Information for:

Care leavers/looked after children

How can I include looked after children/care leavers in my access agreement?

People who have spent time in local authority care are severely under-represented in higher education. They face cumulative and significant barriers to entering higher education including lower attainment, lack of positive role models, low expectations from carers and advisers, low aspirations and a lack of confidence in the affordability of higher education. Only about seven in 100 of young people who are in care aged 16 actually continue into higher education by the age of 19.

Research has shown that some of the difficulties faced by care leavers with regard to applying for and being at university include:

We encourage you to highlight any access and retention activity for care leavers throughout your access agreement and in your targets and milestones. We are particularly keen to hear about support for care leavers in the following areas:

You can include the costs of these activities in your access agreement. We encourage you to develop your provision based on the principles of the Buttle UK Quality Mark framework or a similar standard. We are happy to discuss any proposed measures in advance of you submitting your agreement if you would find this helpful (contact your institution’s key policy adviser).


These resources may be helpful when designing your care leaver activity:

What state support is available for care leavers?

The Government acknowledges the problems that looked after children face in accessing higher education. Under the Children and Young Persons Act 2008, care leavers starting a recognised higher education course are entitled to a minimum one-off bursary of £2,000 from their local authority. This is in addition to anything else care leavers receive under the state support system of grants and loans.

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