Opportunity | Details

Care Leavers Wanted



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University of Bristol

Summary: …is committed to supporting Care Leavers. This is the collaborative, whole-institution response evidenced through the Care Leaver Covenant.

Further Details:


Please detail the full life-cycle support you have in place for care leavers.

When detailing a response to this “pillar” we ask you to bear in mind (and where appropriate make reference to):

  • 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 Propel Site.
  • 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 comes first.

Currently, for our contextual offer we define care leavers as students who ‘have spent three months or more in local authority care’.


The University has a named contact for care experienced students from pre-application to graduation. A member of the Outreach Team will be able to offer advice for students considering university. This advice can be offered about applying to university all the way through the UCAS cycle.

Our Outreach Team run events to help care experienced students find out more about university and prioritise care experienced students in our outreach projects. Information about the StandAlone bursary and the Unite Foundation Scholarship is provided in relevant school talks and events.

We work with local charities support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and will foster links with local charities foyers and homeless shelters to reach those living without support from their families.


If a student has spent three months or more in local authority care, they will be eligible for a contextual offer. Our contextual offer is a grade reduction of up to two grades below the standard entry requirements.

Gateway to Medicine/ Dentistry/ Veterinary science eligibility

Care leavers are eligible to apply for the Gateway to Medicine, Gateway to Dentistry, and Gateway to Veterinary Sciences courses, regardless of the school or college that they attend.

Bristol’s ‘Gateway to…’ courses are aimed at students who have the potential to become doctors, dentists or vets, but do not meet the academic entry criteria to apply directly to our five-year undergraduate courses.


Moving in support

We will offer new students the opportunity to have help on moving in day from staff member or student mentor.

Welcome package

We give students a moving in package. This includes stationery, a gift voucher and a welcome card, which is delivered directly to halls of residence (or given to them if they are not in University residence).

On course support

Current students within the institution have access to a specific point of contact who can offer 1:1 advice, support, and coaching throughout a student’s time at Bristol. The point of contact will also be able to signpost student to additional support around the University and help them to work through any challenges or concerns that they may have.


The university has a Specific Point of Contact within the Student Funding Office. This member of staff can give advice and guidance through the student finance application process, including how to apply for “independent status” with Student Finance England/ Wales / Scotland / Northern Ireland

Our Bristol Standalone bursary offers eligible care experienced students £1,500 pounds for each year of study.

Care Experienced students receive priority for our Financial Assistance Fund, and for consideration for Summer Financial Assistant Fund. These are discretionary funds to provide financial assistance to home (UK) students to help them access and remain in Higher Education.

The University also offers a number of bursaries including the University of Bristol bursary. The Eagle House Education Trust offers financial help for students who have lived in care in Somerset.

365 day access to accommodation

The University of Bristol is delighted to be working with the Unite Foundation supporting students who have previously been in care or are estranged from their parents. The Unite Foundation Scholarship provides recipients with free en-suite accommodation for three years of undergraduate study.

For those not in receipt of the unite foundation scholarship, the Accommodation Office offers a range of tenancy lengths and also self-catered accommodation in Bristol throughout the summer for incoming and current University of Bristol students -from 24 pounds per night (2019/20 costs).

Care leavers who wish to come back into halls after year 1 are given priority consideration.

Students who are homeless or are risk of homelessness can disclose to the accommodation office and will be prioritised for accommodation.

Help with guarantors.

Most of our halls of residence do not require a deposit, or for students to have a guarantor. For those planning on living in private rented accommodation, the university has established a relationship with Housing Hand, a company that offers fully comprehensive guarantor service.

Christmas gifts

At Christmas we provides gift boxes for care experienced students. These include handwritten Christmas cards, and individually wrapped presents (In 2021 this included a t-shirt, socks, stationery, chocolates, and hot chocolate).


A monthly newsletter is sent to all care experienced students, informing them of tailored opportunities at the University.

Mental health and well being

Framework of support

As part of our commitment to the Care Leaver Covenant, we have reviewed our tailored package of pastoral support to guide Care Experienced students development and ensure that they thrive at Bristol and beyond.

Peer support

Bristol SU have launched the Care Leavers and Estrange Students Network. Networks are an exciting way for students to build communities an create change through collective action. They are representative bodies that can lead campaigns, hold forums and organise social events.

Peer mentors are available for any first year undergraduate. Mentors will usually study a similar subject and are able to answer any questions students have about their course or university life. Students have the option to indicate a preference for a mentor who shares similar characteristics – care leaver for example.

We run monthly tea and coffee drop in sessions for care experienced students. This gives them the opportunity to meet with other students and ask questions of our dedicated care contact.

 Careers and Employability

The Careers Service is offers an extra suite of support for widening participation students, which includes care experienced students:

1) Flying Start newsletter. A weekly bulletin outlining equality and diversity targeted opportunities, events, and internships.

2) “Help with…” group sessions and appointments. This four part series aims to boost student’s confidence in topics we know can be a struggle. Sessions Include “Help with… finding work this summer” and “Help with… interviews”. After a quick video outlining our top tips, jump into 45 minutes of Q&A with a team of Careers Service staff through a chat function (no camera/microphone). Then book one of our extra 1:1 appointments if you want to continue your conversation.

3) SME internship appointments. Students can get support with applying for an internship with the SME internship scheme. This scheme offers 140 hour internships advertised on mycareer. It also offers a pot of money for students to source their own internship with a small or medium sized organisation.

4) Bristol Mentors scheme. Students are paired up with an alumni mentor in a sector of their choice.

Care leavers are priority eligibility criteria for the SME Internships and Bristol Mentors scheme.

Our Widening Participation Research Summer Internships provide undergraduates from underrepresented groups with hands-on experience of research during the summer holidays, with the aim of encouraging you to consider a career in research. Care-leavers are part of the priority eligibility criteria.

Study Abroad

Our study, work or volunteer abroad summer programmes are a fantastic opportunity for students to gain International experience. All current undergraduate students can apply for Turing funding to support their placement. There are significantly increased grant rates and travel bursaries for care-leavers.


We offer students a graduation package. Currently this includes a voucher for graduation dinner for a student + one guest (£50) and a voucher for the SU Basket shop to buy a hoodie or similar other branded items to the (£50).

When in person graduations run again we will offer one night accommodation for graduand + one guest and hire of graduation robes.

Identifying students and monitoring progress

Care Leavers/experience students are identified through the UCAS process via a question on the application form. We will review the process to monitor the progress of these students, from application, offer, and intake, to attainment and progression, assessing performance to make improvements throughout the student life cycle

 Awareness raising and training

The university offered training to staff to help highlight the challenges care experienced students face, and to educate students and staff about the support available.

We will work with the Bristol SU Care Leaver and Estranged Student Network and outside agencies (such as become and the care leaver covenant etc.) to train staff, particularly those in student facing support roles, to understand the issues faced by care experienced students and how we can best support them. We’re currently liaising with the previous chair of the Network to run family privilege training for frontline support staff (including Careers Advisors).

Areas to consider…

The University of Bristol is currently undergoing a review of Student Support, which will also take into consideration our care leaver provision. We will update the enhanced offer in due course.

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 University of Bristol is keen to explore how, within our organisation, we could respond to this aspect of the Covenant. We plan to explore with members of the careers team and other key staff – we will also link with the local authority to understand the local need.


Detail how care leavers will access your employment offer(s)?

Please consider the application (including start and end dates), interview, transitional and ongoing support. Please also state the length of time for each opportunity and rates of pay, or subsidy – this can be included in the main body of the detail above and will be drawn out and posted on the Care Leaver Covenant app where appropriate.


 How does the institution build relationships and engage with the local community?

 Consider student clinics – medical or law for example. Health and beauty treatments, culinary schools or sports coaching in colleges, or information on talk series and open events etc.

 Consideration should be given to the advertising and access and / or discounted opportunities, which could be hosted on the Care Leaver Covenant app.

 Consider how this information is publicised, how this might be augmented to enhance the reach to a care leaving audience?

The University of Bristol is keen to explore how, within our organisation, we could respond to this aspect of the Covenant. We will map out current offerings and seek support to enhance this.














Next Steps

If you would like more information, please contact:

Name: Maria Tottle

Position: Mature Student and Peer Support Adviser

E-mail: Maria.Tottle@bristol.ac.uk

Contact number: 07811010176

Care Leaver Covenant

Any Queries?

If you have further questions or would like any more information, you can contact the Care Leaver Covenant at any time.

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