Samantha Smith

Samantha Smith is an A-Level student

Lessons have not been learned about child sex abuse

This week, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its long-awaited final report. It describes in harrowing detail the experiences of more than 7,300 victims and highlights the systemic failings of institutions in protecting children and addressing child sexual abuse (CSA) and child sexual exploitation (CSE). However, as with other similar inquiries that

Who cares? The real problem with social services

After a tumultuous childhood and breakdown in family relationships, I ended up in the hands of social services. I remember my social worker dropping me off at the door of my emergency accommodation with a bag of clothes and little else. On my first day, while filling out my induction paperwork in the office, a staff member

Why is Durham offering training for student sex workers?

As a first year university student from a disadvantaged background, I know all too well the constant struggle students can face to make ends meet. Before starting my studies at Durham, I worked three jobs to keep food in my mouth and clothes on my back while in full-time education. Living in group homes and

A level students have been failed again

The world was turned upside down in 2020. Schools closed, shops shut, and planes were grounded as the global health crisis hit the world. The great institutions of our society seemed to crumble under the pressure of the pandemic. This was particularly the case for the UK’s education system, which is still failing students 18

Vaccine passports are a betrayal of young people

The government denied it for months. Michael Gove said there were no plans for them. Backbenchers professed that the idea was unethical, unthinkable and unenforceable. The vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said the public could hold him to his promise that vaccine passports were never going to become a reality. Yet in a rather predictable turn

The class of 2020 are being failed yet again

Last year, after the cancellation of exams and the ensuing A Level results fiasco, which saw thousands of students downgraded by an algorithm, the Government promised this would never happen again. They asked students to put their faith in a system that had failed them once before, and guaranteed that lessons would be learnt. Yet,

School closures are creating a mental health crisis

Imagine telling a child they wouldn’t be able to attend school. You might expect to be met with tears, tantrums and confusion. They would understandably be upset at the prospect of losing their structures and support networks for an unforeseen length of time. This is what children have faced since schools and early learning settings

Predicted A-level grades could destroy my university dream

I was homeless at 16, and sofa-surfed throughout my A-Levels. Despite my circumstances, I worked hard and now hold offers from some of the best universities in the country — Cardiff being my firm choice — to study law. Yet I’m terrified that because this year’s results won’t be based on exams but on predicted