At Newcastle University, we undertake considerable targeted work with care experienced students from outreach activities pre-entry, during their application journey and throughout the student lifecycle. All relevant information is detailed on the University Care Leaver webpages and is also kept up to date on the Propel website. We also applied to be part of the NNECL Quality Framework pilot, but we were not chosen as one of the pilot institutions. We aim to sign up to the new quality framework when it is approved.
- Aspiration-raising events from Year 5 to Year 13, focusing on providing information on university life, developing skills for university and supporting successful transition. Care experienced students are fast-tracked onto those events that use eligibility criteria to select students, such as residential visits.
- The Choices Together programme, organised as part of the Raising Aspirations Partnership (a partnership of the five North East universities). This is a programme of events/workshops aimed specifically at care experienced students in Years 10 and 11.
- The partnership also now delivers a range of Foster Family Fun Days for Looked after Young People in Years 7 to 9, and a Conference for foster carers and other people who work with young people in care.
- A named University contact who can arrange personalised pre-entry meetings and campus visits, signposting to the range of support available, and information regarding the University’s financial packages. Individual introduction to the Student Wellbeing Team.
- Individual, informal support offered at each of the University’s three annual open days.
- Newcastle University’s PARTNERS Programme supported entry route is automatically extended to all home students who indicate that they have experienced care for a period of longer than three months. This entitles the student to a lower offer for their course and provides them with the additional support offered by an Academic Summer School. The event is completely free of charge – accommodation and meals are provided for the duration of the Summer School, and transport is organised or reimbursed. Further information about PARTNERS can be found here:
At Newcastle University, we consider student achievements in the context of their circumstances when assessing all applications. We aim to admit highly-motivated and enthusiastic students of all ages, and from all backgrounds. Our Undergraduate Admissions Team use certain contextual data from students’ UCAS forms, alongside the application, to take into account challenges that they may have faced in their education and the potential effect this may have had on their qualifications. These offers apply across all subject areas at the University. All home students who indicate that they have experienced care for a period of longer than three months would be eligible for a contextual offer which would be two grades lower than the typical offer for the relevant course. Our Undergraduate Admissions team would also use this information when considering students who have not quite met the entry criteria stated in their offer at Confirmation.
Support throughout the student lifecycle:
- Induction support and signposting throughout Stage One and at appropriate points throughout the remaining stages, such as study skills support and job opportunities.
- Central University Financial Support. In most cases Care Leavers are eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship but there is an additional Care Leaver Bursary for students who don’t fit the criteria for the Opportunity Scholarship. Further information about the financial support on offer can be found here:
- Participation Bursary of £200 offered by Newcastle University Students’ Union. All Care Leavers are automatically eligible for this. Further information about this bursary can be found here:
- Extended accommodation available on request
- Free Freshers’ week wristband.
- A graduation package, including free gown hire, photo package and additional guest tickets.
Whilst we feel we do have a very good level of support for care experienced students, we are always looking to improve on this by reviewing our provision regularly and following any new advice that is published. Using the DfE Principles for Supporting Care Leavers we are currently looking into the following developments to the support we offer:
- Offering free or subsidised accommodation for all first year Care Leaver students
- Offering a free accommodation Guarantor via YourGuarantor for all Care Leavers. YourGuarantor is currently endorsed by our Students’ Union. Further information about YourGuarantor can be found here:
- Offering a free meet and greet service for Care Leavers when they first arrive in the city as well as a welcome pack. This would include helping them to move into accommodation and getting any luggage from the train station, airport etc.to their accommodation.
- Further build relationships with LAC teams and local virtual heads to learn from their expertise in this area.
- Further development of our Care Leaver webpages to include Care Leaver testimonials.
We are also looking at the following additional developments:
- Conduct annual focus groups with Care Leavers to ascertain their views on the University’s current offering and developments in conjunction with our Students’ Union. The aim Is for the first one to take place in November 2019
- Work with the Students’ Union to raise money for Christmas gifts/stockings for Care Leavers IN December 2019.
- Develop a robust communications plan for Care Leavers throughout 2019/20 to ensure all at the University receive the relevant information and support they require.
- Offer corporate Parent training in 2020 for designated members of staff to ensure all staff who work with Care Leavers are giving consistent support.
- Review Care Leaver support for Postgraduate students. Look to extend the Care Leaver bursary to Postgraduate students and offer fee discounts to Care Leavers who apply for Postgraduate courses starting in 2021.
2. A Robust Employment Offer
At Newcastle University we offer a wide range of employment opportunities and guidance to our students both during and after their degrees.
Our University Careers Service offer the Careers Insights programme. The programme is primarily aimed at under-represented students including Care Leavers. This year’s programme includes:
- access to employer events and exclusive workshops
- a team business project with a global company
- a fully-funded trip to visit key graduate employers and build employability skills
- a fully-funded small business experience day
- a £200 bursary to support participation in the programme
- an opportunity to access a £500 work experience bursary through the Career Insights Bursary
All students who complete the programme gain an Ncl+ award which demonstrates that they have developed skills that employers are looking for including:
- personal enterprise
- self-awareness and reflection
- planning and organizing
Further information about the programme can be found here:
The PARTNERS Academic Summer School, which forms part of the University’s supported entry route that all Care Leavers are eligible for includes a whole section dedicated to employability. All students take part in a variety of sessions developed by the Careers Service and the University Alumni network to give them a broad overview of the services available to them. The sessions include:
- A Q&A-style session with former PARTNERS students giving attendees the opportunity to find out how to benefit most from the Summer School and make the most of their week on campus.
- A Newcastle University Alumni Keynote
- An introduction to the Careers Service
- A careers fair giving attendees the opportunity to meet graduate employers and members of the alumni network
- A goal-setting session
There are many student work opportunities available across the University that are promoted to Care Leavers including the Student Ambassador Scheme, the FutureMe Mentor Scheme and the Street Science Team. All of the opportunities are promoted on the University webpages and emails are also sent directly to Care Leavers detailing what the jobs entail, the application process and rates of pay. Students also have the opportunity to apply for a graduate-level position as a Graduate Ambassador who will represent the Newcastle student experience at a range of student-led events and activities on-campus and around the UK.
Further information about these opportunities can be found here:
Our University Students’ Union offers the opportunity to become an Inclusivity Ambassador. The Inclusivity Ambassador Project is a new project which aims to build supportive networks, create events, drive positive change and promote inclusivity here at Newcastle University. The aim is to support under-represented groups including Care Leavers and the employed Ambassadors are from the under-represented groups they are aiming to support. This opportunity is promoted via the Students’ Union webpages and emails are also sent directly to Care Leavers detailing what the job entails, the application process and rates of pay. Further information about this opportunity can be found here:
Our University Careers Service also offer advice and guidance to all students during their degree and up to three years after they graduate. This wide range of support includes appointments with a Careers Adviser available every weekday without the need for an appointment. The Careers Service also run regular events and workshops aimed at helping students to market their skills and develop their knowledge in areas such as CV writing and interview preparation. There are also lots of online resources aimed at helping students with their career development including a database of hundreds of graduate job vacancies, work experience placements and internships, with around 75 new jobs advertised every week. Further information about the Careers Service can be found here:
Whilst the University offers a wide range of support and guidance for students and graduates, we recognise that there are ways to improve this and tailor support to Care Leavers. We will look at the following developments:
- Offering a named Careers Adviser contact for Care Leavers who can give tailored advice and guidance both during their degree and when they graduate.
- Offering a Graduation bursary to support Care Leavers with the transition from University to Graduate employment.
- Disseminating relevant employment opportunities to the Virtual School to promote them to Care Leavers.
- Clarifying the eligibility criteria for the Careers Insights programme to show that all Care Leavers would be automatically eligible to take part.
At Newcastle University we engage with the community in a variety of different ways. Our University Engagement and Place strategy aims to improve the economy, health, social wellbeing and cultural richness of the places in which we operate. We work with a range of partners including:
- multi-national corporations and SMEs
- public sector
- civil society
- the health sector
- voluntary organisations
- schools and colleges
There are many different examples of the ways the University engages with the community to detail them all so we will focus on a couple of examples here. Further information about the engagement we have can be found on the following webpage:
Our University dental school engages with the local community via offering free dental care at the Dental School and Hospital as well as in clinics around the city provided by senior dental students. This treatment is open to anyone and brings much-needed dental care to local communities. Further information can be found on the Dental School webpages.
In September 2011, a meeting with representatives from local Youth Groups identified a lack of advice and support available for children and young people regarding their general and legal rights. Working with local Youth Groups, primary and secondary schools, Newcastle University Street Law Ambassadors (SLAs) have developed materials on legal issues such as police powers, access to legal advice, rights at school, street drinking and transitions into adulthood.The Street Law project develops and evolves every year, led by the student SLAs. Further information can be found here:
The University offers a wide range of free events that are open to anyone including live music performances by current Music students and public lectures from a variety of speakers. Further information about events on offer can be found here:
The University has a variety spaces that can be booked by anyone for events and conferences as well research and commercial facilities and business incubation facilities to allow new businesses to develop. Further information about the range of facilities on offer can be found here:
University students can engage with the local community in a variety of ways including the Good Neighbour Project. This project gives students the support and guidance they need to stay safe, be good neighbours, and make a positive impact on the local community. Students can engage with their local community by volunteering for projects run by the Students’ Union and are also encouraged to be good neighbours by taking simple steps such as limiting noise and disposing of rubbish correctly. Each month student households can apply for the ‘Best Neighbour’ award and can win up £1000 towards housing costs. Further information about this initiative can be found here:
We are currently working with staff across the University to organise a Christmas Dinner for Care Leavers in the local area as part of the national Christmas Dinner Project founded by Lemm Sissay MBE. We aim for this to take place on the University campus on Christmas Day 2019. Further information about the national project can be found here:
Whilst we do engage widely with the community and all opportunities would be open to Care Leavers, currently none of the engagement is aimed directly at Care Leavers. We will, therefore, look at the following developments:
- Offer free room hire to our Virtual School and Local Authorities to use for events and conferences.
- Include all community engagement opportunities in our Care Leaver Communications plan to ensure all are aware of the opportunities available to them.