Higher Education (HE) providers across West Yorkshire have developed a collaborative response to support care-experienced students.
Organisations including the University of Leeds have committed to encouraging prospective students to tick the UCAS care experienced box, where appropriate, in their applications.
This collaborative approach has led to sharing the broader definition of care-experienced, which is more inclusive of the range of care settings students may have experienced.
These include where students will have spent time living with foster carers under local authority care, in residential care, looking after at home under a supervision order, or in kinship care with relatives or friends, either officially or informally without local authority support at any stage of their life.
This will be incredibly helpful for care-experienced students navigating what can be a complex system and ensure that those in need of support are better able to get access to it.”
The initiative is led by Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY), a partnership of 13 providers – hosted by the University of Leeds – working together to reduce long-standing inequalities in access to, success in and progression from HE.
GHWY supports its member-funded institutions with their Access and Participation Plan activity, covering collaborative activity to reduce inequalities in HE.
Professor Jane Owen-Lynch, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) at the University of Huddersfield and Chair of GHWY, said: “We are delighted that all of Go Higher West Yorkshire’s member institutions are working together to use this common definition of ‘care experienced’. This will be incredibly helpful for care-experienced students navigating what can be a complex system and ensure that those in need of support are better able to get access to it.”
By adopting this wider definition of care experienced, students will be able to receive support from the institution to which they have applied.
One such support scheme is the University of Leeds Plus Programme, a support network for students from backgrounds that are under-represented at University that helps students prepare for and settle into University life and offers additional support for their studies, future career and funding.
Aliyah Rose, a graduate from the University of Leeds who ticked the care experienced box when applying to University, said: “I’ve engaged with lots of the Plus Programme’s offering, like the Peer Support Sleep Reading Group where I was able to be in a space with other students with similar problems to me.”
“As a care leaver I’ve had access to more specialised things as well, like social events where it’s really nice knowing that this is a dedicated space for myself. It’s also nice to know that there’s something at the University just for me, that isn’t as saturated as other services, and it’s helped have a great year this year and feel like I belong.”
This month the campaign to tick the care experienced box when applying for HE is taking place across the 13 institutions and is endorsed by students who have been through the process.
Aimee, a student in BA (Hons) Criminology and Criminal Behaviour at the University of Bradford, said: "Bradford champions care leavers. If you are a care leaver like me, make sure you read the University website to see what they do specifically to support care leavers, and ask when you visit.
“On my application there was a box to tick, and it explained clearly who and what a care leaver is.
“The care leavers team at Bradford have helped me so much, even with things like learning how to budget my money, and about mortgages and tax.”
For more information, please contact Rebecca Hurrey in the University of Leeds Press Office.
Picture credit: University of Leeds.
Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) is an organisation hosted by the University of Leeds and is a core part of educational engagement.
GHWY represents a collaboration of 13 institutions including:
- Bradford College
- The University of Bradford
- University Centre Calderdale
- The University of Huddersfield
- Kirklees College
- Leeds Conservatoire
- The University of Leeds
- Leeds Arts University
- Leeds Beckett University
- Leeds College of Building
- University Centre Leeds
- Leeds Trinity University
- University Centre Wakefield at Heart of Yorkshire Education Group