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Student with limited mobility wins Learner of the Year award

A pupil at Wilson Stuart School, Tiarney Calder, has been awarded the Learner of the Year in the new ‘Against All Odds’ category in our Aspiration Awards. An inspiring individual, with a determined spirit and incredible drive, Tiarney is a deserving winner of the Learner of the Year – Against All Odds award.

Tiarney has limited mobility and can only move her head, relying on two nurses to be with her to look after her medical needs at all times. Currently a Year 11 pupil, Tiarney finds producing work very tiring and absorbing information difficult, but she is dedicated and never gives up.

Using technology to overcome challenges

Tiarney studied the Level 2 Award in Creative Craft from NCFE, and has exceeded beyond hers and her teachers expectations when she first undertook the subject. Tiarney previously struggled to make progress in art at school until she found ways in which to adapt and work with her disabilities to demonstrate her talents. Incredibly, Tiarney can use her mouth to paint and has also embraced technology, with the help of her school, and uses a sensor dot on her nose to move her cursor on her laptop. Using Computer Animated Design technology (C.A.D) to produce her final exam project, she was able to design her own shapes to be cut on the laser cutter. Extremely creative, this qualification allows Tiarney to express herself, and has also helped improve her understanding of numeracy, including shapes, measuring, diameters and millimetres, as part of her C.A.D. skills.

Tiarney is fantastic at providing adults with information and instructions, as she has excellent communication skills. She works efficiently with adults so that they can scribe for her, she is also able to check her work and has the confidence to ask adults to modify scribed comments.

Tiarney is very caring to her peers’ wellbeing, always sharing words of encouragement when others are concerned about workload. Her positive attitude in the classroom never goes unnoticed.

Award supporting future learning

As Tiarney hopes to continue her learning at college, studying digital media, as a prize NCFE awarded her with a new laptop and head-mouse, which will allow her to express her creativity by using the latest technology.

Natasha Fowler, Art and Design Technology Co-ordinator at Wilson Stuart School said: “Tiarney is an inspiration to us all. A creative and passionate learner with a fantastic work ethic. We know she will flourish at college and her choice of digital media will work towards her strengths. Well done!”

Tiarney commented: “I am so proud and honoured to receive this award. We all face challenges in our day to day lives, but we must face them head on and never give up! Thank you to NCFE for the recognition. The up-to-date specialist equipment I can use at college is an extremely useful prize to support my future learning.”

Tiarney’s mum, Victoria Kane said: “Tiarney faces challenges most days, but she never gives up and I am so proud of her dedication and hard work. It is great to see her passion for digital media and the equipment funded by NCFE will make it much easier to gain access to her course.”

About the awards

This is the second year of the Aspiration Awards, where we asked schools and teachers to nominate a ‘Learner of the Year’ with big aspirations and the determination to see it though. The scheme was developed to recognise learners who are using technical qualifications to help them reach their goals and make positive improvements to their life.


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