A STUDENT is one step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a primary school teacher after overcoming family obstacles and caring responsibilities to get her degree.

Maryam Survery, 21, had no choice but to step up and care for her two young nieces after tragedy struck her family in December last year, when her brother and sister-in-law’s car crash left them unable to care for their daughters.

Maryam, from Blackburn, made the decision to move back home to become the main carer for her nieces, aged one and two, while also continuing with her degree in childhood and youth studies at Edge Hill University.

She said: "It was a very traumatic time for my brother and sister-in-law because they'd never experienced anything like that before. Fortunately, they have since made a full recovery, but they lost their car in the accident. It was a very stressful time for us all.

"Trying to juggle caring for my nieces and helping my parents, who are both elderly, while also concentrating on my studies was a challenge at times."

At first, Maryam admits that she found it difficult to ask for support. She added: "I'm the type of person who finds it hard to sometimes express my feelings and I just wanted to get on with the situation.

"Edge Hill made it clear very quickly that they would offer me any support that I needed, including extensions to deadlines, which was a great help.

"Looking back now, it was very hard to manage but I'm so glad that I asked for help and prioritised my university work, while also making sure I could be there for my family."

Despite the many hurdles, Maryam remained committed to completing her degree and now plans to go on to study a PGCE in primary early years education with qualified teacher status at Edge Hill.

“Primary education is my passion. I'm really looking forward to the next step.”