Wednesday, 10 November 2010

£7 a term, my student grant.

I came from a very poor family. We were moved as part of slum clearance from the center of Rochdale to a new housing estate. This dream of having an inside toilet and a bath swiftly turned into a nightmare as just getting to school became a marathon every day.
Both parents worked but most of my fathers money was spent on booze...when I say we were poor this is not any sort of exaggeration.
I didn't get wonderful exam results but they were enough to get me to training college. My parents refused permission but I went anyway on a grant of £7 pounds a term. This had to buy me books, writing paper and soap etc as I lived in college.
If I had had to take out a loan I would never have done it. In those days, only those who had enough exam results could get there. We were a small group. No one else from my estate went to uni or college.
Our grants were very small so we worked..the list of my holiday jobs is endless. But I got my teaching certificate with head held high and owing no one a penny.
I am aware of how old and sad this sounds but I am desperately sorry for the kids today who have been offered this wonderful vision of uni but it's no longer free education. Those of us who got it whilst it was free should now be supporting today's youngster not condemning them.

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