Oxford Brookes increases support for students leaving care

Friday, 30 October 2020

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This National Care Leavers Week (26 Oct - 1 Nov), Oxford Brookes University has launched a new strategy to increase its support for students leaving care.

Working with the Oxfordshire Virtual School, the University will deliver a three-year outreach programme for children in care from Year 9-11. The programme will provide personal and financial support needed by young care experienced students in order to access higher education.

Oxfordshire Virtual School is a partner organisation to all schools which ensures that schools, social workers, carers and other professionals understand their statutory responsibilities and best practice when providing for looked after children and care leavers.

All students who take part in the project will then be guaranteed a place on Brookes Engage; an 18-month long widening access programme which supports Year 12-13 students successfully transition to university, wherever they choose to study, and the world of work.

Oxford Brookes is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to higher education regardless of their background and I am delighted to announce the further support we are able to offer to care experienced students.

Helen Hall, UK Recruitment and Partnerships Director, Oxford Brookes University

Helen Hall, UK Recruitment and Partnerships Director at Oxford Brookes University said: “Oxford Brookes is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to higher education regardless of their background and I am delighted to announce the further support we are able to offer to care experienced students.

“We recognise the significant barriers that students who are leaving the care system can face in transitioning to University, through to graduation and beyond. I hope that, by committing to support these students throughout their whole student journey, we can help them to overcome these barriers and to succeed as part of the Oxford Brookes community.”

Care experienced students who then go on to receive an offer to study at Oxford Brookes will be provided with ongoing, bespoke support throughout their student journey, through to graduation.

The University will continue to financially support care leavers through the Transition from Care Bursary as well as provide additional support to cover costs associated with university accommodation and graduation.

Research published by the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) shows that just 12% of care leavers had entered higher education by the age of 23 and in 2017, 40% of 19-21 year old care leavers were not in education, training or employment, compared to 13% of all 19 to 21 year olds.

In Oxfordshire, there are around 430 looked-after children from Year 9-Year13 under the care of Oxfordshire County Council. On average, only 3% of care leavers progress onto HE immediately after completing A-levels in the county.

Full details of the support available can be found via the support for care leavers webpages.