The report explored the educational pathways of all young people in England who were 16 in 2008, tracking whether or not they entered higher education by 2015. This was supplemented by survey responses from 212 care-experienced students currently in higher education.
The study found that 12 percent of care leavers had entered higher education by the age of 23 – higher than previous estimates of 6 percent. While this is positive news, the participation rate for care leavers was substantially lower than for other young people at 42 percent. This is due, in large part, to the lower qualifications that care leavers are able to achieve in school in the context of the disruption in their lives.
Worryingly, care leavers in higher education were over a third more likely to withdraw than otherwise-similar students, as well as being more likely to have delays and restarts within their studies. However, those that did complete their degrees were as likely to achieve a first or upper second class degree as their peers.