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.
Please use this section to detail the full life-cycle support you offer to care leavers / experienced students. The following subheadings might help you to structure your thoughts:
The University of Warwick offers a wide range of pastoral, academic and financial support for students from a care background who come to study here, offering individualised support throughout the student lifecycle.
Definitions of care status:
Care experienced young people are those who have spent three months or more in local authority care. This definition has been approved in recent changes to the University’s contextual admissions eligibility criteria. It is furthermore used on the UCAS form, and is a broad definition which encompasses all those who have spent time in care during childhood.
Care leavers are defined as young people aged 16-25 years old who have been ‘looked after’ for at least 13 weeks by a Local Authority at some point since they were 14 years old, and were in care on or after their sixteenth birthday. This care may have been provided in many different settings, including living with foster carers; living in a residential children’s home; being looked after at home under a supervision order; living with relatives under a guardianship agreement; kinship care.
Young people in care are prioritised for places on all outreach activity. Close partnerships with charities, local authorities and schools ensure that young people and their supporters are aware of the provision available to them at Warwick. In collaboration with Virtual Schools, the University runs two programmes that are specifically to support local looked after children: Uni Explorers programme for primary school children University Explorers (warwick.ac.uk), and UniversityGo! focused on key stage 3 UniversityGo! – ThinkHigher Coventry and Warwickshire (in collaboration with Coventry University and ThinkHigher). Furthermore tailored information Is provided at all events – Open Days, Recruitment Fairs, school visits.
Financial support is available to care leavers for travel to the University to Open Days/Offer Holders’ Open Days. The University offers enhanced recognition for care experienced applicants in the admissions process via contextual offers and has a designated named contact for care leavers from application to graduation; this provides consistency, individualised support and liaison/advocacy with professional services and academics.
The University offers a Care Leavers’ Bursary of £1,000 pa, with advance payment of funds to support transition costs, and guaranteed on-campus 52 week accommodation for the duration of studies.
New students are invited to a Welcome meeting with the named contact. Care leavers are also likely to be eligible for the Warwick Bursary.
The named contact is available to provide on-going, Individualised support and advocacy throughout the students’ studies. Senior tutor training is offered to enable strong personal tutors to be allocated to care leavers. Demystification and clarity around university processes such as applying for mitigating circumstances, and a strong link to the University’s Inclusive Education Model, provides additional support. Care leavers are furthermore eligible for our Warwick Scholars Programme, membership of which includes a bursary, the development of skills and a community of peer support. Warwick Scholars undergraduate programme. Care leavers are also priority for career enhancement activity through the Careers Service. Selected contacts for care leavers in Professional Services – Wellbeing, Careers, Student Funding – offer consistency and direct liaison with the named care leaver contact.
An uplift of the final payment of the care leaver bursary is available in term 3 of the final year to support the transition out of university into employment. Post-graduation options are promoted, with care leavers given priority for the Warwick Taught Masters Scholarship Scheme Warwick Taught Masters Scholarship Scheme to support progression to postgraduate study.
Awareness-raising and Training
University support for care leavers is promoted via the university website, social media and information to external stakeholders. A suite of training will be developed for all staff on supporting care experienced students to increase institutional awareness of the specific challenges faced by these students; targeted training sessions will be delivered to Admissions, Recruitment, Careers, Academics and Personal Tutors. Internal communication will be circulated to Faculties, and in collaboration with the Students’ Union and the Widening Participation Student Advisory Group.
Ongoing monitoring of processes will ensure the continued fit of measures; feedback from the students themselves, and regular meetings with the named contacts across the University to discuss any issues. Systems will be developed to monitor student success outcomes and on-going research and evaluation will be undertaken to gauge impact in the short, medium and longer term.
The University engages with the established West Midlands Care Leavers Network, comprising of higher education institutions and local authorities across the region. This provides a forum for sharing best practice, developing collaborative work and feeding in to NNECL.
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 is working in partnership with the EY Foundation on the Beyond Your Limits programme to support care experienced young people aged 16-19 with their employability skills and career development.
The University of Warwick is also keen to explore how, within our organisation, we could respond to this aspect of the Covenant. We plan to set up a working group which will include 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?
Please use this section to detail how your institution interfaces with the local care leaving community and what development opportunities there might be.
We have strong working relationships with the local Virtual Schools/ leaving care teams.