but I wanted to improve my skills to take the business to the next level and knew CALAT was where I needed to go.

Attending the classes was difficult as I had just lost my mum and was suffering from panic attacks but all the staff at CALAT were amazingly supportive and they let me bring a friend to the classes which was the only way I could have got through them. At no point did anyone make me feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about my issues, they only ever wanted to help me.

I know CALAT doesn’t do cake decorating classes anymore but this is about the confidence and self-belief the organisation gave me to succeed and the support they offer all their learners.

Photo by grant Melton, Croydon advertiser

Trudy Harris

Our Learners 2

Early Years Education Student

Trudy completed her Level 2 introduction to Early Years Education and Care in July 2015 and used her qualification to on to bigger and better things.

‘Things are going really well since I finished my course. I have been working as an Early Years assistant in a pre-school nursery in South Croydon since May of last year and after getting my qualification was promoted to their 2nd SENCO (Special Education Needs Coordinator) in January 2016 and given the responsibility of those with SEN as my key children.

I’m really enjoying myself and really pleased I came to CALAT to study, in fact I can’t wait to start my level 3!’

Mary Simpson

Our Learners 3

French Student

Since I retired I have been attending a French class run by CALAT at Croydon Clocktower.  I had studied French for A Level many years ago, but I wanted to improve my speaking.  I have a house in France and need to talk to neighbours and to deal with all sorts of household matters.

The class is really great.  The teacher, who is French, gives us lots of opportunities to speak and provides an amazing range of activities on different topics. Using what I have learnt in my classes I’ve been able to write poetry, read a number of books and even take part in discussions on literature, philosophy and politics! I never thought I’d be able to do this in French but with the support of our teacher and the other members of the class it somehow seems quite easy, and I definitely feel more confident about communicating when I go to France.

We have to do homework every week – usually reading some chapters of a book and researching a topic.  At first this seemed like a bit of a chore but with all the encouragement I have received and the progress I can see myself making I came to quite enjoy it. After all, you need to put in a bit of effort to learn new things, and it’s definitely good for older people to keep the brain active!

Dan Jones

Our Learners 3

Spanish Student

Dan Jones always knew he wanted to travel.
After finishing University he worked up in London to save up the money he needed to make his dream come true. As South America was his chosen
destination learning the language was something he knew he had to do if he was to make the most of his adventure.

“I researched loads of potential learning venues for Spanish courses but CALAT was far and away the best choice. My tutor was excellent and I felt the course progression was really well measured with real results from the beginning.”

Dan passed his course and, with his girlfriend Catherine is now in the middle of a 12 month trip all over South America.

Michelle Theophilus

Our Learners 1

GCSE English Student

When mother of two, Michelle Theophilus, decided to become a teacher, it was daunting to discover she needed to take GCSE English all over again. She was working more than 16 hours a week, caring for her disabled mother and pregnant with a third child but nothing was going to stop her. She did homework at dawn before the children were up and spent three hours in the classroom every Saturday. She worked at home and at the library.

“Fitting study round your life is challenging and you have to be very motivated” said Michelle. She praised her teacher Muniza Kahn. “Muniza was there for us through the week and happy to take calls, texts and emails if we had questions between classes.

Michelle scored an A-grade English GCSE and took another step towards her goal.


Trish Robertson

Our Learners 2

French Student

“I took French at CALAT to prove my old schoolteacher wrong. I was good at speaking and spelling French but because I wasn’t good at grammar my teacher said I’d never succeed. So I dropped French as soon as possible.

I didn’t take it up again until I was semi-retired (from opera singing). There were two reasons; I really enjoyed it when the languages coached at the Opera houses taught me sing in French, German and Russian. Also, I’m getting older and learning a language is good for your memory.

I very much like my teacher, Gaetane Jones. She makes me feel I can make mistakes. If I get something wrong she’ll correct me but in a sensitive, diplomatic way.”