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University’s support for care leavers is exemplary

25 Mar 2013

Buttle UK, a charity which helps children and young people in need to shape their own futures, has announced that it has recognised the University’s support for care leavers at the 'exemplary' level.

Buttle UK Quality Mark

In addition to providing practical solutions and direct support based on individual need, Buttle UK looks at more strategic ways to improve the life chances of those they help: their Quality Mark for Care Leavers in Further and Higher Education is one such initiative.

Emma Lewis, from the Undergraduate Recruitment & Widening Participation team in the Directorate for the Student Experience, explained: “The Quality Mark is basically a kite mark, which recognises our excellence in recruiting and supporting one of society's most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in terms of the programmes and policies we offer.”

The Quality Mark was renewed at an exemplary level following submission of the University’s Monitoring and Evaluation report. Buttle UK’s Assessment Panel commented that the University’s work was extensive, covering both pre-entry and post-entry support. They also felt the University had an excellent grasp of the barriers faced by looked-after children and care leavers.

In particular, the following strands of the University’s support were deemed as exemplary by Buttle UK:

  • The discretionary tuition fee concessions the University chooses to apply to unaccompanied asylum seekers, who form a growing proportion of looked after children;
  • The Achievement Awards which the University hosts each year for local children from care-experienced backgrounds to celebrate their educational successes;
  • The Success4Life project, which is a long-term, targeted intervention where groups of young looked after children visit the campus continuously over a 10 week period and receive skills and confidence building activities led by current undergraduate and postgraduate ambassadors;
  • Access to 52-week accommodation and ‘flagging up’ of student in the admissions process.

Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility, worked to introduce the kitemark to the University. He said: “It’s an old and important adage that you can judge an organisation by the way it treats its most vulnerable people. Emma and her colleagues in the Directorate for the Student Experience have gone to considerable efforts to ensure we are reaching out to support the educational success of looked-after children and I am delighted we have been independently commended for this important work.”

Further information