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Thinking of returning to university with two small children - is this a crazy idea?

(7 Posts)
Whitetara Thu 04-Jun-09 12:16:46

Hello everyone - I'm new here, but have been lurking for a while.

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this post, so please move if necessary.

I'm currently pregnant with my second child, who is due in September this year. My other child will be 22 months old.

I am thinking of returning to work and changing career and have been considering a return to university (if I get in!) in the autumn of 2010 in order to retrain as an occupational therapist - i.e. when the new baby is a year old. The course I want to do is full time and two years. This means that when I qualify and am ready to start work, my eldest will be just about ready to start school and my youngest will be at nursery school.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has had any experience of studying full time with a young family and any advice as to whether I should wait a bit longer before applying. Thing is I'm already 36 and so would like to try and sort myself out careerwise sooner rather than later. Does anyone know of any financial assistance for childcare also? TIA

girlylala0807 Thu 04-Jun-09 18:40:17

Iwill be going into 3rd year in September with a 5 month old and studying for 5 exams over the summer so i will keep you posted.

Im in Scotland so financial assistance different here I think.

gemmiegoatlegs Thu 04-Jun-09 18:57:09

I am just popping dcs to bed and will come back to give you my experience shortly.

gemmiegoatlegs Thu 04-Jun-09 23:36:48

Hi, I have just finished the 3rd year of a 4 year degree. I have 2 dcs who were one and three when i started and both went to a childminder (dd still goes to the same lady)

i had given up a crappy low paid office job where i was working PT after the birth of my dd. for me, studying was not so much of a sacrifice as I had not been earning big bucks and i knew that i was going to end up in a better plavce after the four years.

in away i think I have found it easier to be a student mum than a working mum. i certainly don't do anywhere near 9-5 at uni, although i have a 40-50 hour week of study, most of it is in my own time, when the dcs are in bed. Its certainly not always easy though. exam time is always especially stressful in our house and i must look like some sort of alien monster to my family i am so stressed.

what is your situation? are you currently working or SAHM? Have you got a partner? do they work? These things will affect your entitlement to extra finance. the student finance system is extremely bizarre. you will be entitled to student loan and some element of a grantfrom S finance. your uni may also offer a finacial incentive. As for being a parent, you may be entitled to the Parents learning allowance (around £1400 per year and up to 90%of your childcare costs paid) this totally depends on your income (and that of your partner) but also, bizarrely on your expenses. so if you had a partner who earned £14000 and you had a mortgage of £150per month, you probably wouldn't be entitled to childcare costs, but if your partner earned £25000 and your mortgage was £800, you might. so basically it goes on disposable income. the bills that SF take into account are life and home Insurance, health Insurance, mortgage/rent.

I would suggest posting in the student parents section. there are quite a few of us here.


Whitetara Fri 05-Jun-09 13:49:37

Hello and thank you for replying. Girlylala0807, I'm also in Scotland and would be looking to study here, too. Good for you studying with a 5 month old! What are you studying? All the best for your exams.

Gemmiegoatlegs - thanks for that. I'm staying at home at the moment. I do have a husband, but he's training to be a teacher although he's been told he needs to do an extension of his probation in the next academic year in order to (hopefully) fully qualify. He could well be unemployed as there are no jobs around just now anyway. We are currently living with his parents, which means we have no mortgage or rent, just some living costs.

I was also in pretty low paid dead end office jobs before I had my daughter, so if I can get onto this course, I'm hoping that it'll improve the quality of our lives in the future.

I'll have a look at the student parents section as well. As I'm new to the site I'm not yet fully orientated.

Thank you again.

lukeysmummy Fri 05-Jun-09 23:06:24

hi im an ot assistant and have been looking into doing my training and everywhere i have looked its 3 years full time

Whitetara Tue 09-Jun-09 16:51:57

Lukeysmummy - I'm looking at post grad training and the courses here in Scotland are 2 years full time...

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