I am desperate to go back and do my PhD. I have been accepted at the uni I want to do it at with an amazing supervisor but keep putting off starting as can't find funding. I have literally spent the last year applying for everything and anything- not just at that uni, and though I get accepted to the programmes, no funding. Even just a fee waiver would be great! I have spoken to them about teaching but apparently "no need" for GTAs at the moment.
It's in the law department. I am writing off all studentship/scholarship/ESRC/AHRC funding on the basis of all the rejections last year. Does anyone have any ideas where else I might look? nb- I have constantly badgered the poor dept. administrator and my potential supervisor for funding ideas but no luck.
I also wondered whether if there is generally any help with childcare (15mo ds)- found the childcare grants, but I don't know what the threshold might be for this. I work only very part time as a visiting lecturer (where I work doesn't have the supervision, or indeed the department, for me to do a PhD) so we live on dh wage.
My university offers a non-means tested childcare bursary for students through the student union. Could you talk to the student union about any ideas for help?
Shame about no need for GTAs in your department, what about other local universities/colleges? One of my PhD students teaches a course at a local FE college instead of working at our place. I wonder if there is any scope for you to take on marking or moderation? Or private tuition? I guess if you want to build a career in academia getting a role in a HE institution is the way forward (your current VT work sounds good), but I know how important it is to pay the bills...
You can also register for a 70-80% PT PhD, so you can work during the week and give yourself another year on your PhD (if you don't mind).
It is great news about your PhD - but I really do sympathise with the finances. I did mine while working FT as a research assistant. It was really hard work (and it was pre-child), but possible.