Yesterday was GCSE results day – the day that lets you know if you are going to be able to study ‘A’ levels. It’s a big step, and the results that came out yesterday play a huge part in shaping lives – which college to go to (will you be able to go with your friends?), which subjects to do, how many subjects to do, or perhaps time to reflect and think about vocational apprenticeships. There are literally thousands of choices which can be made.
But for some people those choices are very limited indeed. One of those people is a girl you may have heard about over the last few days. Amber runs the award-winning Mile Long Bookshelf blog, and is also a popular book vlogger. Her passions are reading and writing and she really wants to study English. However, for the past few years she has suffered from an anxiety disorder which means that she can’t easily leave the house and go to school. She’s been studying online, and is hoping to go on to do her ‘A’ levels at the same online school. Unfortunately the council won’t fund this, so she’s set up a crowd funding site to see if she can raise the money herself. Details of the site can be found here.
Amber asked the author community (which she supports with her blog) if we would help in donating things for her to give as thanks for pledges, and lots of people stepped forwards with offers of signed books (and even on character naming opportunity!). My signed copy of The Beneath was snapped up in the first 24 hours, so I’ve donated a signed copy of Small Blue Thing too – if it’s still available you might be able to get it!
The campaign has done astonishingly well. As I write (on Thursday), the site has been up for just a week, and it is *so* close to achieving Amber’s target. She’s been interviewed on Sky News (via a video link) and been in the national press. The details have been all over Twitter. I’m sure she will make her target and will actually get the chance to study what she wants. It’s been a fabulous demonstration of strangers pulling together to help someone who just wants to learn.
So for everyone who got their results yesterday, I hope that you got what you wanted. And for those who are going to be going through the process in the next few years, good luck. I hope that you won’t need to struggle like Amber to get the education which most of us take from granted.