Learning Stories

Learning has the power to change lives. Our growing collection of learning stories feature Bristol citizens who share how learning has made a difference to their lives and the many ways and places they have learnt - through friends, activities, formal education and work.


  1. Featured Learning Stories

  2. Learning Story for December - meet Lawayne!
  3. I started out as a parent governor when my son joined the sixth form at Redland Green School. He left many years ago now, but I have continued in my role.
  4. I have always been involved in education. My mother, aunts and uncles were teachers and headteachers, so it’s been part of my entire life, as have volunteering and social work. I have also taught and tutored all my adult life while working as a communications professional. Being a governor was part of this continuum.
  5. Being a school governor has brought me opportunities for personal and professional development in areas I may never have considered. It has provided opportunities to build networks and increase my awareness of the social and economic landscape, particularly in relation to education, so that I can broaden my volunteer work and support. I have also met an amazing set of people.
  6. Imgur: The magic of the Internet
    Imgur: The magic of the Internet
  7. I think through volunteering as a governor I have become increasingly altruistic: becoming a better human being. I find myself mentoring many young people I come across in daily life. I often feel I am every young person’s ‘auntie’. In fact, they often say I am like their auntie! Often young people will just approach me and start a conversation and before you know it it’s a whole confidence boosting, or career dreams support conversation. And they are so joyful at the end of the conversation.
  8. The sense of achievement and satisfaction from being a school governor and watching the school grow from strength to strength is astonishing – and since starting my role as a school governor, I have expanded my involvement to more Bristol schools and have supported more and more young people and fellow governors.
  9. By being a school governor I feel that I have been able to make a difference to my community and support and improve the quality of life of young people. It’s been a way to avoid boredom and tedium and enjoy a fuller and more satisfied and dynamic life.
  10. If you’re thinking of becoming a governor then I would certainly recommend seeking out as many training opportunities as possible. Take on new and different responsibilities to widen your areas of expertise and feed your curiosity by reading and research. Most of all always keep at the core the determination to do what is best for the children and young people.
  11. The Bristol Learning City partnership launched the ‘Be a Governor‘ campaign on 6 December 2017. People can register their interest for becoming a school governor or trustee on the Inspiring Governance website.
  12. Learning Story for November - meet Dominika!
  13. I am an A-level student currently studying Geography, Sociology and Business. I have a huge passion for geography and especially sustainability; however there aren’t many activities outside the curriculum that involve the subject.

    When I learnt about Catalyst Bootcamp, a three day residential programme in Bristol that supports young women to be change-makers for green careers and the planet, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to sign up! I wanted to learn about different career paths that can be taken to enforce sustainability, whilst being able to improve my confidence.

    I was positively surprised by the Catalyst Boot camp, everything was better than I expected and my expectations were already really high. Everyone was friendly and each guest speaker was an interesting individual who talked to us about their sustainable experiences. Getting to share our own sustainability ideas and understanding of the world was something that I really liked about the programme, as well as the confidence building sessions.
  14. Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
    Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
  15. Since the bootcamp, I have become more concerned about learning people’s opinions and looking at things from different perspectives. However, the biggest change is that I try to think of a sustainable solution in every situation – be it pollution around a school or traffic around a town.

    I have become more organised and calm about my future. Also I know how to deal with stress and anxiety due to the motivational sessions and I’m not afraid to speak up. I have also been able to consider many different options and career paths – I have become really interested in taking a gap year after hearing people talk about their experience of traveling. However, I also liked how the guest speakers would describe their way to success, showing that going to university is not the only choice if you’re not that interested in it; but in the end, it still made me more eager to go.

    If you are interested in sustainability and want to learn more about it, the bootcamp is the best way to do it and you get to meet many amazing people.
    Catalyse Change CIC held their first Catalyst Bootcamp at the University of Bristol in August 2017. The programme was a mix of sustainability speakers, mentors and personal development tools. Bursaries were offered to a number of participants, including Dominika whose bursary was funded by Pukka Teas.

    Next year’s Catalyst Bootcamp will be held at the University of Bristol on 1-3 August 2018. Find out more: catalyschange.com.
  16. Learning Story for October - meet Roger!
  17. As a young boy growing up in west Cornwall, I was an avid follower of sport on the radio and the early days of Saturday Grandstand on black and white TV.
  18. The opportunities to watch top-level sport live were limited and my contact was limited to listening, viewing and writing off for autographs and match programmes as well as collecting sports books.
  19. I often fell into a fantasy world of commentating on major sporting events and living imaginary moments as a top sports journalist, including test matches and Olympic Games.
  20. There was little encouragement to lead my career path in that direction and my career went in other ways.
  21. Imagine my delight when, in my fifties, I was given the opportunity to be the emergency stand-in announcer at Clifton Rugby Club through someone not turning up.
  22. The role quickly became permanent and one day at a match in Cornwall I was invited to commentate on matches for BBC Radio Cornwall when their teams played in the Bristol area. At last a childhood dream had become a reality, a few decades on!
  23. The commentating led to writing match reports and producing press releases for both national and regional papers. This also led me to being invited to be the ‘microphone man’ at other non-sporting events.
  24. Learning new skills and enjoying different experiences has been great fun and it shows that you should never give up on your dreams, no matter how old you are.