Fran lives with her daughter Niamh in one of the most deprived areas of a city, in a house that is in a poor state of repair. Her daughter, without telling her mother, applied for entry to a fee-paying grammar school, winning one of only seven bursaries covering 100 per cent of school fees, but not other costs. It is a way out of a life with limited prospects and Fran recognises this, fully supporting her, but at great personal cost, pawning jewellery, using loan sharks and worrying about her daughter losing touch with her roots.