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Pupil power ... Former Oamaru woman Lucy Ferguson with one of her pupils, Esa Bhaiji, at the London school where she teaches. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Former Oamaru woman Lucy Ferguson is fighting to keep her job – and she has some youngsters on her side.

The 25-year-old teaches in London but has had an application to extend her work visa denied.

A petition to help her stay in the country has been started by one of her pupils.

Miss Ferguson moved to London two years ago, after deciding she wanted to travel abroad to see what the world had to offer.

The “hustle and bustle” of London was what she enjoyed the most about the city, she said.

Living in the UK was also a great stepping stone for New Zealanders wanting to move on to other parts of Europe.

“London has so many great opportunities for people in their mid-20s.”

She teaches at Buxton School, an “all-through” school that teaches pupils from the ages of 3 to 16.

Miss Ferguson said she was shocked to be turned down when she applied recently to extend her work visa.

“It was pretty upsetting. I had really banked on my visa being accepted.”

However, for the first time in seven years, fewer visas were being issued.

Visa applications in the UK run on a point-based system.

Miss Ferguson said her application was denied because she did not have enough points to get a certificate of sponsorship.

Previously, 21 points were needed for approval. However, due to a rise in the number of applications, people now needed 46 points, and Miss Ferguson had only 32.

After learning of her situation, Esa Bhaiji, a 9-year-old pupil from Miss Ferguson’s class in London, created an online petition to help make a change.

“I thought about how much she had done for my education and confidence and I was willing to do whatever I could to help her stay at Buxton School,” Esa told the Oamaru Mail in an email.

Within the first day of its launch, the petition reached 100 signatures.

Last week, the petition had reached 742 signatures.

“We are hoping to reach 10,000 so it will be reviewed by the Government,” Miss Ferguson said.

Moving back to New Zealand to settle down was on the cards in the future for Miss Ferguson but for now she was keen to keep living and exploring in London.

“Anyone wanting to move abroad should do so, as it is a huge cultural eye-opener and a life-changing opportunity.”