Learner up for award

PUBLISHED: 16:30 25 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:33 05 July 2010

Nominee Mary Stephens

Nominee Mary Stephens

A QUALIFIED lipreading teacher from Oulton Broad is in with a chance of winning a national educational award after being nominated by one of her tutors.

A QUALIFIED lipreading teacher from Oulton Broad is in with a chance of winning a national educational award after being nominated by one of her tutors.

Mary Stephens has been nominated for a NIACE (National Institute of Adult Continuing Education) individual adult learner's award by Heléne Ferguson after impressing during her 18 months training at the City Lit, in Covent Garden.

Mary, who lost around 80pc of her hearing about 35 years ago, has managed to lead as normal a life as possible through lipreading and visual clues and has gone on to successfully obtain a dual qualification in the theory and practical teaching of lipreading and the City and Guilds 7407 Certificate in Further and Adult Education - level one stage four.

Each year NIACE, which exists to promote the interests of a diverse range of learners, encourages nominations from colleges, businesses, adult education providers, museums and libraries as part of their Adult Learners' Week Awards 2008.

This special week in May is the UK's largest festival of learning and each nominee illustrates how learning as an adult can create confidence, inspire new careers and completely transform lives for the better.

Mrs Stephens said: “When I first found out that Heléne wanted to nominate me for this award I was gobsmacked as firstly I'd never heard of NIACE or the awards, and secondly, although I felt I had worked very hard on the course, so did everyone else. The course was a huge challenge for me and one I wanted to complete successfully, so I gave it my best, as I do with everything.”

Mary is set to receive a certificate of achievement celebrating her nomination, while if she is chosen as a winner she will receive a learning voucher and will be invited to an awards ceremony held during Adult Learners' Week.

City Lit also organises a special ceremony and invites all of its nominees to attend the event.

Mary currently runs two classes on Wednesdays at the SDA building, in Blackheath Road, Lowestoft, and two classes on Thursdays at Maltings Meadow Sports Club, in Ditchingham.

Anyone interested in joining the classes, which are free to those with hearing loss or their partners, should contact the association at Suffolk Deaf Association, 49 Fonnerau Road, Ipswich IP1 3JN, call 01473 251179 or email

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