Orphaned Teenager Told The Only Way For Her To Afford Study Is, To Get Pregnant

  1. The daily femail UK News

    A model student who tragically lost both her parents within months of each other has been told the only way she can continue doing her A-levels is to become pregnant.

    Kirsty Oldfield, 17, was left devastated and penniless after parents Chris and Jackie died eight months apart.
    With only state benefits to live on, she moved in with her older sister and tried to continue with her studies.
    The sixth former at Salt Grammar School in Baildon, West Yorks, has been surviving on part-time earnings as a waitress and small handouts since she was orphaned.
    Model student:17-year-old Kirsty Oldfield has been told the only way she can continue doing her A-levels is to become pregnant

    But her financial situation is becoming so desperate she now faces having to leave school to get a full time job, ending her dream of of going to university to become a criminal psychologist.
    The only state cash Kirsty receives is an Education Maintenance Allowance of £30 ($70) a week.
    And when she enquired after further benefits she was told she would only qualify if she became pregnant.
    The situation was described as "outrageous" by her local MP Philip Davies.
    Kirsty's dad, Chris Oldfield, suffered a fatal heart attack in a supermarket car park, aged 46, in January this year.
    His death came only eight months after her mum Jackie died while Kirsty was studying for her GCSE exams at the-then family home Shipley, West Yorks.
    Kirsty tragically lost both her parents within months of each other

    Initially, she was entitled to claim income support and housing benefit but even that was taken away from her because she earned too much money - £150 ($325 approx) per week - while temporarily working at The Connection restaurant in Shipley.
    Despite cutting her hours to 14 per week which earns her about £70,($145) she still cannot claim a penny.
    Kirsty said: "I said to my head teacher that I might be dropping out because I can't afford to carry on.
    "My teachers said that there must be something that I could do but I have asked my benefits adviser and they said I can't claim for anything.
    "They said the only way I can claim anything is by becoming pregnant and I don't want to do that because it is wasting my life."
    Kirsty, who is in her first year of a two-year course studying A-levels in ICT, Sociology and General Studies, is now living with her half-sister Maggie Blackburn and Maggie's boyfriend Andrew Roberts, both 20.
    She will be entitled to money in a trust fund from the sale of her parents' home when she is 21 and a grant to put her through university but first she has to complete her A-level studies.
    But she is now struggling to continue her education at a time when the Government proposes to raise the school-leaving age to 18 by 2015.
    Teacher Max Robinson, who helped Kirsty to gain four A grades in her GCSEs, said: "I was her teacher during the time when her mum died and she battled on at school. She was unbelievable.
    "Then she lost her dad and, amazingly, she was still coming into school. She's a role model to students and a promising pupil. She gives 100 per cent all the time."
    A church and the school had offered small grants to see Kirsty past Christmas.
    Mr Robinson, who has enlisted the help of constituency MP Mr Davies, said: "She seems to be in this tiny loophole in the system. It is horrendous."
    Mr Davies has now demanded answers from Schools Minister Ed Balls about how such a situation can happen.
    He said: "This is just the most deeply tragic and heart-rending situation.
    "It would be tragic for anyone to be in this situation, especially a talented pupil who really wants to be there.
    "The school has been incredibly supportive and offered all the help that it can but it can only do so much. "If anybody is in a position to help and really wants to do something to make a difference to this person's life, then I couldn't think of anyone more deserving."

    I think this story is really sad.
  2. Unreal!
  3. Does A-levels mean she is an A student with high grades? Why don't they give her a scholarship or free tuition? This is really sad.
  4. this is so ridiculous. so basically she has no choice but to get pregnant to recieve aid? :nogood:
  5. This is horrible. Maybe with the press someone will donate money for her to continue her studies.
  6. It is stories like these that make me feel guilty for spending so much on accessories; not that I don't donate and do my part...but still *Hum*
  7. She's had it really tough, and I hope things work out for her in the end, but I am confused...

    In the UK, is there tuition for public grammar schools? Or is the school she currently attending private?

    I ask because at her part-time job, she was making 325/wk before she cut back hours. Granted, she's not living the high life, but it sounds like enough to get by on while she stays with her sister. Not to minimalize the hardships this girl is going through at such a young age, and I think she does deserve aid, but I'm just trying to understand why 325/wk isn't enough? Is COLA that much higher in UK??
  8. I have to give her props for still doing well in school after her parents died.
    Hopefully people will donate money to this girl because it's such a tragedy to see people who really want to learn and who have so much potential have it go to waste. That system is pretty messed up though. It's stigmatizing and unjust.
  9. That`s horrible - hasn`t that poor girl been through enough? I applaud her for being able to continue focusing on school all through this, and I really hope somebody comes up with a solution - this shouldn`t be a problem in 2007!
  10. She really is a role model. It's so sad that this would happen but ESPECIALLY as the article said, to a student who really actually wants to be there 100%!

  11. Taken from Wikipedia: The A-level, short for Advanced Level, is a General Certificate of Education qualification in the United Kingdom, usually taken by students during the optional final two years of secondary school (Years 12 & 13*, commonly called the Sixth Form), or at a separate sixth form college or further education college, after they have completed GCSE or IGCSE exams. The qualification is recognized around the world and is used as a sort of entrance exam for some universities.

    HTH :smile:

    But yeah, this is tragic. I hope the article raises enough awareness to her situation so that she'll have a happy Christmas and finish school.
  12. I am really glad that people are donating money to help this girl, but the fact that she has to receive donations really aggravates me.

    Here in the UK, the government are always stressing that education is of upmost importance but this girl has been given no support. There are millions of people in the UK claiming benefits, and although most are worthy of them, there are many that are not.

    This lack of assitance by the Government to help those who desperately need it is disgusting. Without help this girl will become another person living off benefits, whereas given help she could become a contributing member of society.

    Sorry for the rant, but this has wound me up.

    As a side, in the above article from the Telegraph it says that she shares the bills with her sister and her partner. I don't know what situation they are in, but come on, if it was my younger sister, I would work another job, just so she doesn't have to pay half the bills.
  13. That is insane...I hope everything works out for her..
  14. :sad: