Hi - I wonder if anyone can advise me: I am a mature student due to start PGCE in September. I have a 10 year old son. My father is dying in hospital. He has been for weeks but keeps rallying and then fading. He has been in poor health for many years on and off and is a very very difficult person. My mother requires a lot of support with him. At the moment I am with them in the hospital about four times a week for approx four hours at a time. The stress of the situation is reaching a critical point. I am unable to concentrate on any pre-course reading for example ( and obviously I have my son to look after as well). While my father lives it is simply impossible to turn my back on him and most particularly my mother. It seems to me my duty to them is incompatible with doing the PGCE at this time. However, if he dies, things may be very different. My mother will need a lot of support then too (and I should think I will be pretty shattered with complex emotions) but I could imagine the PGCE would be doable. At the risk of sounding very cold, the timing of his death is the problem. Should I defer before I start the course or start it and then 'interrupt' my studies? There are big financial implications within the choices but I am not clear about them. We are not at all well off and will be very stretched this year - next year, with fees of £9000 may well put it beyond us. However, I am the possessor of a First and have over twenty years experience in a profession closely associated with my PGCE subject, and I believe the inestimable Mr Gove (!) has said something about bursaries to be offered for potential trainee teachers with a First. Perhaps I shouldn't get my hopes up about that.... ? I would be grateful for anyone's objective take on my situation and any advice about what you would do in my shoes. Also if you know anything more about the state of teacher training and funding for next year. with thanks a.