The other side of Mary's story

3rd December 2010 at 00:00

Stephen Jones' recent column (November 26) describes HE and FE reforms in typically doom-laden terms, illustrated with the sad tale of shop worker Mary, who is unable to complete her education. But there might be another way to relate her story.

Although tuition fees have risen, Mary won't have to pay anything back before her salary reaches pound;21,000. If she hasn't paid the whole loan back after 35 years, it will simply be written off. Bursaries are also promised for the deserving poor and, as a condition of universities being able to raise their fees, they now make more effort to publicise them.

Full fees will also be charged for the access course in an FE college that Mary will need to get into university. But these fees are relatively small and colleges will help Mary and other students with financial difficulties. Mary understood that debt would only be paid back in line with what she earned, and made the decision to go for it. Good for her.

Jonathan Simons, Trustee, Greenwich free school group.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today