Are you returning to education after a break? Does the thought of studying again fill you with trepidation as well as excitement? Are you anxious that you won’t be able to ‘keep up’ with other students?

Been away from education for a while? Returning to Learning UniSkills workshop offers a time and space to meet other students who have also had a break from study.

You are not alone! Students who are returning to study after time away sometimes feel that their academic skills are ‘rusty’, and worry about whether they will be able to remember how to undertake academic study, or write assignments. However, research shows that students who return to study after a break from education are often found to be more motivated, self-determined, focussed and hard-working (Hunter-Johnson, 2017; Kasworm, 2018). Our experience has also shown that given the right encouragement and access to support, all students have the potential to achieve, regardless of their age or stage in life.

What is Returning to Learning About?

More and more students who have had a break from formal learning are returning to Higher Education each year. Recently released data shows that in the 2020/2021 academic year, there was an increase in the proportion of first year enrolments in the UK for both the 25-29, and over-30 age groups. There has also been a huge uptick in postgraduate enrolments for the same groups with the 25-29 age group increasing by 24%, and the 30+ age group by 23% in a single year! (Bennett, 2022).

Did you also know that Edge Hill University have a high percentage of students who have not come directly from school or college? The most recently available statistics show that more than a third (36.42%) of our students in the 2019/2020 academic year were over 25, and more than a quarter (26.1%) were over 30. The chances are that there will be several people on your course who are returning to education after a significant break.

The Returning to Learning community of support has been developed to offer a safe space for students re-entering education at Edge Hill to reconnect with learning and share their experiences with others in the same boat. We also welcome anyone who has previously been in the same position, and can offer peer support or tips for ways to ease back into an educational setting.

Returning to Learning Ethos

Our aim is to create a community of positive support to help develop the confidence of returning students, enabling them to believe that they can achieve, and be academically successful. We draw upon research, our experience and academic skills knowledge, as well as students’ own ideas about what they need, to best support their transition back into education.

Friends sitting round a table enjoying coffee and a chat.

Whether you are totally new to university, are in your final year, or are returning to postgraduate study, why not come along and share your experiences? As well as meeting other students who are also Returning to Learning, each session will offer you the opportunity to:

  • Share any concerns about returning to academic study at university
  • Learn how others in this situation have adapted to Higher Education
  • Suggest tips for effective learning and develop your academic resilience

Come and join Us

Returning to Learning takes place in The Willow Room, Catalyst between 1pm-3pm on alternate Wednesdays during term time. Why not pop along and join us for a cuppa and a chat? Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided! Book online at or simply drop in on the day!

Future Returning to Learning workshops runs on these dates:

  • 23rd February
  • 9th March
  • 23rd March
  • 6th April


BENNETT, M., 2022. What has the pandemic really done for UK postgraduate enrolments? [online]. Available from: [Accessed 3 February 2022].

HUNTER-JOHNSON, Y., 2017. Demystifying Educational Resilience: Barriers of Bahamian Nontraditional Adult Learners in Higher Education. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education. 65 (3), pp. 175-186.

KASWORM, C. E., 2018. Adult Students: A Confusing World in Undergraduate Higher Education. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education. 66 (2), pp. 77-87.