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Poole Lollipop Lady is Guiding Adults Towards Better Maths

A Poole lollipop lady who has been helping children cross the roads for 36 years is now guiding herself and other adults towards better maths skills.




Diane, 76, has been a crossing patrol warden in Turlin Moor since 1987.

She is now one of a number of residents who is enjoying free maths tuition as part of the Multiply scheme at St Gabriel’s Church.

Multiply is a national scheme to help adults improve their life and work opportunities through better numeracy.

Skills & Learning Adult Community Education is offering free Multiply courses to people across Dorset.

Diane said: “I came along to the Multiply group as a favour to the organiser really – to encourage others and to basically make up the numbers. But I found I actually enjoy it.

“It’s not like maths at school. It’s very relaxed and friendly and the way we are taught is very simply, not at all as I remember.

“I’m learning things I didn’t know, keeping my brain active and also chatting to people. It’s a nice way to spend a couple of hours each week.”

Diane has received two community awards for her work as a lollipop lady.

She added: “I enjoy the role and I have been doing it so long I now see the children and even grandchildren of the children I once helped to cross the road.

“I think they would find it amusing to know that when I finish work on a Wednesday, I am going off to do maths like them!”

Diane’s fellow Multiply group members are also enjoying the experience.

Caitlin, 40, from Hamworthy, joined so she can help her six year-old son with his homework.

She said: “I struggled with maths at school because I was dyslexic – something I didn’t find out until I was in Year 11. This gave me a lack of confidence and I left school feeling like I couldn’t do maths and feeling pretty rubbish about it.

“When I heard about the Multiply class, I almost talked myself out of it. But I came along and liked the group banter, and I am learning things which will hopefully help me to help my child.

“Our tutor Jo is patient. She doesn’t mind if you need to go over things again and again and she helps you understand maths in ways that relate to real life, like shopping and working out your bills.

“I’ve found I am pretty good at fractions, and I never would have believed that at school! It’s also led to me enrolling on an English course at the Dolphin Centre.”

Sarah, 51, agreed: “ I have a grandson and he thinks it’s great I am learning maths like him. I didn’t learn my times tables at school, and I never realised how this has prevented me from working out things in later life.

“I like a challenge and I have learned loads. I’d recommend it.”

Class tutor Jo Hosking said she has been impressed by the group’s progress.

“I don’t think anyone was really sure about coming and learning maths at the start – anxiety and a lack of confidence can hold a lot of people back from taking the first step, especially if they struggled with maths at school and have bad memories of what it was like. But they have really gelled as a group and actively encourage each other to do well.


“There is a lot of laughter, but concentration too. Everyone has their own reason for wanting to improve their numeracy here and it’s clear they are proud of what they are doing – and I am very proud of them too.”

Dorset residents can access a range of free online or in-person courses to advance their career, better manage money, help their child with homework or just feel more confident working with numbers.

To find out about Multiply classes near you, please visit this page: Multiply – Free Maths Courses