Remember your £9,500 is tax free. Someone on minimum wage would pay tax on the majority of their income so you would be financially better off on the PGCE than if you had a min wage job for the year. Unfortunately I've heard it's very hard proving you have been financially independent for 3 years, even if you have. I totally agree that any postgraduate should be assessed as an adult in their own right. Why should it be assumed that a parent is still paying for their 24 year old to live and eat etc? I think you will manage fine on £9,500 as long as you're careful with money. The course is only about 9-10 months anyway, so you can get a job through the summer before you hopefully start teaching in Sept 2013. With most people getting no bursaries this year you probably won't get much sympathy on this forum with everyone struggling at the mo! Good luck!