Shaunna Bond, 31, mum to Violet, aged eight, and Iris, six, dropped out of school at just 15-years-old after struggling with bullying and was left without qualifications.
This got in the way of her dreams to complete a teaching degree – so after becoming a mum, Shaunna decided to return to her local college.
She soon passed English, Science and Maths GCSEs at Harlow Adult Community College.
Shaunna, who returned to school thanks to the government-led Skills for Life campaign, said: “Going back to school as an adult and as a mum was very challenging, but definitely worth it. When I started college, my older daughter was only 18 months old and I was pregnant with my younger daughter when sitting my science GSCE.
"The greatest challenge apart from pregnancy was child care. I didn't want to miss too much time with my children but needed to have time to study. Another issue was struggling with confidence. When you go back to school as an adult, you haven't done it in a long time and there is this weird little fear you get.
"Being a parent and going back to school is a challenge but it also drives you forward because you want to do better for your children.”
After passing her GCSEs Shauna went to Herefordshire University and completed a bachelors degree in education.
She said: “What drove me back to school was a dream to become a teacher. I spoke to one of my friends who was a teacher, and they pointed me in the right direction of what qualifications I needed. I made a plan and I followed it. I am very proud that I completed a degree in education.”
But after graduating from the university, Shaunna did not follow a career education.
She said: “I have a very fulfilling office job in the care sector. I’m helping to find housing for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs and I really enjoy this. My experience of teaching those with special educational needs has really helped me in my current job.
"Going back to school and getting a degree opened a lot more doors for me.”
She added: “I would like to say to other parents who consider going back to school – just do it. You don't have anything to lose, but you've got so much to gain. Even if you're not doing it to gain a certain career, it is a great confidence boost.
“Going back to school can help you prove to yourself that you are not and it builds confidence in yourself. It also shows your kids that you are unstoppable and you can do whatever you want, regardless of being a parent or not."
Shaunna also had a message for any children struggling with bullying at school.
She said: “If you are having any trouble with bullying, don’t be scared to speak up. If you're struggling, just talk to someone, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.”