This week we have Hannah Clementson from A New Addition sharing how having her children at a young age affected her education and her feelings on the education system for teen parents.
At 16 years of age I found out I was pregnant, a tiny mini human growing inside me who needed me to protect and be able to give them the best life I possibly could. I was told the usual spiel; ‘you won’t cope, you will fail in school’… yada , yada. The end point always came to telling them this was my baby, and the baby was and always will come first.
The fact is staying in education when pregnant wasn’t made easy for me, a support worker from Connexions, that I was ushered to by my school, expressed her concerns and said she didn’t know what to suggest as she had never came across a ‘case like this before’. Shame really as around a month after I announced my pregnancy another girl in my year did. I really hope that she is much better prepared for people willing to accept her help now. Nevertheless I stayed in school, took all of my exams gained 9 GCSES and left. College was another battle, with a course I tried to sign up on, not allowing or accepting me to as ‘I would not attend after having the baby’ Thanks for your support guys.
I found a local sports centre near my house that carried out a course for European Computer Driving License (ECDL for short) I signed up to that and walked there every week, only missing one lesson which unsurprisingly was the night in which I had my beautiful baby boy. Upon completing my ECDL I decided it was time to approach college again, I found a business course which had the ECDL as part of the course schedule, because I had already completed the ECDL it allowed me to get accepted onto this level 3 business course having not done level 2 and also cut quite a substantial amount in which I had to be in college allowing me more time with my son. College helped me to make friends and one of these friends introduced me to her sister who explained to me about The Open University and how it could benefit me. Indeed it did, and while studying my college courses I studied the OU on the side so eventually ended up with 2 NVQs and a Certificate in Business Studies with the Open University.
According to one source ‘Young mothers are less likely to complete their education, have no qualifications by age 33, be in receipt of benefits and if employed be on lower incomes than their peers’ (SEU, 1999 – source) and in 2010 the BBC News reported ‘In England, nearly 70% of young mothers are not in education, employment or training (NEETs), according to 2008 figures from the Department for Work and Pensions.’
I find these statistics very sad. Young girls who find they are pregnant should be able to see the potential in what they can do, and make the most of it. Do lots of research, there are many ways in which you can better yourself, listen to all sorts of people and their life choices – I would never have known about the Open University had it not been for my friend’s sister.
Enjoy your life and make the most of it, education is important even if to keep you on the path of moving forward, each small step at a time for something better in the future.
Are you a younger parent? How hard did you find support when trying to further your education?