A STORE manager from West Moors has returned to her old school to finish her GCSEs – 21 years after first sitting the paper.

Former Ferndown Upper School student Louise Rae had hoped to be a primary school teacher in 1998. However, she was disappointed by her English and maths results and took on a job at the town’s Tesco superstore instead.

However, this year, Louise decided she wanted to take the exams again – and earlier this summer she returned to her old school hall to take English again.

On Thursday, she discovered she’d passed both English and maths, which she studied as part of a distance learning course. Louise will now study with the Open University to become a primary school teacher.

She said: “I took my GCSEs in the late 90s, but I didn’t get the results I wanted.

“I’d planned to be a primary school teacher, but I didn’t get good enough results and I got myself a job instead. I’ve worked at Tesco for the past 20 years, and I’m the manager of the phone shop there.

“I decided recently that I didn’t want to do it any more. What I really wanted was to teach.

“But in order to do that, I needed my maths and English.”

Louise studied for her English GCSE with an education and training programme in Dorset. She studied for her maths course online. After months of hard work, she was rewarded with good grades this week.

“I got a 5 in maths and a 7 in English – a B and an A in old GCSEs,” she said.

“I’m just over the moon. I wish it had meant nearly this much to me when I was studying the first time, although it’s better late than never.”

“I struggled with the maths in particular because I don’t know anyone who really enjoys it, and because of my timetable I had to learn it by myself, so I’m really pleased with my result for that.”

Louise has handed in her notice at Tesco, and is moving to Devon to begin her four-year Open University course.

“I’ll be studying primary education,” she said.

“My whole life is changing. It’s just been so unbelievable.”

Louise returned to Ferndown Upper School to complete her English exam.

“It was so strange to go back into that school hall as an adult to do my GCSE, 21 years on,” she said.

“I was really lucky because everyone was lovely. The lady who organised it for me put me at ease – she was so helpful. I’d like to say a big thank you to them all.”