18-year-old Nicole Bussey first joined the Kumon Earlsfield Study Centre when she was seven years old. She started the Kumon Maths Programme at a level where she was learning to write numbers up to 120 and developing mental calculation ability with adding 1 up to adding 3.
Now, 11 years later, Nicole is about to take a huge step in her educational path, as she joins Oxford University to study Russian and Linguistics. She credits much of her success at school and in her exams to her time with Kumon.
Nicole said: “I joined Kumon because I was jealous as lots of my friends did it. I have always loved maths, and the idea of extra maths appealed to me!
“I studied economics to AS level and obtained an A, and I studied maths, Russian, and geography to A-level, achieving A*, A*, A respectively. I was over the moon when I received my grades, but I was particularly proud of my maths grade.
“Kumon has greatly helped my maths ability, as without it I would never have even taken maths A-level, let alone achieved the grade I ended up with. I think it also essentially got me into Oxford, as without Kumon I would never have obtained a place at my secondary school. Without my place there I would never have achieved the results I got both at GCSE and A-level, and without those grades there would have not been a shot at me even getting an interview at Oxford, let alone a place!
“Kumon also greatly boosted my confidence, not only in my mathematics skills but also in general.”
For Nicole, even though she had a passion for maths, there were still a few bumps in the road. She said: “I experienced some struggles throughout my Kumon journey, ranging from difficult worksheets to making the decision to stop my Kumon studies (still a decision I regret to this day as soon as I stopped, my maths became a struggle which it never used to be).”
Alongside her school work and Kumon study, Nicole has also worked as an assistant at the Kumon Earlsfield Study Centre. She said: “I’ve now been an assistant at the centre for just over two extremely enjoyable years.
“I love the way it reminds me of my childhood, and of the many afternoons I spent in the centre myself completing my work. I also love helping others, as the help I received from both the assistants, and most importantly Instructor Jeremy, was pivotal to my educational progress, not just at Kumon but at school, and I hope it will follow on into university.
“Being an assistant has also allowed me to appreciate the importance of good teaching, as Jeremy was an amazing help throughout my journey and always encouraged me to be the best I can be, both as my Instructor and as my boss!”
Jeremy Collis, Instructor at the Kumon Earlsfield Study Centre, has enjoyed having the opportunity to watch Nicole grow, both academically and personally, and see her dreams come true. He said: “We are immensely proud of what Nicole has achieved. Nicole was not the strongest maths student when she started, but quickly showed that she had potential. She worked diligently through the levels – easily at first, and then with determination as the work became more difficult.
“As well as determination, Nicole always maintained her sense of humour. No matter how difficult she found a topic, she was still able to smile in class. As a class assistant, Nicole has been a great asset, using her maths skills, humour and empathy as a former Kumon student to help even the weakest students achieve their potential.”
Now, as Nicole prepares to make the move to Oxford, she has reflected on her Kumon journey and what she has learnt during her time with at the Earlsfield Study Centre:
“The main thing I will take away is that rewards come with perseverance, whether it be progressing to the next level of your individual journey, or helping a child as an assistant, and seeing their immense progress, both in English and maths. Overall, Kumon was an amazing experience, and one that I will definitely encourage my own children to participate in!”
We always delight in hearing how Kumon has helped a student to achieve their dreams, both personally and academically, and we feel a great sense of pride watching them take the next bold steps in their lives. Good luck at Oxford University Nicole, or as they say in Russia: “Udači!”