Joanne Sandison

Learning for Health Award


Learning for Health Award

Joanne didn’t enjoy school, learning to read at a later age than her peers and facing additional challenges in her home life. Years later, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, she enrolled on a course to understand how she could help her family cope with her diagnosis and her perception of learning changed entirely.

School was less significant for me than others growing up, as I had a lot of other things to deal with, spending my teen years in care before turning to drugs and ending up on the streets. I changed my life dramatically when I met my husband and we started a family together. Because of my children’s ADHD, cerebral palsy and learning difficulties, we decided to home school them with the support of the LEA and SEND department.

My life turned upside down when I was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2021. I wanted to show my children that I wasn’t giving up, and enrolled on my first course, Manage Worries Positively, to help support them to cope with my diagnosis. Since then, I’ve completed other courses to improve mine and my family’s wellbeing, including courses in reading, phonics and science to help me better support my children’s learning too.

My attitude towards learning has radically transformed since from my school days. As well as making me happier and more confident, it’s helped me to control my stress and given me something to focus on other than my diagnosis. Learning has also helped me think of fun and exciting ways to help my children learn too, bringing us closer as a family. I don’t know where I’d be without it.

Laura Trowbridge, Family and Community Learning Tutor and Wiltshire Council, said:

“Joanne’s achievements and attitude to learning are inspirational. She is an excellent role model for other learners in her classes. Coming back in to learning as an adult was a huge step for Joanne but she is a shining example of how learning can build confidence.”