Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group


Y, St Andrew’s Birmingham

My Adult Learner Journey

Hello my name is Y. I am twenty-two years old and I live in the West Midlands area. I’m originally from South Wales and I am a Muslim. I went to a mainstream school where I learnt the basics in maths, English and Welsh, I really enjoyed learning Welsh. When I went to high school I started to learn the above subjects in more depth along with other subjects including science and French. I loved going to school as I got to see my friends and catch up with them.

I then went to a secure hospital where I took the opportunity to further my education in literacy and maths, achieving literacy at level 1. I did this course because I wanted to gain more qualifications in English as this was an area I needed improvement on. I have also recently enrolled on a course external to the hospital which is in British Sign Language (BSL), as this is a subject I really enjoy. Doing this studying has helped provide structure to my day and helped with my therapeutic engagement.

Due to where I was studying there were many difficulties which included: escorting to the education department, staffing levels, my own physical and mental health problems and the side effects of medication I was taking. However, there have been many people who have helped me to achieve and these people have included: teachers, technical instructors, occupational therapists and my multidisciplinary team.

My message to you is that studying education in your adult life can help give you a better chance at a more successful job in the future and like me it will help you in life.

St Andrew’s Birmingham

St Andrew’s Birmingham is a regional site of St Andrew’s, an independent national teaching hospital pioneering in mental health. St Andrew’s is a university learning and research centre partnered with Kings College London. It is the UK’s leading charity providing specialist NHS care.

The Birmingham site consists of eight units covering three care pathways: men’s mental health, women’s mental health and ASD (men’s). A small team offers education as part of the therapeutic programme. Many of our learners have one to one education sessions or very small groups (two to three), where we promote self–esteem by encouraging patients’ motivation to take part in education sessions. We embed literacy, numeracy, and IT skills through personalised learning programmes. We work with a range of other disciplines, including occupational therapy and psychology to encourage engagement in as many different ways as possible. Our patients have complex mental health needs and issues which impact on concentration and motivation but they gain confidence over time to engage in sessions. We shared three learners’ stories with you here.


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