Michael Bennett wears a cap and gown and smiles at the camera.
Michael Bennett hopes to use his personal experience to help struggling children.

A social sciences student who overcame personal loss and anxiety has battled with learning difficulties to graduate from Edge Hill University.  

Described as a “determined character”, Michael Bennett has graduated from the University’s BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies programme. 

During his three-years at Edge Hill, Michael overcame multiple hurdles to achieve his ambitions and is now hoping to make a difference to the lives of struggling children with plans to study MSc Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University. 

“I want to make sure children are supported through struggles in their life that they have no control over,” explained Michael.  

“I had a lot of personal difficulties when going through University myself. I lost my Dad just before starting Edge Hill and I didn’t really understand how to deal with the situation. I started struggling with anxiety and couldn’t focus properly but, with the support of the Wellbeing Team and tutors, I was able to push myself and start feeling confident.”  

Michael, from Liverpool, also had to overcome barriers in the classroom due to learning difficulties but thanked those around him for their motivation.   

“I found myself asking for help a lot but Edge Hill has a great team that helps with learning difficulties. My friends from my course encouraged me to keep going and that I could do anything if I kept trying. I kept pushing and tried my best never to give up,” he said.  

Describing his commitment as “outstanding”, Dr Julie Sealy, Senior Lecturer in Early Years Education, was Michael’s personal tutor and has watched him develop over the duration of the programme.   

“Michael did not allow his difficulties to prevent him from engaging with his peers and tutors and it has been inspiring to watch him grow in confidence.   

“Over the three years, Michael has overcome all of the obstacles that have challenged his ability to complete the programme through his determination, fuelled by his commitment to his long-term goal of working to support children and families.”  

As part of his learning, Michael enjoyed a trip to London with fellow students, where he had the opportunity to learn about the development and treatment of children in the city – something that he is extremely passionate about.  

Now, one step closer to his ambition, Michael plans to have a career as a Family Liaison, Safeguarding Officer or Play Therapist.   

Edge Hill University offers a variety of undergraduate, postgraduate and professional learning courses in subject areas within educationearly years and young people.