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New Support for Access to University in Scotland

BeckyAUK July 26, 2019 14:48

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/25/scotlands-universities-offer-guaranteed-places-students-in-care

Scottish universities have announced what effectively amounts to priority access to university places for care-experienced young people. This includes adopted and permanently-placed young people.

As long as the care-experienced young person meets the minimum grade requirements, they will be guaranteed a place at university. Fantastic news that recognises the enormous challenges that these young people will have overcome in terms of their education. Scotland is leading the way in recognising that extra support is needed for all care-experienced young people, not only those that fall into the narrow definition of 'care leaver'. Let's hope other UK governments will follow Scotland's lead on this.

Edited 17/02/21
Beebo July 26, 2019 16:42

What a fantastic initiative. I assume from the article that applicants have to be living in Scotland at the time of application...

Edited 17/02/21
Bop July 26, 2019 22:58

Hmmm - it reads well but sadly, like most Scottish policies its has little substance.

The education failures are far earlier in the system, so this is irrelevant to most. With no PPP (or ASF or equivalents) most care experienced young people leave school with no/few qualifications as schools have no resources to give them the support they need and the whole culture in schools means any SEN support is hard to obtain.

This is a cheap headline grabbing initiative that will benefit a few...what is needed is change throughout the High School system so care experienced young people have a chance of going to Uni...but the Scottish education system is falling apart. The culture in Scottish Government still says love is enough and once adopted no more support is needed.

Edited 17/02/21
shadow July 26, 2019 23:24

It is good news for my DD - who stopped leaving the house aged 13 so has had no education since - at age 22 she now has a place on adult return to learning in college - apparently is a great course so she could work towards highers - and maybe gain the minimum entry needed for uni - yes of course its awful so many of our kids are failed early on - but I see this as a start

Edited 17/02/21
Bop July 27, 2019 12:19

Undoubtedly Shadow its good for a small number, including your daughter and a step in the right direction - but if education fails them so much earlier, most will never benefit from this policy.

Further south schools get nearly £2000 per LAC/adopted child to spend on their needs - that would have been invaluable to my kids who found school a real struggle - like your DD, our youngest left school at 13, but she is a bright girl who with the right support could have done so well. She still has time, so maybe she will return to education in future years - at the moment our priority is her wellbeing after social work policies actually caused her more damage in her teens.

However time is limited - I'm not sure about the new admissions policy, but the care experienced bursary has an upper age limit of (I think) just 24 - which actually isn't much time for care experienced young people to get sorted.

Edited 17/02/21
BeckyAUK July 30, 2019 11:31

You are right, of course, Bop, in saying that help needs to begin much earlier. The PP+ in England (at £2300 per year) is a potential boost for adopted and previously looked-after children, although there are still many problems with its implementation that mean it is not yet supporting the eligible cohort as it should be. In Scotland, there is the Care Experienced Children and Young People's Fund, which is, unfortunately, spoken of very little and many parents and schools are not aware of its existence or the ways it can be used to support care experienced children in school, including adopted children.

I think what I am impressed about with Scotland's approach is the holistic inclusion of all care-experienced children. In England, initiatives to support young people into further and higher education are mainly focused on 'care leavers' which excludes a huge swathe of young people who need support, including adopted and previously looked-after children as well as those who may have spent a considerable proportion of their childhood in care, but weren't actually in care at the point of turning 16 or 18. In the Barometer survey, although things were far from perfect in Scotland, parents of adopted children aged 16+ were more positive about their prospects and the support they were receiving than elsewhere in the UK and I think that's a reflection of better (though not perfect) national policies for this age group in Scotland than exist elsewhere.

Having said all of that, I was very disappointed to see that The Times in Scotland ran this story with a headline about how straight A students will miss out on university places because of this new initiative. It is very sad to see young people pitted against each other in that way and clear that we still have a long, long way to go.

Edited 17/02/21
bluelizard July 30, 2019 12:07

I think it is a good initiative, but echoing others children who've experienced / are experiencing care need support throughout their childhood in the eduction system.

Shadow - wow - how great that Shadette has a place at college! I remember reading how much she struggled as a teenager, and it's a credit to you both how far she's come.

Edited 17/02/21
LucyC August 19, 2020 16:35

Does anyone know of any schools or local authorities in Scotland where there is particularly good practice with regards to adopted children? We are currently in the process of moving from England to Scotland (probably Borders) and finding it difficult to work out how much expertise is out there. Any recommendations?

Edited 17/02/21
DigitalAUK August 20, 2020 10:44

Hi LucyC,

Thanks for the post - I will ask our AUKScotland team to hop on and advise. You can also call our Scottish Helpline for advice too 0300 666 0006. https://www.adoptionuk.org/helpline

Best wishes,

Charlotte

Edited 17/02/21
Billy April 18, 2021 15:04

Hi All,

This headline is great Unfortunately it’s not what it professes to be Our adopted daughter dispite everything Has amazingly through hard work and determination got herself into a situation where she’s predicted A in Chemistry Biology Physics Since a young age she’s always wanted to be a vet Through hard work and sacrifice she got herself an interview at Edinburg Uni

She was rejected on the grounds there wasn’t enough

spaces on the course After reading this article I decided to contact the Scottish Gov to question if article was accurate Received reply stating that previously looked after children would be offered a place at the uni However it might not be on there chosen course They would be given an offer I explained our daughter wasn’t given any alternative and asked how many previously looked after kids had been accepted onto Edinburgh Uni courses Reply We don’t keep this information Can’t help Why no alternative was offered Pretty much washed there hands of my query Told me to ask Edinburgh Uni

In our experience Like most other policies for Previously looked after kids There just words

It’s no surprise only 6% of previously looked after kids attend uni

universities need to understand how rejection when you meet the educational standards affect adopted young adults and not make statements that aren’t true

Edited 18/04/21

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