There are a number of ways in which LSBU supports care-leaver students throughout their university journey from offer holder stage, to graduation. Currently, our definition of a care-leaver is a student who is under the age of 25 that has been in the care of a Local Authority for at least 13 weeks before 16 or been the subject of a care order under section 20 of the Children’s Act 1989 between the ages of 16-18. We will outline below the support that we provide for students who are recognised as care-leavers.
- At offer-holder stage, care-leaver students have access to a designated point of contact who can help them navigate all aspects of higher education as well as introducing students to key staff within each area.
- Care-leaver students have the option of accessing 52-week accommodation in LSBU residences if they choose to.
- Students also receive a Care-Leaver bursary which is valued at £1,000 per year of progression. Students may also be eligible to receive a top up bursary from our Access Fund, which is a one-off payment for first year students of £1,000 for students with low-household income.
- Students have access to Skills for Learning Centre which offers an extensive range of workshops, drop-ins and one-to-one sessions designed to enhance fundamental academic practices undertaken at university. The designated point of contact can provide this information to care leaver students, and we are currently working on identifying a member of staff in the service to enable a smooth transition to the service.
- Students have access to the Digital Skills Centre; this is to provide students with training and support around any software used at the university. The designated point of contact can provide this information to care leaver students, and we are currently working on identifying a member of staff in the service to enable a smooth transition to the service.
- Students have access to Student Advisors via our helpdesk which are able to provide initial information, advice and signposting on a number of issues. Student advisors have undertaken training on supporting care-experienced students so are able to recognise and identify barriers to provide effective support.
- Students have access to financial advice from Senior Student Advisors throughout the year. Senior Student advisors are able to carry out financial capability sessions with students. Senior student advisors have undertaken training on supporting care-leaver students so are able to recognise and identify barriers to provide effective support.
- If a student is facing financial difficulties, they can access the Retention Fund to receive financial support to see them through the issue that they are facing. The student advice team aim to get in contact with care-leavers to alert them to the fund and encourage them to apply once every academic year.
- Students have access to academic advisors based in the Students Union that provide impartial advice on academic misconduct, extenuating circumstances and support during disciplinary hearings. The designated point of contact can provide this information to care leaver students, and we are currently working on identifying a member of staff in the service to enable a smooth transition to the service.
- LSBU’s career hub provides support with employability such as cv, job application help and mock interviews. The designated point of contact can provide this information to care leaver students, and we are currently working on identifying a member of staff in the service to enable a smooth transition to the service.
London South Bank is currently reviewing the student support available, and we hope to consider the care leaver provision. We will update the enhanced offer in due course.
2. A Robust Employment Offer
LSBU is keen to explore how, within our organisation, we can respond to this aspect of the Covenant as an employer. We currently have a project working group in place with members of the careers team and other key staff in which we can look into potential ways of providing a robust employment offer for care-leaver individuals.
London South Bank University is committed to be an institution that builds relationships and engages with the local community. Our mission is to be recognised as an enterprising civic university that addresses real world challenges, and this is evident through some of our activities.
- We have established the LSBU Group which is referring to a group of like-minded specialist education providers, offering learners the opportunity to transfer between technical, vocational and academic pathways. This includes Lambeth College, South Bank University Academy of Engineering (for 11-19 year olds), South Bank University Engineering UTC (for 14-19 year olds) and South Bank University Enterprises Ltd. LSBU shares a vision to create a vibrant hub for south London education that will break down educational boundaries, create learning and career pathways and focus on student outcomes and success. For example, LSBU widening participation team have been working with Lambeth College to identify ways in which we can support care-leavers transition from Further Education to Higher Education.
- From a widening participation and outreach perspective, we generally carry out taster days, application advice and attend higher education events. While these are more general, we are also working on building relationships with social workers, and virtual schools for the purpose of providing more targeted support.
- LSBU has an Academy of Sport which is open to the wider public, we have a number of facilities including a gym. We have a therapy clinic in which we provide holistic and conventional treatments and we provide school holiday sports camps for children in the local community. This is an aspect of our offer we hope to develop to ensure we have a care-leaver focus.
- LSBU has a Legal Advice Clinic in which we provide free public drop-in service. This clinic is staffed by law students who are working under the supervision of practicing solicitors. We provide advice and information on a number of topics including social welfare law, family, housing and employment rights. The designated point of contact can provide this information to care-leaver students, and we are currently working on identifying a member of staff in the service to enable a smooth transition to the service.
LSBU is committed to working with the local community and developing our offer for care-experienced students.