Edge Hill University are amongst a group of higher education institutions aiming to tackle the low rate of care leavers engaging in further study.

Earlier this year, The National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) and the UPP (University Partnerships Programme) Foundation announced a new partnership to improve the support provided for young care-experienced people.

Under the scheme, universities and colleges will take positive action to tackle the sector-wide issue by creating a framework ensuring young care-experienced people get the personal and financial support they need.

Running until early 2020, the pilot scheme will develop and test a new quality framework to improve access, retention and support for people who have been in care and who now study at colleges and universities.

Only 12% of care leavers under 23 choose to move into HE – while those that do are almost twice as likely to drop out than their peers.

Edge Hill’s package of support includes welcome events, where students can meet key staff and fellow undergraduates; a designated person they can contact during their studies, with any issues they may have; a potential room contract in halls of residence for 365 days a year for the duration of their degree; regular meet-ups and networking opportunities; employability skills events and confidence-building workshops; tailored careers events and opportunities; and support to access Student Opportunity Fund and other potential life enhancement chances.

Other educational institutions involved in the pilot include the University of Exeter, the University of Lincoln, the University of Nottingham and Oxford Brookes University. Dr John Cater, Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University, said:

“The pilot project is a major step towards a national accreditation scheme for institutions working with young people who have been in care. We are delighted to be part of the accreditation scheme will be rolled out across England following the completion of the pilot.”

Colette Fletcher, Chair of the Board of Trustees, NNECL and Assistant Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester, said:

“NNECL is proud to be launching the new quality mark for institutions working with young care experienced people and are delighted to be partnering with UPP Foundation and Edge Hill University to deliver this important project.”

Richard Brabner, Director of the UPP Foundation, added:

“As a Foundation we fund innovative projects that support underrepresented students go to and succeed at university. As the statistics show, care leavers are one of, if not the, most disadvantaged group in the system. This is a sector-wide initiative that we hope will make a tangible difference over the long-term to the outcomes of care leavers.”

Click here for more information about the support on offer for care leavers at Edge Hill University.