I can’t help watching the news and thinking how glad my formal education is now over, and that I’m not going through what so many students are right now. Going to university when I did was probably the optimum time for me. Chatting to my parents earlier, they pointed out due to Brexit, the pandemic and the gigantic recession, schools colleges and universities have far fewer resources than they did fifteen years ago, so students with disabilities are going to find it far harder to get the support they need. I was astoundingly lucky: I found a nice, small university campus not too far from home where I could flourish; in Esther I had a damn good Learning Support assistant, and MMU had my ideal course combination. Due to this combination of factors I was able to flourish, both academically and socially; and university gave me the confidence to eventually move to London to live with Lyn.
I’m now very concerned that students like the one I was are going to have to struggle much, much harder to get the support they need. The Tory cuts to Disabled Students’ Allowance hit those who need the most support hardest. Had I had to struggle so hard, I daresay I may well have given up and stayed at home with mum and dad. Had I been an A-Level student this year, zark knows what I’d have done. For starters, I would have been much too worried about the pandemic to leave home, assuming the universities are even going to reopen at all this year. The whole course of my life for the past sixteen years would probably not have happened, and I’d still be living up north with mum and dad. I now fear that, somewhere out there, there are young eighteen year olds with cerebral palsy opening their calculated A level results today and deciding to end their educations there, put off going further by the horrific combination of factors this year.