Our support for the three pillars of the Care Leaver Covenant
- Pre-arrival support:
- Easter and Summer Schools: Exclusively for children from care. These raise social confidence and academic aspirations, while being both fun and. interactive, and having education content about the support available.
- Bespoke Visits: Care experienced students can have a tailored, person introduction to the university, the services available to them, help them
meet their academics and fit any other needs they may require.
- Enhanced Induction Days (CCCU Advance): Care Leaver applicants are invited for a bespoke induction, allowing them to meet other students from a care background and familiarise them with the support available and ensure they are confident in starting in the upcoming term.
- Priority Outreach: All our Outreach Activities (including games and information sessions) can delivered bespoke for anyone from a care experienced background, and resources for specifically for this audience have been developed. We will also give priority advice and guidance, and have student ambassadors with care experience that support all of our
- KAMCOP (Uniconnect) Priority: We reserve places for any young people in care in our range of Inspiring Minds events, which are an interactive and creative series of events in different specific subject areas, such as Engineering or Creative Writing, aimed at raising academic aspirations.
- Travel Support: We can cover the cost of travel for care experienced students if they are interested in an Open Day or Bespoke Visit depending on several factors. We invite any care experienced students interested in this to find out if we can support their travel. This will be paid for by the School and College Engagement Team budget.
- East Kent Schools Together (EKST): East Kent Schools Together group is a partner group that brings students together from several independent and state schools to encourage interconnected support and collaboration. We support this group, and often support hosting major events that encourage good wellbeing, outdoors skills, and other aspiration raising activities, particularly focusing on students with lower social confidence (which overlaps with those from care). As part of our upcoming plans to work with young carers, we have also begun the discussion of hosting similar style events for children from care.
- Designated Members of Staff: Care Leavers falling under our university definition have access to a designated member of staff in the Student Support and Wellbeing Team, who can provide support with finance, housing, academia and general wellbeing.
- Peer Mentors: We are hoping to implement the process that all applicants at Canterbury Christ Church who are from a care background are automatically assigned a peer mentor, if possible themselves from a care background, to assist with the transition into university life.
- Union Representation: We are supporting one of our SCE Ambassadors who is from Care with their attempts to have people from care better represented in the Student Union, as well supporting their interest in establishing a Student Society for students from care.
- Care Leaver Bursary: Care Leavers falling under the below definition are eligible for a £3,600 cash award, receiving £1,200 throughout each year of their first three years of university: be in care, or a care leaver, in the UK who is under 25 years of age and who is, or was, looked after under a Care Order when age 16 for at least 13 weeks (status must be verifiable)
- Year Round Accommodation: Care Leavers are eligible for accommodation all year round, including the summer break.
- Degree Round Accommodation: Our accommodation support is also extended to be available to Care Leavers all throughout their academic time with Canterbury Christ Church, even though students are traditionally moved out of university accommodation in the second year of study.
- Care Experienced and Estranged: We have opened discussions to widen our terminology, definitions and support of care leavers to care experienced and estranged students, which would give a much more thorough recognition of students who are likely from similar backgrounds and experiences.
- Redeveloped Webpage: We are in the process of completely redesigning our entire website, and for the wider relaunch we have been involved in discussing how our page for supporting Care Leavers needs to be thoroughly expanded to include the wide amount of support available to CLs with more significant signposting.
- Christmas Cards: We intend to follow up as to whether we can integrate VC-signed Christmas cards into our CL wellbeing and support.
- Tutor Training: We have approached NNECL for other institutional practices in training personal tutors and academics. One university has trialed an activity where care leaver students and professionals created a training together, and this is something we are very interested in learning from and potentially replicating.
- Welcome Package: We will introduce a welcome package for the next Induction event, for 2021. This will include a CCCU hoodie and other to-be-decided components.
- Moving in Buddy: We will introduce Moving in Buddies for the next academic year, using the SCE Ambassador team (who also support CL Easter/Summer Schools) to buddy up with students who might want help and a friend moving to Christ Church.
2. A Robust Employment Offer
- Guaranteed Interviews: We are in an open discussion with Human Resources to ensure that Care Leaver applications for CCCU vacancies with the appropriate qualifications are guaranteed an interview, subject to any other conditional issues. Our most recent step in this conversation is evidencing that both London Metropolitan University and Lancaster University have begun embedding the same fast track system into their own application systems.
- Staff Training: We have begun investigating how we could incorporate staff training of care leaver lived experiences into the professional development training structure.
- Career Support Post-graduation: We are committed to supporting care leavers from our institution with careers information, advice and guidance in person for three years after graduation. They also retain access to our online Careers and Enterprise Hub for life.
- In-curriculum Work-related Experience (WRE): All of our undergraduate programmes offer assessed work-related experiences to all students. Some of these experiences are work placements, but many are employer-led live briefs and similar projects that provide a supported and accessible opportunity for students from all backgrounds and personal circumstances to maximise their employability.
- Extra-curricular careers information, advice and guidance: All students have 24 hour access to our online careers and enterprise hub through their own or the university’s computers and via an app on their smart phones. They can also visit the Careers and Enterprise Hub in the Library for personal support with job applications for part time work whilst studying. Care leavers can access unlimited support with their job search. Students can also attend workshops on a range of employment related issues online and in the Hub all year round.
- GradForce programme: Care leavers are one of the target groups being actively recruited to our OfS funded GradForce programme. GradForce provides coaching, training and matching services for students who want to access graduate work opportunities in local SMEs. This programme includes six months follow-up support for both the graduate and employer following successful recruitment.
- Student Ambassador Guarantee: We have embedded this same fast-track system into our Student Ambassador work scheme in the School and College Engagement Team, although extending it to all students who have experienced care. On top of an interview, you are guaranteed the paid position subject to any conditional obstacles, such as not passing a DBS check. We also have built this position into information provided by the Student Support and Wellbeing Team to all Care Leavers on registration to the university, so that all Care Leavers are made available of the employment opportunity available to them.
- Virtual Support: Advertised through our many networks, including those specifically working with young people from care, we have begun a series of webinars ranging from the essentials of how student finance works to what the benefits of university are. All of these are free and accessible from any online device, and can be delivered for any bespoke audience, such as care leavers. We are also updating our specific care leaver presentations to be available from the same series.
- Open Lectures: We regularly host free and public lectures and sometimes conferences for public interest, which are accessible for people from care. These are in a wide subject variety, such as from our “From Brontë to Bloomsbury” conference. We will make an active effort to make sure this is communicated to the appropriate networks via our many partnerships and working relationships with the local authority and Virtual Schools Kent.
- English Language Lessons: The university has begun providing English Language lessons for those of all levels, and this is not only available for free but is particularly useful for those in the care system for whom English is not their native language, and is particularly promoted to unaccompanied asylum seeker children via Kent Refugee Action Network and at regional Care Leaver networks, such as CLPP.
- Public Exhibitions We often host free and public exhibitions in our Sidney Cooper Gallery and new Daphne Oram building, in the heart of Canterbury. An accessible option for care experienced people in the South East to see both graduate and historical art. We will begin the conversation as to whether we can host a “voices from care” event annually to showcase work from our care experienced students.
- Kent & Medway Progression Federation (KMPF): A partnership between several Higher Education institutions and Further Education institutions (such as the University of Kent and the East Kent College group) with shared targets, including those based on care leavers included on the Access to Participation Plan.
- National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL): We are members of NNECL, and regularly attend their South East regional meetings.
- Care Leaver Progression Partnership (CLPP): We are members of the strategic partnership CLPP, a Kent-based network of representatives from universities, colleges, charities, carers, social workers and the local authorities who are involved with the support and progression of students from Care.
- Young Lives Foundation (YLF): We have a working and friendly relationship with Young Lives Foundation, a charity that works with children that may need additional support including many in care. We have supported their evening events and provided support and information about HE for children in care, and look forward to this continuing.
- Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN): We have a working relationship with KRAN through our volunteering hub and some of our courses, and already support them through three placements from the Alternative Learning Experience scheme in the Education courses, and have Masters, Languages, and Health courses students volunteering in a variety of other roles. We have begun further conversations from the School and College Engagement team as to how we can support young people in care who are involved with and supported by KRAN, including providing bespoke visits.
- Virtual Schools Kent: We have a close working relationship with the local authority, and have been working to support young people in there protection for many years.