Sue Browne left school at 16 with few qualifications and has always struggled with maths. But it was later in life when her children needed help with homework that the problem really hit home.
"My daughter was at secondary school and I was having this recurring nightmare," she says. "I'd always sat and read with her, but I knew that one day she'd say, 'Mum, can you help me with my maths.' I knew it would come and I was terrified."
She enrolled on a maths GCSE course at the Adult College of Barking and Dagenham, where she had passed English GCSE. She admits she found the maths hard - it took her three years to get GCSE.
Ms Browne, a 38-year-old mother of two, is studying psychology at the University of East London. She says her maths qualification helps her at home and with her degree.
"There's a lot of maths on my course - you have to get into statistics, tables and graphs. I understand them now, but I wouldn't have done before.
"The other day, my son asked me about isosceles triangles and other types, and I knew what he was talking about."