A MUM-OF-FIVE is celebrating after graduating with a law degree - despite only leaving school with two GCSEs.

Helen Taylor from Blackwood graduated from the University of South Wales with a 2:1 degree in LLB Legal Practice (Hons).

“I left home at 16 and got a place of my own, which was really difficult as I didn’t enjoy school and didn’t feel I could continue living with my parents," she said.

"I didn’t take the conventional route of education – becoming a young mother was a huge learning curve, and I knew I had to provide for my son, so I started a part time job when first son was little.”


Having had her son, Jack -now 19 years old - at the age of 21, Helen went on to have four more children – Adam, now aged 15, twins Kaitlyn and Kirstyn, aged 13, and Alysha-May, aged 9.

Ms Taylor met her partner Chris in 2004 and a year later, while expecting her twins, found out that her father had cancer. He chose the twins names but died just two months before they were born.

South Wales Argus:

(Helen Taylor on her graduation day)

Helen said: “At the time, Chris was struggling to find work and our financial problems really took a toll on us emotionally.

“Then in 2014, when Alysha started school, I decided to take the plunge and go to college."

At the age of 36, she went to Coleg Y Cymoedd and was one of the oldest in her class. She completed a course in Business Administration and a legal studies course and achieved distinction.

Her tutor, Helen Jones, encouraged her to think about university, and she then completed an Access to Higher Education course in Business at the college, alongside re-sitting her Maths and English GCSEs.

She enrolled at the University of South Wales to start her journey towards becoming a solicitor, making two train journeys to get to her lectures.

Ms Taylor said: “It was very daunting at first, because I was one of the oldest students in the year and had no experience of writing assignments at this sort of level. However, my lecturers have been absolutely brilliant and have really helped me to enjoy this huge challenge. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on my dreams of become a lawyer.”