Mum’s the word as student Mary is taught by her own daughter

Mary Walker
Mary Walker

A GRANDMA proved age is no barrier when she went back to school at 69 and passed exams with flying colours – after being taught by her daughter.

Mary Walker became a student again four years after she retired from the health service, where she had worked for 40 years.

English Martyrs School and Sixth Form teacher Cath Walker ,with her mum Mary

English Martyrs School and Sixth Form teacher Cath Walker ,with her mum Mary

At the front of the classroom was a familiar face as her daughter Cath Walker, 46, is head of psychology, law and sociology at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College.

And after two years of hard work and assistance from her daughter, Mary achieved an A grade in A-Level sociology at the school in Catcote Road, Hartlepool.

But Mary, who describes herself as a “lifelong learner”, is planning on re-sitting one module to try and boost the mark up to an A*.

The former senior nurse told the Hartlepool Mail: “It was very interesting.

“I saw a completely different side to my daughter and it was impressive. I found the school very inspirational and it was a pleasure meeting the students on the course.

“I got to see young people from a different point of view and they were lovely.

“Before I started, I felt self-conscious and insecure and people were asking ‘what are you doing?’ But everyone has been welcoming and not critical at all.”

Mum-of-two Cath came up with the idea for her mum to do the course after Mary hurt her foot.

The former nurse usually goes on walks to keep busy but was left sitting around her home in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough.

She started the course in 2009 and took to it like a duck to water and quickly became a popular member of the group, despite being almost four times the age of most of her fellow students.

Mum-of-two Cath, who lives in Lanchester with archaeologist husband Damien, 45, said: “It was really good having her here, though she is a hard task master.

“She has high expectations of herself and is even going to re-sit one of the modules because she wants an A*.

“She has always been like that all of her life and has led by example, always wanting to do the best she can do.

“My mum has been an inspiration to me and the other students she has met.

“They have looked up to her and they have been able to debate things more thor I wish all classes could have such a mix of experience.”

Mary, who is also mum to Andrew, 43, and is married to retired printer Ged, 73, was awarded a Lifelong Learning Award at the college’s annual celebration of achievement.

Headteacher Michael Lee praised Mary for her achievement, and added: “She certainly lives up to the adage that you are never too old to learn something new.”