Name: Ann Starkie

Lives in: Norwich

Currently studying: IGCSE Biology

Why ICS? Its reputation as the best distance learning provider, and her clients had great things to say about it.

Ann has been a self-employed career guidance counsellor for nine years. She loves her job and has worked hard to make it the successful business it is. However, a lingering dream to be a teacher, a desire to support her daughter and a disappointing 'O level' grade from back in her school days has inspired her to become a student once again.

"I decided to bite the bullet and sign up"

Among Ann's reasons for enrolling in a distance learning course is the opportunity to redeem herself. She hopes to make right a poor grade she received nearly three decades ago.

"I decided this year to bite the bullet and sign up for IGCSE Biology. I had been thinking of retaking biology, which in my day was 'O levels', since I underperformed in it at school in 1986 and got a D," she explains. 

"I didn't know why I had got a D in it, but it always bothered me."

"There was always something more urgent to do"

Ann's decision to sign up for our IGCSE Biology distance learning course has been a long time coming. When she left school, her goal was to eventually become a primary school teacher. Yet, without a science GCSE, and with her own successful business to manage, her teaching dream was put on the backburner.

"I got side tracked, went to university and got a career, had a family, and it didn't seem to ever happen. There was always something more urgent to do.

"My business became successful and the teaching requirements changed. I couldn't now qualify, as I didn't have a science GCSE, so I forgot about it. I really like my job, but I still hanker after the teaching dream. I might never need the IGCSE, but I'll feel better because I got it."

"If I want to study at 9 o'clock at night, I can"

Ann chose distance learning because she needed a flexible study option. Having been self-employed for nearly a decade, she appreciates being able to work according to her own schedule.

"Going on an evening class was not appealing, as I would have to fit this round my work and looking after my family. This way my daughter and I can work together at home. If I want to study at 9 o'clock at night, I can."

"It has brought us really close"

The fact that her 14-year-old daughter is currently preparing for her GCSEs is another reason Ann decided to sign up for the course. Her daughter challenged her to get an IGCSE in one science by the end of 2015.

"I have been encouraging her to work hard for her GCSEs, and we were talking about getting good grades in vital subjects. How could I possibly say to her 'you need to get a C grade or above in sciences', when I hadn't myself?

"She is going to help me with my work and revise with me. It has brought us really close, and I won't be able to say 'O levels' were so much harder, or nag at her for not doing her work if I don't do mine."

"The process was so easy"

For Ann, the decision to study with ICS Learn was simple. As a career guidance counsellor, she had already done a lot of research into distance learning providers. Many of her clients are adults who are too busy to attend evening classes, and she had recommended ICS to them before.

"I chose ICS Learn because of its reputation as the best online learning provider. I also liked that they were respectful and asked when they could phone me back, and that the process was so easy.

"I listened to differed people's experience, and lots of people said ICS was really good. I can join them on a similar journey, and I hope that I can make myself and my daughter proud."

Watch out for more 'ICS Real Stories' right here on our blog. In the meantime, learn more about our IGCSE Biology course.