We, the University of Leicester, will demonstrate our commitment to the care leaver covenant through the following actions:
- Providing a range of inspiring outreach opportunities specifically for care experienced young people from Year 5 through to ager 25 to raise aspirations to Higher Education and broaden horizons, improve self-confidence and increase motivation in their current studies. We offer both group activities such as University Discovery Days and a University Experience Summer School and will also facilitate individual sessions for young people where appropriate, working closely with local Authority Virtual Schools, colleges and other organisations to target and select students effectively.
- Supporting care experienced young people to reach their full academic potential and receive high quality, relevant pre-entry information, advice and guidance. Through inclusion in the University’s two year compact schemes, including Realising Opportunities, LEAP Leicester Enhanced Access programme, MedLEAP and Pathways to Law, students will receive support in areas including independent learning, team working, academic research and writing, university admissions processes and careers planning as well as further developing key personal skills, self-confidence and a positive mental attitude. Care Leavers are also a key priority group for recruitment to our Medicine Foundation year course.
- Providing a named contact in the Student Welfare Service, who can offer Care Leavers and their supporters pre and post entry advice and guidance including finance, accommodation and transitional support, plus signposting to other internal and external support services and on-course support. The Widening Participation team is also responsible for development of outreach provision, development of institutional provision and supporting implementation processes, network development, pre-entry information and student engagement and success. Information and designated Contacts will be visible on the relevant section of the University website and included in national directories such as propel.org.uk
- Providing enhanced financial support for Care Leavers, including a specific University of Leicester bursary for which Care Leavers are a priority recipient group for each year of undergraduate study (currently £2000 per year). Undergraduate Care Leavers are also a priority group within the University’s Hardship Fund and Vacation award fund and are pro-actively contacted about these and other avenues of additional financial support by the Student Welfare Service.
- Offering Care Leavers access to 365 day university accommodation and offering discreet reassurance and pastoral support from a student Residential Advisor in their accommodation site on request.
- Supporting transitions into university and encouraging a sense of belonging by providing new Care Leaver students with the opportunity to request a peer support mentor for the duration of their first year. We will also develop improved guidance on supporting Care Leaver students for Personal Tutors, departmental support staff and central services teams and raise awareness of more specific issues Care Leaver students may face during their university journey.
- Enabling Care Leaver students to actively participate in their career development journey and personal and professional development. Care Leaver students are pro-actively targeted for the University’s OnTrack scheme which provides them with an enhanced programme of skills and personal development sessions, careers and employability advice and access to additional financial support i.e. interview travel costs and work experience opportunities. Care Leavers are also encouraged apply to become a Leicester Ambassador, a role which further enriches their university experience and sense of belonging.
- Empowering individuals and organisations working with young people in care to support them in their educational development and success. We will continue to work with a range of key stakeholders and organisations, including Local Authorities, schools, colleges and the voluntary sector to develop opportunities to engage effectively with care experienced young people and their supporters and provide Higher Education training and awareness raising events for professionals, foster carers and volunteers.