A pensioner has shown that age is no barrier to learning by returning to the classroom more than 70 years after he left school. 87-year-old Stan Holley has been attending English and maths lessons every Friday at Stourbridge College.

“Coming to college has given me a new lease of life,” said Stan, who left school at 14 to train as a carpenter. “I enrolled on my courses last September and it’s done me a lot of good to be able to better myself.”

Not only is Stan getting to grips with everything from grammar to graphs, his exam marks are also improving. “I achieved 75% and 69% in my last maths and English tests and am aiming for top marks,” he continued. “I’ve come this far so it seems silly not to aim higher.

“Being in college hasn’t fazed me at all. Everyone here wants the same thing, which is to learn and we all support one another. The teachers are fantastic too.”

Stan’s family which includes two sons and three great grandchildren are also keeping a close eye on his progress.

“My family have been encouraging me to keep active. I was a carpenter for 50 years and retired to take care of my wife who was ill. I kept up with the carpentry, fixing up a few bits of furniture around the house but I’m not physically able to do as much as I used to. This is what spurred me into coming back to education, along with becoming a widower.

“I’m so glad I became a student again. I do have homework and the lessons can be challenging, but they’re also quite social. There’s a wide mix of people. Although we all like to have a laugh and joke, we soon knuckle down when our teachers expect us to.”

On completing his Functional Skills English and maths programmes, Stan hopes to begin Level 1 qualifications in September.

“There’s so much out there to discover, especially with emails and researching things online,” Stan added. “I love the idea of being able to explore and having something to show for it afterwards by way of an exam result, essay mark and qualification.”

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