Outreach and Widening Participation
- The University’s Realise programme runs a series of events each year for young people who have experience of care. These events are aimed at students between 7 and 15, and are designed to give students an opportunity to find out more about post-16 opportunities, including study at university.
- Having experience of care is also one of our eligibility criteria for places on our other Widening Participation Programmes (e.g. Insight, Sutton Trust Summer Schools).
- Young people with experience of care are also eligible for free places at our Subject Matters and Subject Masterclasses.
- Our Realise Coordinator attends regional NNECL meetings.
- Individual admissions decisions are based on detailed consideration of academic record and prospects in their full context. The fact that an applicant has experience of care is flagged to all those assessing applications.
- Care Leavers are offered year-round accommodation, if required, throughout their course, and for up to 10 weeks after graduation.
- Accessible storage for possessions is offered during vacations if required.
- Care Leavers are eligible for awards under the Cambridge Bursary Scheme: those who reside in Cambridge throughout the calendar year receive enhanced student bursaries of up to £5600, while others receive up to £3500. These non-repayable awards are in addition to public funding through Student Finance.
- The first instalment of the enhanced student bursary (currently £525) is available prior to the start of term, to help with travel costs and other essential items.
Welfare and academic support
- All undergraduate students at the University are allocated a Director of Studies who offers close, individually-tailored academic support and a Tutor who provides pastoral support and can advise on personal welfare and financial matters.
- A detailed advice document on Supporting Care Experienced and Estranged Students is produced annually by the Realise team and Cambridge University Students’ Union, to inform Colleges, Directors of Studies, Tutors, and other support services.
- In the 2019/20 academic year the Colleges have named a Champion for Care Experienced and Estranged Students. This person is the Senior Tutor of one of the Colleges and has the responsibility of supporting all Colleges in meeting the needs of care experienced and estranged students, and promoting the further development of good practice.
- Social events for care experienced and estranged students are organized by Students’ Union officers with the support of Colleges. Care Leavers are also able to access services which are freely available to all undergraduate students, such as the Student Union’s Advice Service, University Counselling Service and Disability Resource Centre.
Transition from University
Colleges support Care Leavers at the point of graduation by discussing future plans and offering accommodation for up to 10 weeks after graduation if required. The Careers Service has extensive resources and offers tailored advice to all students, and runs events to help them to explore their options post-graduation.
In the 2019/20 academic year we will be reviewing the programmes and support we have on offer. In particular we will:
- Develop our provision and support for Post-16 students with experience of care, working in collaboration with other local universities.
- Complete a review of the Cambridge Bursary Scheme.
- Review the messaging and advice provided to Care Leavers at the University and to the Colleges which support them.
- Improve the signposting to Care Leavers of Careers Service events and guidance.
2. A Robust Employment Offer
We are beginning to explore what opportunities might exist for providing bespoke support to Care Leavers with colleagues in the University’s Human Resources Department and in the Colleges.
We are currently discussing with Departments across the University how the many community focused activities delivered by the University can be targeted at care leavers and supporters. Some current examples of this are:
- The University museums run a number of events each year for young people and the local community – www.museums.cam.ac.uk/learning/young-people. In addition they offer young people with care experience the opportunity to complete the Arts Award by attending a series of events throughout the year.
- Each year the Public Engagement Team run two large scale public events called the Festival of Ideas and the Science Festival. During a two week period there are a series of events and talks, some of which are aimed at adult audiences, whilst others are aimed at young people. Our Realise programme has facilitated visits for foster families to attend some of these events.
- The Realise Team work closely with the Participation Team at Cambridgeshire County Council, in addition to virtual schools such as
Hertfordshire and Hackney to promote Realise and other University events. In addition the Realise Coordinator has visited Foster Carer Groups across Cambridgeshire.