Where Point Blank Music School uses the term ‘care leaver’, we refer to the UCAS definition which states that an individual has spent at least 13 weeks under the care of a local authority and is under 25 at the beginning of the course.
Where we use the term ‘care experienced’, we include students with any experience of care.
At Point Blank, we understand the challenges sometimes faced by independent applicants and we are here to make the transition to higher education as straightforward as possible. Our Widening Participation and Outreach team regularly work with schools, colleges and other organisations including virtual schools and local authorities, to provide opportunities for prospective students to visit the campus and take part in campus tours and practical taster workshops.
Care experienced prospective students are prioritised in our eligibility criteria for places on our free summer schools, and our ‘Next in Line’ taster programme for 16–19 year-olds.
Those who are care experienced and considering applying to Point Blank should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for bespoke advice and guidance around making an application to us. This guidance will include information regarding accommodation, finance and funding as well as ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of our course structure and facilities. We can also arrange for you to visit for a bespoke tour of our campus and facilities.
Point Blank is committed to making higher education accessible and inclusive. We recognise that an applicant’s circumstances may have affected their previous learning experience. Therefore, in addition to academic qualifications, we use certain information to provide us with some context about your circumstances. This helps us to form a complete view of your attainment and potential when we assess your application to study with us. Care leavers with experience of at least 13 weeks in local authority care during the period of their secondary education are eligible for a contextualised offer from Point Blank. Our contextualised offer is a tariff reduction of 16 UCAS points and applies only to students completing a Level 3 qualification that carries UCAS tariff points. Please note, this excludes applications made via Clearing.
Point Blank students who are assessed by Student Finance as an independent student (due to care experience) should be entitled to the full Tuition and maximum Maintenance Loans.
In addition, Point Blank offers a bursary of £1,500 per year of study, to support independent students and students from low-income households. These are limited in number and are offered on a first come, first served basis, at the point at which the applicant applies for Student Finance. Care experienced applicants are encouraged to therefore apply for their Student Finance early. Applicants who require support with this process should contact our nominated contact for further support via email@example.com
All care experienced students are entitled to apply for funding from the Hardship Fund. This fund provides financial support to Point Blank students who have met unforeseen financial hardship, to help them access and remain on their programme of study. Each application is considered on an individual basis. The maximum award is £1,000 per year. The Student Experience team also offer 1-1 support and group sessions for advice around managing your money whilst studying towards your degree with us.
During induction, students who have indicated a support need on their application form are invited to discuss reasonable adjustments with a member of student support team. New students will have another opportunity to inform us about any experience of care at their enrolment appointment. New students will attend an induction talk which includes an overview of our Wellbeing and Support Services and an introduction to our virtual learning environment. Students will also attend a programme-specific welcome session where they will meet their programme leader and their peers.
On Course Support
Care experienced students are prioritised for the buddy scheme in their first year. The buddy scheme matches new students with continuing students who offer support with settling into the local area, accessing the virtual learning environment, submitting assignments and generally helping with the transition to becoming a Point Blank student. Care experienced students who take part in the buddy scheme in their first year, are invited to become a buddy mentor in their second year. This is a paid role alongside your studies.
Care experienced students are eligible for our laptop loan scheme, enabling them to loan a device from Point Blank for use at home with assignments and projects for up to 3 months at a time.
Careers and Employability
Care experienced students are pro-actively encouraged to make use of the 1-1 dedicated appointments with our Careers and Engagement Manager throughout their time at Point Blank for help with CV and job applications, internships, and mentoring opportunities. Students are invited to attend bi-monthly industry insight and networking events, to meet with professionals from a wide range of music industry careers. Students attend our annual Music Futures event to meet exhibitors from industry and further study routes, attend panel discussions and receive 1-1 mentoring.
Point Blank has its very own record label, offering students the opportunity to submit tracks and receive feedback from current industry label managers and A+R. Students at Point Blank Music Schools also have the opportunity to earn money from their music via our licensing and sync connections.
Care experienced students who apply for Student Ambassador roles are automatically invited to interview. The Student Ambassador scheme provides flexible, paid employment which can fit around your studies and offers the chance to develop multiple transferable skills.
Care experienced students will again be pro-actively contacted by the Careers and Engagement Manager in the first term of their final year and invited to attend a 1-1 appointment to discuss their plans upon graduation and any support that Point Blank is able to provide with their next steps.
Alumni are invited to attend our Music Futures event each year, as well as to submit tracks to our record label (see careers and employability section). Point Blank is currently undergoing a review of broader Alumni support, which will also take into consideration our care leaver provision. We will update the enhanced offer in due course.
Point Blank is keen to explore how, within our organisation, we could respond to this aspect of the Covenant.
Point Blank works in partnership with Look Ahead, an organisation based across London and the Southeast which offers supported living and supports care leavers and independent young people to access education and training. We offer practical taster workshops both at their sites and on campus, as well as free places on our summer courses and taster programmes, to their customers.
Point Blank works closely with Hackney Borough Council Education team and promotes its outreach offer via their support officers and virtual school. Through the council, we are also a member of Project Hackney, a local initiative dedicated to improving informeddecision-making regarding post-16 options.
We will continue to explore additional ways in which we can support our local community and would invite local organisations supporting care leavers to contact us directly via firstname.lastname@example.org