“Educating children in care about the prospects of going to university is a great thing, we are as capable as any other child and I think that message needs to be promoted more”.

This consultation reviewed the pre-entry support and aspirations interventions care experienced students receive to determine what work still needs to be done to improve their progression experiences. The key outcomes from the report were sourced from surveying 20 care leaver students studying at various universities in Greater Manchester. The findings prompted some key recommendations, including the main points for practitioners working with this group to consider. There are several recommendations made in the report, the key ones include:

1. Provide a more sustained project for Year 12 learners specifically focused on providing information about higher education, giving them exposure to care leaver ambassadors and understanding their entitlements for support, both financially, pastorally and academically.

2. Provide more engaging activities and events such as competitions and quizzes, and more subject specific sessions to help care experienced learners develop a passion for a subject.

3. Provide more training for foster carers, PA’s and designated teachers on the benefits of higher education, and encouraging learners to fulfil their potential, to tackle any negative perspectives of University that are passed on.

4. Train practitioners to support learners to build their confidence and provide authentic praise, introduce reward and recognition to activities.

5. Create a more comprehensive resource of regional care leaver support in HE that explicitly covers the offer in detail to send to relevant contacts and used in activity.

6. Provide a more consistent approach to supporting learners at pre-16, post-16, pre-entry and post-entry, provide exposure to both outreach staff and support staff in order to give a sense of stability for regional progression. The recommendations from this report should be considered when developing the approach to support care experienced young people, to ensure interventions are reflective of the student care leaver voice.

The full report and recommendations can be accessed HERE

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