During the first week of the Covid-19 lockdown over 23-27 March 2020, Become, Stand Alone, the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL), the Unite Foundation and Spectra carried out a UK-wide survey of higher education students who are either care-experienced or estranged. The survey aimed to understand the challenges which students without family support were facing at this time and the additional support they would like to ensure they could continue their courses or graduate this year. 251 students responded.
Following our previous survey and report, we carried out a second joint survey of students without family support to investigate the financial implications of COVID-19 on this group further. This closed on Monday 25 May 2020 and received over 450 responses.
Following our call for information on how our members are supporting their Care Experienced and Estranged students during this time we received a great number of responses which has outlined some of the amazing work already going on in the sector.
These responses fed directly into the Office for Students briefing note for students without family support and has prompted us to provide a place for this information to be shared and accessed.
Please be aware that this information is in response to Covid-19 only and may not reflect the general support on offer during normal times. Our members have a fantastic array of support for Care Experienced and Estranged students and you can find information about each’s general offer on Become/Propel website.
Thank you to everyone that provided us with information and please do keep us informed, the situation for these young people is changing at a rapid rate and we all want to ensure we are responding to their needs as and when they happen.
This evidence has been prepared on behalf of Become, NNECL (the National Network for the Education of Care-Leavers), Spectra, Stand Alone and the Unite Foundation.
At the outset of the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK, five UK organisations working with care-leavers and estranged students began investigating the impact of the crisis on this group.
From previous research and our own experience, we were already aware that in general terms, this group are around 40% more likely to drop out of university and an estimated three times more likely to experience mental ill-health. This group have limited financial resources available to them if things go wrong, and are vulnerable to homelessness (for example, 1 in 6 estranged students register as homeless or consider doing so during their studies). For these reasons we were concerned about the emotional and practical aspects of lockdown, particularly once universities moved to a distance-learning model of teaching. The instruction to “work from home” is only possible for those students who have a home to go to, and we were therefore concerned that the needs of those left behind on campus should not be overlooked.
 Stand Alone and Unite Foundation study “New Starts”