The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has today published the outcomes of its recent consultation on standardising and harmonising personal characteristics and equality data. This includes changes to the current fields relating to students with care experience. From 2022/23, students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland may be categorised as either: care leavers (under the statutory definition); care experienced (capturing those with confirmed care experience who do not fit the statutory definition); self-declaring as care experienced but not yet confirmed; and those not confirmed as care experienced. It is hoped that these changes will improve both the consistency and volume of data collected about care leavers and care experienced students.
HESA’s summary of the consultation responses highlighted that many respondents were generally supportive of these changes. They welcomed the move towards greater consistency and felt that the new definitions were mostly an improvement. Some respondents asked for more expansive definitions and guidance to be given, particularly around the differences between the terms care leaver and care experienced, and for guidance on what it would mean to verify that a student has been in care. Some also expressed their preference for using the overarching term care experienced, rather than splitting students into different categories.
You can find further details on the consultation outcomes on the HESA website HERE