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Bo’s Story

Determined to see change for future young people, Bo decided to study Level 3 Childcare & Education at Penwith College and hopes to pursue a career where she can support and empower young people with disabilities.

“I think my favourite part about College has been how supportive everyone is."

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Name: Bo

Former School: Humphry Davy School

Course: Level 3 Technical Diploma in Childcare & Education (Early Years Educator)

Next Steps: BA (Hons) Special Educational Needs & Disability Studies at Marjon, Plymouth University

Determined to see change for future young people, Bo decided to study Level 3 Childcare & Education at Penwith College and hopes to pursue a career where she can support and empower young people with disabilities.

Bo was born with several disabilities and facial differences that have affected her daily life. Navigating school environments posed many challenges for Bo and this impacted her self-esteem. When finishing school, she was looking forward to the inclusive community and abundant student support that college offers.

Since starting college, Bo’s confidence has grown to a whole new level after receiving support and learning accommodations from her lecturers. This meant that Bo’s disabilities were not a barrier for her education and achieving excellent grades. As part of her Childcare course, Bo has had the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in her placement days and apply her knowledge to real life settings. This played a pivotal role in growing her confidence, giving her the resilience to try new things because it gently pushed her outside of her comfort zone.

The range of experience that Bo has gained through the work placements has been advantageous for her future employability and UCAS applications. In the first year of her course, Bo completed work experience in Pensans Primary School, working in the reception class and in the 2-year-old room for several months. She really enjoyed reading books to the young children and bringing joy to their day. In her second year of college, Bo had the opportunity to work in the nursery room at Willows, a local daycare centre for children and is now working in the reception class at St Mary’s Catholic School. Work placements are an essential part of the course and allow students to network with local organisations and build connections for when they are looking for employment. It also means students have industry experience under their belt, so they are ready to take on the workforce.

When reflecting on her course, Bo said: “I think my favourite part about college has been how supportive everyone is. Since Penwith is quite a small campus, classes are relatively small as well. This means that I get to know my peers and lecturers much better and that they can give me much more personalised support. Everyone is friendly and approachable and have really made an effort to do everything they can to accommodate my needs.”

Raising the profile of people with disabilities has been a passion of Bo’s for a long time as she understands first-hand the challenges that come with having a disability. Recently, Bo has ventured into the world of modelling to not only embrace her individuality but also to bring more representation for young people with disabilities and facial differences.

She said: “For me, growing up with a facial difference was incredibly difficult. I did not see anybody who looked like me in the media and it definitely impacted my confidence. I used to dislike my cleft, especially when I’d see all these stereotypically “perfect” models represented in the media and know that I would never look like them.”

From February 2024, Bo was signed by Zebedee Talent, the world’s leading inclusive talent agency that is committed to changing the way disability, visible difference and gender identity are represented in fashion and wider media.

Student in black and white zebra print dress models on a green chair.

Since then, Bo has completed several professional photoshoots with leading, multinational beauty brands and influential charity organisations that focus on being more inclusive. Starting her modelling journey has been a release for Bo, allowing her to celebrate her facial differences and giving her the confidence to do what she loves.

Bo said: “I believe it is so important to provide representation for our younger generation, to show children and other young people just like me that they can do whatever they aspire to do. That people with disabilities and visible differences shouldn’t be excluded from spaces such as modelling. We are all unique and beautiful in our own ways and I believe this should be celebrated, especially considering so much of the media attention on disabled people is so often negative or focused on what we can’t do. Why not shift the focus to what we can do?”

After College, Bo is looking forward to studying BA (Hons) Special Educational Needs & Disability Studies at Marjon, Plymouth University. Bo has always had a passion for working with young people and she hopes to share her experiences and empower more young people with disabilities to embrace what makes them an individual.

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