The National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL)[i] is delighted to launch[ii] its new Quality Mark for the inclusion and success of care experienced students. Since late 2019, work has been underway to develop this new award, with funding from the UPP Foundation for the initial developmental pilot, and additional support from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority for a collaborative project in 2021. The online launch event will award the Quality Mark to 17 universities and colleges who successfully completed the process during the pilot and trial phases:
Bolton College; Edge Hill University; Halesowen College; Kingston University; Manchester Metropolitan University; Oldham College; Oxford Brookes University; Sunderland College; The Manchester College; Trafford College Group; University of Bolton; University of Bradford; University of Exeter; University of Lincoln, University of Manchester, University of Nottingham & University of Salford.
Patricia Ambrose, NNECL Director, commented:
“Our new Quality Mark enables universities and colleges to demonstrate the effectiveness of their support for care experienced students from pre-application through to graduation and beyond. Building on the excellent legacy of previous work by Buttle UK, the NNECL Quality Mark covers all aspects of the student lifecycle and has been informed by recent research findings and feedback from care experienced students on the types of support they value.”
Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, has shown her support for the initiative, by issuing the following statement:
"Improving the opportunities available to care leavers as they gain independence and enter adulthood, is a top priority of this government.
"This new Quality Mark will help ensure students with experience of being in care have the support they deserve, and the information they need to choose the universities or colleges that work best for them.
“I warmly welcome this evidence-based approach, and encourage all institutions to join this sector-wide effort to provide targeted support for these students, at every stage of their education.”
Richard Brabner, Director of the UPP Foundation, said:
“We are delighted to see the NNECL Quality Mark being launched nationally today. As a Foundation, we focus our funding on innovative projects which seek to improve practice across the sector. The Quality Mark is a great example of this – an initiative that will ultimately transform the lives of some of higher education’s most underrepresented students. We encourage all UK universities to work with the excellent team at NNECL to improve the opportunities and outcomes of care-experienced students, and, in time, to apply for Quality Mark status.”
i) The National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) was established in June 2013 by higher education institutions and national organisations committed to the progression and support of care experienced students in further and higher education. Working together we aim to transform the opportunities available by championing the continuous improvement of local practice, multi-agency partnerships and national collaboration. NNECL became a registered charity (Registered Charity Number 1180793) in 2018.
ii) The launch of the NNECL Quality Mark takes place online on Thursday 24 June 2021 at 4pm. Further details are available here.