Saturday, 5 July 2014

More student parent need more help.

I haven't posted as much as I would have liked this week. I guess I was too ambitious to expect to be able to write everyday. With my 2 essays that I still haven't written (I really should!) and looking after Edward and enjoying the summer sun (it's so hot here and my legs are still so white!), the day just doesn't have enough hours in it!!

Anyway, my main reason for starting a blog, like I have said before, was because there isn't much for students on the internet when they find out they are expecting a baby. A baby is a big little 'thing'. Parents-to-be spend ages researching online, buying books, planning out expenses before their little one arrives. All of this material to help prepare for a baby to arrive is geared at parents who are working or on maternity leave. There is nothing for students.

It takes a long time to search to find out what you are entitled to financially and what education arrangements are allowed. It's a confusing and worrying time which is so pivotable to one's life - and their child and any others involved!!

It says in big bold red letters on the Norwegian Student Finance website: "If you are pregnant do not stop your education". Why is this not on our Student Finance website?! If I type in "Student Finance England student parents" to Google, this is what I get:
Any use of the word "parent" is in reference to the parent of the student. There is more information for the pushy over protective parents of 18/19 year olds than the students that could be parents!! None of these links give any help to students who are trying to research if they can stay in education. I must admit, each university does give their own form of advice. It is just one page long of generic information. I typed in "student parent Aberystwyth" (my own university) to see the results. The second result was suggesting WITHDRAWAL from my degree scheme. Just ?!?! I didn't find, from that search, an advice page for my own university. I haven't found one this year, if I remember back to when I was looking, I found one for staff, but not for students.

So I have come to the conclusion that a national organisation/charity/NGO is needed to support students. It is so important for the student that they continue their studies. I am by no means saying that they shouldn't drop out if they decide that they would rather look after their child. I am saying that these students need to make more informed choices. There needs to be a universal place, that students can access easily to help them along the way with their studies. This shouldn't be for just university, this should be for A Levels and GCSE's too. Obviously, I had my baby at university, so I do not know what is offered in those circumstances. But I do know that there is not a substantial, supportive and effective organisation to help. 

If students can continue their education whilst bringing up a child then young parents will no longer be the "problem" it is perceived to be today.