Last night Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities and Industrial Strategy (pictured), spoke at the launch of a new project to improve support for young people going into HE at the House of Lords.
The project was created by a new partnership between the UPP Foundation and the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL).
Currently only 12% of care leavers under the age of 23 go into Higher Education (HE) and those that do being almost twice as likely to drop out than their peers.
Under the pilot scheme, funded by the UPP Foundation, universities and colleges will take positive action to tackle the sector-wide care leavers crisis 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 the support for people who have been in care and now study at colleges and universities.
The educational institutions involved in the pilot include the University of Bradford; Edge Hill University; the University of Exeter; Halesowen College; Kingston University; the University of Lincoln; the University of Nottingham and Oxford Brookes University.
Richard Brabner, Director of the UPP Foundation, said: “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.”
Colette Fletcher, Chair of the Board of Trustees, NNECL and Assistant Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester, said: “NNECL is extremely 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 to deliver this important project.”
The pilot project is a major step towards a national accreditation scheme for institutions working with young people who have been in care. The accreditation scheme will be rolled out across England following completion of the pilot.