Please detail the full life‐cycle support you have in place for care leavers.
The Care Leaver Covenant advocates for a collaborative, whole‐institution approach.
When detailing a response to this “pillar” we ask you to bear in mind (and where appropriate make reference
- The DfE Principles for Supporting Care Leavers in HE – which applies in part to FEC
- That all appropriate and relevant information is kept up to date (and regularly checked) on the
- The CSJ and First Star’s pledge of supporting 12×24
- The outcomes of NNECL’s Quality Mark Pilot, with the long‐term consideration of signing up.
- Reviewing and improving this provision every year, or as new advice is published – whichever
The TEC Partnership is committed to supporting Care Experienced learners to help them overcome
barriers to their education, success and progression. In particular we are addressing some of the
key challenges they face as detailed below:
- Lower school attainment, particularly at key stage 4
The TEC Partnership’s 14‐16 Academy ensures small class sizes offer the best opportunities for targeted academic support and pupil premium can be used for targeted intervention for care looked after children. Learners who don’t achieve maths and English in pre‐16 education are given dedicated support to retake these core subjects as soon as they enter FE.
- A lack of positive role models and low expectations from carers and advisers. Staff within the TEC Partnership hold high expectations of all learners and a range of support is in place to raise aspirations and provide positive influences for Care Experienced learners.
- Low aspirations and concerns about being able to afford higher education. Targeted support is offered to Care Experienced learners to highlight funding opportunities and support available. Information is shared via Local Authority In‐Care Teams to ensure it can reach learners who are external to the TEC Partnership. We work with the local Uniconnect partnerships, who also target care‐experienced learners, to help raise their aspirations to further and higher education, dispel myths and address concerns about matters relating to progression.
- A lack of information and advice before and when applying to higher education. Every full time or substantive part time applicant to the TEC partnership has a central interview or screening to establish support and IAG needs at that stage. Information is
also published on the organisations website and shared via external contacts, such as Local Authorities, schools and colleges.
- Difficulty accessing the financial support they need and problems with accommodation. Information about financial support is discussed through‐out the application cycle and publicised through admissions communications. Financial Support Advisors are on hand at enrolment and targeted communications share information about financial support and the Advisors who can assist with financial support needs contact Care Experienced learners to offer personalised support. In further education, the TEC Partnership actively promotes the vulnerable young people’s bursary and in higher education the HE Care Leaver’s Scholarship and HE Support Funds are actively promoted to students who may be eligible for these. Accommodation for higher education Care Experienced learners can be arranged for 365 days/year if required.
The support for Care Experienced learners starts before enrolment, through information, advice and guidance circulated externally and offered directly at school and college engagement events. Learner Advisors undertake applicant screening to help identify any applicants with care backgrounds and offer advice in terms of the support we can offer prior to prospective learners
having curriculum interviews.
We invite enquiries for any learners with care backgrounds who may be interested in personalised support so we can tailor our services to best meet their needs. We are optimistic that through signing up to the HE Care Leavers Covenant and through membership of NNECL and through work towards the NNECL kitemark, that we will develop our communication methods and channels to
continuously improve the services we offer and our outreach to learners with care experience.
Prior to enrolment, screening information about support needs, obtained during the admissions cycle is shared where relevant, with appropriate staff members to ensure care‐experienced learners are supported throughout their studies. Staff are advised which teams, colleagues and external agencies would sources of support to any potentially vulnerable learners. This process is undertaken and reviewed on an annual cycle so staff are always aware of sources of support.
A HE Care Leaver scholarship is available as part of our Access and Participation Plan, which offers substantial financial support for Care Leavers, including tuition fees, meals, travel and subsistence payments and in some cases accommodation costs to enable care experienced learners to study higher education within the TEC Partnership and potentially be debt‐free graduates. This has been
advertised through direct contact with care leavers and prospective HE applicants who may be care experienced but who may not have disclosed their care background. It has also been promoted through the local authority and UniConnect partnerships where they have dedicated staff to supporting care looked after learners.
In accordance with the DfE Principles for Supporting Care Leavers In HE, the TEC Partnership also maintains excellent relationships with outreach organisations and local authorities to provide information, advice and guidance, transition support and an ongoing network of support for enrolled learners. Also, in line with the afore‐mentioned DfE Principles, the TEC partnership has designated staff members who support Care Experienced learners, for example, an Intensive Support Team who are in regular contact with Leaving Care Workers in Local Authorities, and all care experienced learners have support from a Success Coach team, who support with pastoral and academic issues, alongside supporting our Care Leavers with progression plans.
We are in the process of applying for NNECL membership to confirm our commitment to supporting Care Leavers and will apply for the NNECL’s Quality Mark. It is anticipated this network will provide opportunities for sharing good and effective practice so we can continuously develop our services for Care Experienced learners and enable us to keep up to date with any relevant developments in relation to this cohort of learners. The kitemark will ensure we have achieved and maintained our quality standards and have a benchmark which we will be able to use to improve on the service we provide on a regular basis. The Intensive Support Team will review the service provided to care experienced learners on an annual basis through the organisation’s self‐
assessment review process and at interim periods if new advice is received.
A robust employment offer
From application support, or adapted application processes and mentoring, to specific internships, work experience, apprenticeships or traineeships. This is very much open for institutional specific responses, but we believe that every institution is in a position through supporting care leavers as students to translate aspects of this to supporting and offering opportunities to current and potential employees.
The TEC Partnership offers all learners as much work relevant training, education and skills development as possible to ensure they are work‐ready and have the skills and knowledge they require to progress through education and into employment. All students are offered meaningful experiences with employers and industry/professional insights, talks and visits. During the application process employment aspirations are discussed at central and curriculum interview stages and subsequently, enrolled learners have discussions about pathways and transitions throughout their time on programme. As soon as possible, we took part of the Capacity Development Fund (CDF) programme to support learners in extended industry placements as a trial for the introduction of T‐Levels and now we offer both CDF and T‐Level programmes. Learners are prepared for placements through transition programmes as well as through support from a dedicated Skills and Employability Team who offer advice and support around, interview skills, applications, personal statements, employer expectations etc. Learners who aren’t vocational ready for extended placements are offered work related experiences and shorter placement opportunities and internships.
In Higher Education, employers are invited to some interview panels, again offering our learners the employer interaction from the start of their degree programme. Applicants are issued a person specification so they can prepare for the HE interview as they would prepare for a job interview and to ensure they know what criteria an interviewer is looking for in an applicant.
Strong relationships exist between the TEC partnership and local networks such as the Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Careers and Enterprise Company, local guidance networks, UniConnect, and educational partnerships at secondary, FE and HE levels. In addition, employers and labour market information are at the forefront of curriculum planning to ensure our study programmes are designed to meet the employability needs of the future. Areas review ‘Curriculum 2030’ needs and offer experiences for learners that are designed to be relevant for when they leave education and take account of technological advancement. All these professional partnerships have a commitment to supporting the progression of care experienced learners though education and into employment.
The TEC Partnership also works with a broad range of employers and sector bodies to ensure the skills, training and education being offered Is relevant to different sector needs, some examples of the sectors we actively engage with are the health care sector, renewable energy and fisheries industries.
There are numerous community events which are supported by the TEC Partnership such as sporting, musical, business, awards. Where access and costs may form a barrier for care experienced learners, the TEC Partnership would explore different types of support to make community activities more accessible, whether through event sponsorship or personal subsidies, bursary or hardship support.
A number of commercial services are provided to the local community at competitive and subsidised prices – these include dog grooming and doggy day‐care, a hair and beauty salon and the Gallery restaurant, all of which are serviced by TEC Partnership students.
We offer information evenings and open events for all prospective learners where they are able to find out information about possible courses, as well as the variety of support available for any learner that wishes to join us. Information about support for care looked after learners in particular is shared via our relevant internal and external contacts and through social media. The TEC Partnership is also keen to explore a working group, which will include members of the Learner Services Department and other key staff, alongside the local authority to understand local need and channel support and provision to best meet the needs of care experienced