Mary Murray is an Essential Skills and GCSE numeracy tutor with a well-established reputation for excellence. Her classes are always full, and learners request to attend her sessions because they’ve heard about her from friends, family or neighbours.

Despite always wanting to be a maths teacher, Mary pursued a different career path but after attending adult learning classes to improve her computer skills she was inspired to think she could teach adults. After volunteering in a maths class, she gained a PGCE and achieved her goal.

Mary has become the go-to person in Torfaen Adult Community Learning for maths tutors to gain advice and guidance on classroom management, delivery methods and quality. This support extends to tutors outside of the borough who come to her to develop their own provision.

She says, “My mission is to show learners that maths can be fun and not the scary subject they thought it was at school. Not only will it keep their minds active, but it will provide social interaction. For parents it’s a way of keeping up with their children and often leads learners to think more about their careers.”

There are many examples of learners who have achieved and moved onto higher levels of learning – one learner had no qualifications, after joining Mary’s class she progressed to take the GCSE, later gained a degree and now has a job in a school. This learner has become a great advocate for adult learning and encourages the parents at the school to return to learn.

Gaining qualifications isn’t the only measure of Mary’s success and many of her learners have gained important life skills. The impact of her work is evident in the learner who no longer hands over her purse because she couldn’t work out how much money to give the shop assistant, or the learner who can read a timetable and spends less time at the bus stop hoping the right bus will come along.