At Falmouth University we define a care leaver as a young person (up to the age of 25) who has been looked after by the local authority for more than 13 weeks since they were 14, including some time at age 16 or 17.
We define care experienced as any student who has been or is currently in care or from a looked after background at any stage of their life, no matter how short. This care may have been provided in one of many different settings, such as in residential care, foster care, kinship care or looked after at home with a supervision requirement.
Falmouth University is committed to supporting students who are under 25 and are care leavers, care experienced, or are estranged or otherwise independent of a family. Going to university can be a big move, but we have a range of professional teams and student mentors on hand to offer whatever personalised package of support you may need.
Dedicated Student Support
We have a dedicated student services team who can liaise with the local authority, social services, and any other outside agencies on your behalf. Student Services workers will contact students who are known to be care experienced to provide advice regarding the services available to them, but you can also get in touch with them directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Settling Into University Life
Support is available to make the transition to university life as smooth as possible. This includes:
- Pre-Freshers’ Week transition programme ‘Step Into Falmouth’: care experienced students are invited to attend a week of webinars designed to help students overcome any concerns they may have about making the transition to studying at university. This transition week provides you with the opportunity to meet new people in advance of starting your studies and learn about the range of support services available. Practical advice is available on a range of topics including academic skills, welfare, Freshers’ Week and induction.
- Welcome packs: For 2021, we are planning on offering you a ‘Welcome Pack’ which contains pre-paid bus tickets, laundrette vouchers and food vouchers+. Students’ packs will be available from the accommodation office on campus.
At Falmouth, we offer a holistic, contextual admissions process, for applicants to demonstrate their creative ability through a pitch, performance or portfolio, which takes into consideration the whole person rather than focusing solely on your academic grades.
Raising Aspirations Programme
Our Outreach team supports students from backgrounds that are less likely to attend university to access undergraduate study at Falmouth. We hope to remove some of the barriers that applicants who are care experienced may face by offering a support package based on your needs.
Support can include personal statement advice, mock interviews, portfolio feedback, interview adjustments and bursaries to travel to campus or your interview. You can contact us to implement support by emailing email@example.com
Student Mentor Scheme
Falmouth’s mentoring scheme matches second-year students with new first years, to help you settle in and to answer any questions you might have. Over the summer student mentors get in touch to help ensure that your arrival is smooth and happy. Your mentor will continue to support you and help you settle in throughout the first year.
Each course also has its own Student Mentor Facebook group, where students can chat to a mentor about what to expect at Falmouth. Students can sign up via our website: https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/experience/new-students/mentoring
We can offer accommodation 365 days a year, plus early entry into halls of residence if required.
Our Accommodation Office is available to talk to students about the accommodation support options available to them. They can be contacted by calling 01326 253639 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For support relating to private sector accommodation, students should contact Richard Wilkins, Private Sector Accommodation Liaison Officer, by calling 01326 253741 or emailing email@example.com
Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union
During 2021, the Students’ Union have developed and implemented a range of forums for students from underrepresented groups to form discussion groups. This will include a forum for care experienced students this year.
The Students’ Union Advice Service is on hand to provide advice on a range of subjects. The team can be contacted by calling 01326 255861 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan from the Government, Falmouth University offers a number of other sources of financial support.
The Pendennis Bursary is granted to students who are care leavers and those in similar circumstances without any family network or support. The bursary is £1,000 in each full year of study and is intended to help with the cost of any deposits and additional accommodation required during the course of the academic year. In addition to the £1,000 bursary, recipients of the Pendennis Bursary will receive welcome vouchers to the value of £100 to spend at ASDA when they arrive at Falmouth in their first term. Eligible students can be identified to us via colleagues from within or outside the University, and we would encourage students who feel they may be eligible for the Pendennis Bursary to contact the Student Funding team.
Any funding-related queries should be directed to our Student Funding team, who can be contacted by calling 01326 255310 or emailing email@example.com.
Falmouth University will fund the cost of the graduation ceremony. This will include the tickets to the ceremony, the hire of cap and gown, a graduation picture, and the cost of overnight accommodation if required.
We provide tailored employability support to care experienced students through RealWORKS, including:
A named Talent Coach
Where we have been notified that a student is care experienced, we will proactively reach out to them to offer support with their Career Development. You can also contact the RealWORKS team directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Talent Coaches will provide an introduction to the services available through RealWORKS including an introduction to the REAL model of student development and an overview of the services available including online tools and platforms, career events and support with job search and finding part-time jobs.
Workshop on building contacts for the future
The aim of this session will be to help students increase their social capital. We’ll outline the importance of building connections and help you to make the most of the network you already have around you (even if you aren’t aware of it). The session will also introduce you to Handshake, an exclusive network which provides thousands of opportunities for students and graduates to sign-up for events, apply for jobs, placements and internships, build up their profile, and connect with alumni and other students across the UK network. Finally, we’ll work with you to help you understand how you can build your connections through work, volunteering and other activities.
Workshop on the graduate timeline
This session will provide you with support with securing placements and gaining access to graduate-level roles.
This year we have developed an internship programme for any students who meet certain widening participation criteria, which students who identify as Care Experienced or Care Leaver are eligible to access. This will be paid employment with a local employer for 30 hours in total, and will help boost your employability.
You will be directly notified of this internship programme because you will be eligible to apply.
2. A robust employment offer
Falmouth University as an Employer
Falmouth have a statement on all job vacancies, welcoming applications from people of all backgrounds, and will be adding to this wording to specifically include care leavers. Any employees who disclose they are care experienced will be offered a buddying scheme or any other appropriate extra support.
We value diversity at Falmouth and work to ensure that all individuals feel included and welcome to study and work with us. We feel that a ‘sense of belonging’ develops once a student feels part of the university community, but also part of the local community they are living in. Therefore, we encourage all students to get involved in both university and community life, to gain the full student experience.
These community links are forged in 3 different ways;-
a) Through your course group
b) Through the Students Union
c) Through you as an individual getting involved
You will be alerted to these local groups/societies/community projects via different media including the SU website, your course groups facebook page, or verbally by your student adviser/mentor.
Projects working with schools and colleges
Our schools and colleges projects are aimed at supporting any student to start their Higher Education journey, regardless of the university they may consider. Many of our projects offer information, advice and guidance to help you make informed decisions about your future career aspirations.
The University hosts a wide range of exhibitions, events, lectures, talks and performances throughout the year which are open to students, staff and the public. These are advertised on the Events page on our website as well as our weekly student newsletters. We will also send this information to local authorities and charities who support care experienced young people.
Students at Falmouth are encouraged to co-create, or be involved in a diverse range of projects based in the local community, within organisations and charities. This will not only help you to identify and support others with the same life experiences, it will also help you to network and improve your employability.
Exeter and Falmouth Universities pledge to become a ‘Civic University’, working with Cornwall Council and Carefree (Carefree Fostering Independence are a charity who support young people who are in care and care leavers across Cornwall). In addition, organising joint specific events and conferences for care leavers and for Foster Carers/Social Workers.