Meet our learners

Welcome to our case studies page, where you can learn more about some of our student experiences.

Each year, thousands of students work to achieve their goals with the support of NEC. Our courses cater for students looking to learn around varied schedules, and we are flexible enough to cater to any distance learning situation. Examples include an RAF serviceman who studies from his placement overseas, parents looking to return to work after raising children, mature students with full time jobs or home educated teenagers working towards GCSEs and A-Levels.

This is just a small sample of people who have worked towards their ambitions with NEC, and there are many more taking advantage of our flexible courses. A survey of our current students shows that they range from less than 16 years old all the way up to 85 years young. We also have learners based around the world working their studies around all kinds of employment, whether full time or part-time. Students come from all walks of life to learn with NEC. You can meet some of them below:

Isobel Hughes, home-educated NEC student

Isobel Hughes, GCSEs and IGCSEs

Home-educated Isobel found learning with NEC to be a fantastic way to study for her IGCSEs before moving on to study A levels in a college. Isobel’s father taught her maths himself, but she chose four more subjects from NEC to study as well: English language, geography, biology and child development.

Read Isobel's story

Mark Ward, NEC student and RAF serviceman

Mark Ward, A level English Language

Mark chose to study with NEC due to the very specific demands placed upon him by his job. A serviceman with the Royal Air Force, he studied for an A level while deployed in various European countries and Afghanistan – a situation which made conventional classroom-based learning impossible.

Read Mark's story

Sarah Yewman, NEC Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce student

Sarah Yewman, Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce

When Sarah was looking to return to work following a break from her career to bring up children, she found an NEC course to be the perfect way to do so. Her story was picked up by Teach Nursery magazine, which ran a full-page interview with Sarah about her experiences of studying with NEC.

Read Sarah's story

Tracy Pettey, NEC CMI Level 3 Certificate in First Line Management student

Tracy Pettey, CMI Level 3 Certificate in First Line Management

With a busy home life and a six-year-old son to look after, mature student Tracy chose distance learning because it allowed her to fit studying around other commitments. She received sponsorship from her employer, with the agreement that she fitted her NEC course around her home life.

Read Tracey's story

NEC learner Elliot Stevens

Elliot Stevens, GCSEs, IGCSEs and A levels

Elliot has studied with NEC for many years, at both secondary and further-education level. He achieved top grades in his exams for A levels in government and politics, history and law, and was subsequently accepted to study law at Cambridge University’s Robinson College.

Read Elliot's story

NEC learner Kathryn Tompsett

Kathryn Tompsett, A level Psychology

Kathryn's school sixth form didn't offer psychology at A level, so she opted to study for a distance learning A level with NEC alongside her other classroom-based A level courses. She had a lot of questions before she began, but once she got into the swing of things she found that distance learning suited her.

Read Kathryn's story

NEC learner Catherine Speechley chose to study IGCSEs in Biology and French

Catherine Speechley, IGCSE Biology and French

Catherine has what she describes as a haphazard routine, with her hours of work always changing. She enjoyed school, but was frustrated at having to drop some subjects because there was a limit to the number of GCSEs pupils could do. Now in her 40s, she's catching up with the subjects she left behind.

Read Catherine's story

NEC learner Sue Deans' original student record during her studies with NEC in the 1960s

Sue Deans, A level Critical Thinking

Sue Deans first studied with NEC in the 1960s and went on to a career as an English teacher. Forty years on, Sue has come back to NEC and talks in her own words about the story of her educational journey, from leaving school at 16 to studying for an A level in Critical Thinking in her 60s.

Read Sue's story

NEC learner James Barker

James Barker, IGCSE Combined Science

NEC's location in the UK means many of our students are British residents, but we also have a number of international students for whom our courses provide a means to access education that might otherwise be unavailable. James is one such student, enrolling all the way from Korea to study with us.

Read James' story

NEC learner Victoria Foster chose to study a GCSE in Maths

Victoria Foster, GCSE Maths

All her working life, Victoria had felt frustrated that she wasn't able to pass her maths O level while she was at school. One summer, she realised that if other people could study for GCSEs in their 50s then so could she, and so made a pledge to achieve the grade C in maths that had eluded her over 30 years ago.

Read Victoria's story

NEC learner Lottie Blunden chose to study an A level in Biology

Lottie Blunden

Lottie, a single parent of four, is in her first year at university studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in midwifery. Getting to university meant starting virtually from scratch with science after a 25-year gap, at the same time as holding down waitressing, admin and cleaning jobs to support her family.

Read Lottie's story

NEC learner Kathryn Corrall

Kathryn Corrall

Kathryn is on a high: she is off to King’s College London to study for an English degree. She can hardly wait to leave her family home in the countryside for a new life in the big city and is already getting her teeth into Cervantes’ Don Quixote, the first novel on the syllabus.

Read Kathryn's story