The University is committed to helping looked-after children and care leavers access higher education, and as part of this commitment we offer the Aspire2Uni programme, which is a progressive programme launched in year seven that continues through to year 13.
Over the course of the programme, the University organises a series of ongoing outreach days and enrichment opportunities designed to raise aspirations, break down barriers, and inform progression to higher education.
Group, on-line and 1-1 (if appropriate) is also provided for young people and Virtual Schools, working in partnership with the University, provide any academic support required to aid progression.
In addition to the programme and open to all, the University organises a series of dedicated higher education awareness days for pre- and post-16 looked-after children, and for the influencers of looked-after children, such as carers, designated teachers and other professionals.
We can also offer Care Leavers one-to-one application support and advice, or arrange any bespoke provision required.
We provide Care Leavers with pre-entry advice, personalised signposting to student support, a mentoring scheme, access to online mentoring support and financial support (in the form of an Access Bursary (paid through the Student Loans Company) and an annual bursary from the Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund (to include an additional payment towards graduation costs in the final year).
All students have a single point of contact throughout their student journey. This is currently Kirsty Dorward, Head of Student Experience Projects.
Communicating with students
All new students who identify as a Care Leaver are contacted to introduce them to the support that is available to them throughout their studies.
Students are asked to complete an online Consent Form to identify who the named contact can share information about them (when required) with in order to provide the best support (eg Accommodation, Leaving Care Team, Personal Tutor).
The named contact encourages students to keep in touch as much, or as little, as suits them. Regular meetings are held with those students who request it.
The named contact will attend “PEP” meetings with the student and the Leaving Care Teams as requested to discuss progress, concerns and ambitions that the student has.
The University is committed to reviewing and improving our provision to Care Leavers every year, or as new advice is published – whichever comes first.
2. A Robust Employment Offer
The Careers Team at the University of Wolverhampton are committed to supporting all students and graduates. Care leavers are given priority when selecting for many of the opportunities we provide and are guaranteed an interview for any student jobs offered through The Workplace, including our Student Ambassador roles.
Discussions are ongoing between key staff to explore how Care Leavers can self-identify and be guaranteed an interview, where they meet the essential criteria, for any job advertised within the University.=
The University contact sits on the Wolverhampton Corporate Parenting Board where discussions take place about the employment opportunities within the local area.
The University contact sits as a member of the Wolverhampton Corporate Parenting Board, and works closely with the Council to provide opportunities for Care Leavers within the community.
In 2018, the University worked with the council to offer its first Christmas dinner, hosted at the University to post 16 children in care and University Care Leavers and estranged students. This first year was led by the Indi group from The Way and two members helped plan and organise the event.
The University offers free law clinics within the town centre and Care Leavers would be a priority recipient of this service.
Discussions have taken place for University staff to be offered the Council’s e-learning training.
Care experienced young people from Wolverhampton provide Total Respect training to certain professional courses at the University (eg Social Work). Early discussions have taken place about extending this provision to University staff.
The University is a founder member of NNECL (National Network of Education for Care Leavers) and will seek to gain their new quality mark once launched. The University was also awarded the Buttle Trust Quality Mark before its discontinuation.
The University is a member of the West Midlands Care Leavers Network.
The University has an up-to-date presence on the Propel website.