Learner stories: "I enjoy just being me and being able to dance" | NCFE

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Learner stories: "I enjoy just being me and being able to dance"

Oliver Poulter was named Against All Odds winner at NCFE’s Aspiration Awards in 2022 – recognising learners who have overcome difficult personal circumstances in order to succeed in their studies. 

Despite being born with a degenerative eye condition that gradually leads to a loss of sight, which could happen at any time, Oliver is a keen performer. He throws himself into all his performance lessons, including dance, giving 100% in every task. Never fazed by any trips or falls, Oliver always picks himself back up and isn’t discouraged to try something again.   

His optimistic attitude to learning has a positive influence on Oliver’s peers, and his fellow learners love to work with him during any class activities. We caught up with him to learn more about his story and to tell him he’d won the award. 

What are the challenges you face in your learning?  

“My eye condition is called Optic atrophy. It runs through my family, so I got it from my mum. It's very hard to describe what I can see, because no one else can see how I see. 

“I enjoy just being me and being able to dance in front of other people and act. I really enjoy just doing what I can do. 

“It’s quite hard to describe really, but it is a big struggle in my life. I try and stop that from getting in the way and I’ll have a good go at anything, but if I can’t do it my teacher, Miss White, would try and make it possible for me. It is a challenge sometimes.”  

When did your passion for performing start?  

“When I was younger. It was quite a young age – around five-ish – I started dancing at the local dance studio and I carried on from there doing more and more. And then I started acting.  

“I'd love to do stuff like films and be in movies and stuff like that and be a famous actor!” 

What has your experience at school been like?   

“Well, I've learned a lot of new things, like all the technical side of things and how much effort and time go into behind the scenes of different plays and different stuff like that.  

I enjoy just being me and being able to dance in front of other people and act. I really enjoy just doing what I can do. 

Oliver Poulter, performance skills learner

“Even though I do have struggles with my eyesight, school has been really helpful. It's not just about me, it's about other people as well that are always positive towards me, and I appreciate people that are always there and are positive. 

“I’m really grateful for my teacher for nominating me for [the award]. We were all sat around in our performing arts lesson. After she read out the register, she announced it in front of the whole class and it felt amazing when everyone was clapping for me – it was really nice.” 

Congratulations Oliver, you’ve been named Against All Odds winner! How does it feel? 

“It feels amazing! I had no clue this was happening. It feels nice to know that people are more aware of it now and that when my brother – he'll be joining in a couple of years and he's also blind – it'll be nice to know that he'll have resources and he'll have more help around the school. 

“It's nice to know that there's more for people with visual impairments.”  

Watch the full video of Oliver and see the moment he’s told about his success below – or, find out more about our range of V Certs, including our Performing Arts qualification.

Learner profile

Name: Oliver Poulter

Qualification: V Cert in Performance Skills

Centre: Whitworth Community High School

A young man stands on stage

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