We aim to support those who are care experienced at all stages of their student journey.
Keele work alongside the Virtual School in Staffordshire to provide bespoke guidance to young people in the region with care experience and tailor to their needs.
Widening Participation Collaborative Group: Keele is part of a collaborative network of universities, which work towards engaging looked after children and care leavers, making them aware of their options in terms of higher education- we work with this group to run events for identified groups and build relationships with local authorities to ensure care leavers are aware of the support available from our university partners.
Our student support teams also have a presence at our open days, with staff available to answer bespoke questions.
The UG Student Recruitment and Access Team offer a range of sessions to support learners, including sessions in schools around the UCAS application and personal statement.
There is also a reduced, contextual offer for care experienced students that they are eligible for during the application process.
Once students have applied, they get an email from Keele with the support on offer at Keele from the Faculty support team. This is bespoke to learners flagged as having experience of the care system offering tailored, individual support. The team are also able to provide bespoke financial support should students need it for interviews.
The student support team offer a welcome buddy scheme to help students settle in. This offer is made to students from the time that they are made an offer and throughout the first year, where students can engage as much or as little as they want to.
Early contact is made from dedicated contact in each of Keele’s Schools, giving students opportunities to engage on a personalised level to suit their individual needs.
Pre-arrival and induction talks are offered to all students on services that are offered and all students are offered a welcome pack.
A specific care leaver bursary is offered to students with experience of the care system and they are given priority access to hardship funding.
On Course Support:
Dedicated contacts: Keele University offers a named dedicated care leaver support contact within each faculty at the university (available at firstname.lastname@example.org) who can offer tailored, individual and sustained support prior to arrival and throughout your time as a Keele student.
The contact email address is filtered through to named contacts across each faculty. The generic email provides support across a longer service
The dedicated care leaver contacts are based in the within the faculty buildings on campus as well as a presence in the Student Services Centre within the heart of campus, so there will always be someone available to help should you need it.
Keele also offers year-long accommodation for students with care experience should they wish to take up this option.
Student Ambassador scheme (Paid) – The scheme is aimed at Keele University students who share a passion for Higher Education and feel able to share their knowledge and experiences with prospective students, parents and teachers. Care experienced and estranged students are prioritised at the application stage and are also prioritised to work at events where care experienced pupils or virtual schools are involved.
Student Santander internships: Care leavers are prioritised when applying for this.
Storage for belongings through holidays or years abroad if necessary.
A £500 graduation bonus is provided on top of normal and regular support for care experienced students. Support staff will also go along to graduation for support for students with strong relationships to acknowledge their achievements.
Research and affiliate groups:
In 2013 Keele University was awarded the Buttle UK Quality Mark for our commitment to Care Leavers and the support that we provide. Whilst the Buttle UK Quality Mark has now come to an end, we maintain our commitment to put in place a comprehensive package of student support. Care Leavers remain an area of priority in Keele’s 2020-2025 Access and Participation Plan, with one of our strategic aims being to reduce the overall attainment gap between care leavers and non-care leavers. We have made steady progress in increasing the number of care leavers at Keele over the last five years, with a 75% increase in new entrants between 2014-15 and 2018-19.
We are participating in academic research into the experiences of care leaver applicants and students, and utilising national policy guidance such as the recent DfE policy paper8 and “12 By 24” report. We are already active within the West Midlands Care Leavers Network, and the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers, and we will build on these links in order to capture and develop best practice.
Our Student Access and Advancement Sub-Committee group places pledges such as the Care Leaver Covenant at the forefront of discussions, to ensure that appropriate review developments are made towards our current offering for care leavers at all stages – access, success and progression. This committee also includes representatives from the Students’ Union and Keele Postgraduate Association, to ensure that the student voice is represented.
Vulnerable Learners Group – we attend meetings with other universities, local authority and charity contacts as part of the Crewe Pledge, where barriers and issues for young people in vulnerable groups are discussed as well as the activity ongoing to support them into education and employment.
Located in the heart of England, Keele excels in both education and research. We’re world-renowned for the breadth of our teaching and proud of our close-knit campus community.
2. A robust employment offer
Opportunities are available on an ad-hoc basis and coordinated by the HR team.
Prioritisation is considered for care leavers/looked after children looking for work experience.
Keele University is keen to explore how, within our organization, we could respond to this aspect of the Covenant. We are working together to understand the local need and how the University can respond.
The Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele (CLOCK) is a unique and innovative award-winning project bringing together universities, law firms, barristers chambers, mediation, charitable and court services to educate, assist, monitor and promote access to justice for disadvantaged communities, including those from a care background.
We offer support to local authority looked after children and fostering networks for meetings at Keele campus. Rooms can be booked free of charge.
Groups can request talks on support at Keele for care experienced students, and/or student life talks from current Keele Student Ambassadors. Requests can be made by contacting our Widening Participation team via email@example.com
Keele has a dedicated events page which promotes upcoming events open to the public (many of which are free of charge). We are considering how we can also promote these events via local authorities – possibly in a bulletin/newsletter.